Sad songs

This has been a pet project of mine for ages, in my head and on my Shazam app at least. Finally I’m getting around to sharing it with you. This isn’t going to be an in depth discussion of songs, so much could be said, but this is just my list of songs that help me.

Music-is-my-escape-saying-quotes

Since I got sick I’ve wanted to put together a collection of songs that have spoken to me about being ill. Songs that have resonated with me about being depressed, being manic, being anxious, being unwell, being out of touch with the rest of my friends and peers, about not being very much at all!

singing to the radio

By calling this sad songs, I’m not suggesting that this is a bunch of depressing songs to get you down and make you more miserable than you are at the moment. I’m planning this to be quite the opposite; a reel of songs that you can turn to when things are a bit bleak. For me these are songs that get me singing and bopping and nodding in agreement. These songs make me feel that I’m not the only one out there feeling off and poorly and badly used. They make me feel part of something, and they make me dig out my would-be-karaoke-star voice, my rapper’s beat and my drummer’s tapping of my feet, or of my hands while I’m driving in the car. They breathe something into me that changes me from how I am in that moment to something better, happier, more alive, more active, more confident and braver to face the world, and every one of those things is a miracle in itself!

Avoiding silence

Every time I go out in the car I turn the radio on. Many people advocate silence and mindfulness and I get that, I do. But a lot of times I just wanna blow my thoughts right out of my brain and listening, singing along and pretending I’m killing it at karaoke (which I’ve never done) and “talking” with someone who gets me, is important to me. Sometimes it’s the only way to express awful thoughts and it can be like a cry for help when you don’t know how else to find the words. Sometimes, it’s just music.

thunder inside

I believe that music can be and is very powerful at reaching into people and making something happen in them. If you feel that way too, then check out these songs and I hope that they inspire you like they inspire me 🙂

My playlist:

