Life | Mental Health & Music

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When I wrote yesterday's entry I wasn't aware that it was Mental Health Awareness Week. I feel like MHAW/MHAM come and go so often that it's hard to keep track of these things. Not to mention in my world, Mental Health Awareness is pretty much an every day thing.

I feel like my life has all kinds of divides and chapters when I look back on it; from the time I was 13 until my anxiety full force kicked in at 20 I struggled HEAVILY with depression and suicide. I was constantly listening to music. CONSTANTLY. There was rarely ever a time I wasn't playing music. Everything from DDR songs to 80's Light Rock to Hip Hop to R&B to Slow Jams to Techno to Alternative. 

Music helped me to make sense to my life and my feelings. It also inspired me to write almost all of my old blog entries (I wish all my Xanga's and Open Diary blogs were still around so I could link those blog entries... kinda sad to think all my writing is just poof, gone!), it helped me to calm down. It helped me feel like I wasn't alone. That somewhere out there someone understood what I was feeling.

It's easy to feel alone when you're emotional. 

It's easy to feel like no one understands you or that you're bugging your friends when you throw out sob stories or when you vent. Growing up and figuring out feelings and people and relationships is hard enough as it is and everyone is enduring their own struggles and their own problems; music always made me feel the comfort of talking/venting to someone without feeling like I was bothering anyone. Or feeling the things I just didn't want to talk about. 

For awhile Almost by Tamia was on a heavy 2 week repeat in high school but I barely ever really talked to anyone about what happened or what was wrong because really what advice could anyone give?

[ In the end the guy who was at the time my best friend and my recent ex talked it out --- he was the first who wanted to know how he could help, even if it was him who hurt or upset me --- and if anything at least I was given closure though it would still take years for me to really let that part of my life go but he was an amazing best friend and exactly who I needed growing up. I'm happy to be able to call him my once best friend but my always friend and despite our few years of fall out he was there during my divorce being the same ol him and it helped me find myself again. ]

[ I hate that I lost this iPod, I have zero idea where it is. If I brought it with me during my move (THOUGH I SWEAR I DID) or if I left it back home in CA but my mom says she can't find it. Sigh. I'm SURE it's around here somewhere... hiding. I don't really remember what was on it --- it was around the time when you'd forreal have to buy songs from iTunes and I can't even remember my log in to that old iTunes account where I spent hundreds of dollars on music. SIGH. ]

Certain songs, certain albums, when I hear them instantly transport me to a different time in my life. To a different place. To a different version of me. And I always think it's so interesting and so crazy how something like that is possible. It's like the air around me changes, it's almost as if it brings up a very specific memory or place, and I can smell it. I can taste it. Like the memory is so vivid and clear. 

For example, right now Half Crazy by Musiq is playing and I can feel my childhood best friend's house. I can see her living room where we'd be on her computer with her side door leading to her backyard open, the sun shining in and I can smell her pool mixed in with her signature perfume. This particular memory was during a time Sophomore year when I'd cut class to her house.

Weak by SWV reminds me of the nights I'd lay in my childhood bedroom with the lights on. The radio on. I can remember what my room smelled like before it started smelling like makeup and candles. I remember that comforting feeling I had being in my room. Just blasting music at night. Like it felt like a big imaginary hug. God when did this song even release? I know this memory was from somewhere in the early 90's. I just looked it up --- 1992. Which means I must had been 7 since that's the year Bubba was born.

After my first break up (the same one that got me playing DDR) my brother got tired of hearing me play Doing Just Fine by Boyz II Men along with other depressing Slow Jams and downloaded half of the Linkin Park Hybrid Theory album on my Napster? Kazaa? What was even out back then?! And that led me to listening to Nickleback, Lifehouse, Korn, SUGARCULT, Puddle of Mudd, 3 Doors Down, Nine Days, Daughtry... it made me fall in love with a whole new genre of music. All of which I still listen to today. Linkin Park became MY LIFE for awhile. It was my saving grace.

I've always struggled with the fear of being home alone. And especially at night. Being home alone at night would spike my anxiety and my paranoia like no other. I absolutely HATED it. In 2014 when my ex husband stopped coming home I didn't know how to cope with the fear paired with my anxiety. For that span of a year my anxiety was literally painful. A painful throbbing ache in the middle of my chest that made it hard to breathe and hard to think.

Figuring out he wasn't coming home, that other chicks were more important than me and what I was struggling with, I had to find a way to easy my anxiety before I ended up overdosing just to make the anxiety stop. So I played music. Really loud and I sang along until I started to feel better. I would keep singing until my anxiety would calm down or until I finally just fell asleep. After a year of this, I grew less and less afraid of being alone and less and less afraid of being home alone at night. To the point where I now live alone just fine. Some nights I get a bit a paranoia but it's really not even a fraction of what i was 4 or 5 years ago. I almost can't even remember what being so paranoid I was home alone at night I would refuse to move. Refuse to breathe. Was even like.

Growing up I had such a huge passion for music that my dream was to work in the music industry. I joined Street Teams, I went to events, I basically took any freelance promoter job and I had so much fun doing it!

I use to sing my little hopeless heart out almost every chance I got. Especially in the car (Total Eclipse of The Heart --- the Glee version --- was my go to jam for this then the entire Wicked soundtrack). I use to be one of those Asians who sang on their voicemail intros. I was never GOOD at singing but it was some way to just scream my emotions without actually screaming. 

If I'm in a shit mood, I put on music to cheer me up because to be honest there's very few things music or a good book or ice cream and your favorite movie can heal. Can ease. When I feel worthless, I put on music. I love finding music that empowers me. Right now my jam is This Is Me from The Greatest Showman soundrack. When I'm homesick of 2002 summers in The Bay are I play music I was would play out in the afternoons I spent blogging my feelings, my day and my thoughts like Foolish by Ashanti or Down Ass Chick by Ja Rule or Someone To Love You by Ruff Endz.

Music has helped me so much emotionally through my depression and my anxiety. It's helped me feel less alone. Eased feelings of anger, loneliness and worthlessness. And certain songs I've been listening to years have provided endless amounts of comfort. 
Are there any songs that have helped you find comfort? Share them in the comments below!

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