  1. Bom Bom by Sam and The Womp, if nothing else in the world can make you dance, this will! “As I go bom, bom, bommm!”
  2. Forget You by CeeLo Green, a great beat and another one to get you dancing
  3. The Middle by Jimmy Eat World, “it just takes some time”
  4. Firework by Katy Perry, “do you ever feel you’re paper thin”, “scream but no one hears a thing”, empowerment plus
  5. Wake Me Up by Avicii, “wake me up when its all over when I’m wiser and I’m older” – this talks to me of suicide and why people do it, to go to sleep for a while
  6. Sea of Air by Portugal. The Man, “when the time comes around, I’ll be brave”
  7. Cheap Thrills by Sia, “I don’t need no money as long as I can feel the beat”
  8. Comfort You by Eskimo Joe, just lie back, close your eyes, this is all you need right now in this moment…
  9. All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor, the right amount of girly sass to shout aloud
  10. Hands Open by Snow Patrol, bop, nod, tap along like a sick percussionist 😉
  11. Something In The Way You Move by Ellie Goulding, bop bop bop away
  12. Are You With Me by Lost Frequencies, lie back close your eyes you’re on holiday
  13. One Call Away by Charlie Puth, “Superman got nothin’ on me I’m only one call away”
  14. Apologise by Timbaland ft. One Republic, great singalong song
  15. Never Be Like You by Flume ft. Kai, “I’m only human can’t you see I made a mistake, please just look me in my face tell me everything’s okay, I’ll never be like you”…apologising for the insufficiencies that mental illness brings about and asking others to tolerate us, and acknowledging that we’ll never be as good as them
  16. Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake, an oldy but a goody for a personally rainy day
  17. Lush Life by Zara Larsson, clap clap your hands! “Gotta get back in the groove!”
  18. It’s My Life by No Doubt, “it’s my life don’t you forget”
  19. Brokenhearted by Karmin, just a fun tune and love the rapping, “Cheerio!”
  20. Domino by Jessie J, just a good beat
  21. Livin’ It Up by Ja Rule, I’m a sucker for a good rap/R&B
  22. Valerie by Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse, love love Amy Winehouse’s voice
  23. Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots, reminiscing about easier earlier days
  24. I Love It by Hilltop Hoods ft. Sia, I love rap, I love Sia, and it’s all Aussie 🙂
  25. Brave by Sara Bareilles, “I wanna see you be brave”
  26. Reality by Lost Frequencies ft. Janieck Davy, a good chill out tune
  27. Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton, a nice beat and a great rap, way faster than I can actually understand! Just sit back
  28. My Sunshine by Mashd N Kutcher, a remix, “Don’t steal my sunshine”
  29. Here by Alessia Cara, sums up my avoidance of socialising since I’ve been sick
  30. My House by Flo Rida, I don’t know why but I just love bopping along to this
  31. All My Friends By Snakehips ft. Tinashe and Chance the Rapper, another song about why I don’t want to go out
  32. Hotline Bling by Drake, great beat, fun rap, just an entertaining song
  33. Stay by Kygo ft. Maty Noyes, don’t like the lyrics but the beat is nice
  34. Higher by Hilltop Hoods ft. James Chatburn, rap plus that voice! “HIgher”
  35. In The Night by The Weeknd, “dancing to relieve the pain”
  36. Summer 2015 by L.E.J, 3 talented girls and an a capella summer mix tape
  37. You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates, bop bop bop along to the beat!
  38. The Hills by the The Weeknd, “when I’m f*&*^% up that’s the real me”
  39. Habits (Stay High – Hippies Sabotage Remix) by Tove Lo, “can’t go home alone again need someone to numb the pain”, “I gotta stay high all the time”
  40. Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys, “this girl is on fire”
  41. Good Girl by Carrie Underwood, turn it up and sing along with Carrie!
  42. Downtown by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, hilarious!!
  43. For The First Time by The Script, just easy listening
  44. Demons by Imagine Dragons, a good sad day wallowing type of song, “don’t get too close it’s dark inside its where my demons hide”
  45. May It Be by Enya, turn it up and let it wash out your mind and bring peace
  46. Sax by Fleur East, sassy singing and a great beat for your steering wheel tapping
  47. Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King, blast it through the speakers and sing your loudest!!
  48. Hall of Fame by The Script, always convinces me I can do whatever I want!
  49. Her Diamonds by Rob Thomas, “her tears like diamonds on the floor”
  50. Shake It by Taylor Swift, the ultimate I don’t care what you think song
  51. What Do You Mean by Justin Beiber, sometimes I just can’t express what I want
  52. Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera, “mooooooves like Jagger”
  53. Lips Are Moving by Meghan Trainor, “lips are moving, hey, your lips are moving”
  54. Hello by Adele, that strong powerful voice and my amazing singalong prowess!!
  55. This Ain’t Love by Jessica Mauboy, “cos I made it through the night!”
  56. Wild Ones by Flo Rida ft. Sia, rap and Sia!! Need I say more!
  57. Young And Beautiful by Lana Del Rey (Cedric Gervais Remix), “will you still love me when I’ve got nothing but my aching soul..I know you will, I know you will”
  58. How To Save A Life by The Fray, for the obvious reason of how to save a life
  59. Faded by Alan Walker, a nice voice and soothing tune
  60. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, “would you lie with me and just forget the world”
  61. Fire And The Flood by Vance Joy, “everything’s fine when your heads resting next to mine”
  62. Out Of The Woods by Taylor Swift, “are we out of the woods yet?”
  63. Be Together by Major Lazer ft. Wild Belle, THAT voice!! “Maybe if the stars align…”
  64. Never Let Me Go by Florence + The Machine, sad day anthem played at painful loud
  65. Mad World by Vintage Vaudeville style cover ft. Puddles Pity Party & Haley Reinhart, “the dreams I have of dying are the best I’ve ever had”
  66. On Top Of The World by Imagine Dragons, a groovy beat and great happy day anthem
  67. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself by Jess Glynne, for the obvious
  68. Ain’t Nobody by Felix Jaehn ft. Jasmine Thompson, another great voice and fun beat
  69. Riding Solo by Jason Derulo, “I’m feeling like a star you can’t stop my shine”
  70. Gold Digger by Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx, a fun rap by 2 hilarious guys, beat along
  71. Chandelier by Sia, my original song because it speaks to me about being suicidal
  72. Happy by Pharrell Williams, because in the depths of my depression I would still light up and clap along! That’s powerful!!
  73. Titanium by  David Guetta ft. Sia, “I’m bulletproof, nothin’ to lose, fire away, fire away”
  74. Better Now by The Vespers, because I’m better now 🙂
  75. Team by Lourde, that voice and “we’re on each other’s team”
  76. Pompeii by Bastille, “how am I gunna be an optimist about this?”
  77. Elastic Heart by Sia, “you did not not break me, I’m still fighting for peace”

music is therapy

Obviously I’ve been at this project for a while! You won’t be listening to these all at once; maybe you won’t listen to any of them ever. That’s okay, it’s for me as much as anything.

music as painkiller

A great piece popped up in my Facebook newsfeed while I was writing this blog, music for the body and mind, article from BUPA. It’s just another perspective maybe with a bit more oomph than what I’m spouting. And then this article, from Lifehack about how heavy metal music influences your mood. Lastly I like this article about making music and our brain. Maybe they mean something, maybe it’s just more noise but I like the idea. Music therapy I’m sure is a whole other fascinating field of health professionals.

Anyway, enjoy or don’t enjoy, this is my music and I’ll be singing along!

Advertisements

Swinging from the chandeliers

Sia. She is just amazing! I so admire her intelligence, cleverness, her ability to put her finger right on this issue and talk about un-talked about topics.

Like pageants. Like suicide.

“Chandelier”

Party girls don’t get hurt

Can’t feel anything, when will I learn
I push it down, push it downI’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, ringin’ my doorbell
I feel the love, feel the love

1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

Throw ’em back, till I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

And I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

Throw ’em back till I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

And I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight

Holding on for dear life. Just holding on for tonight. Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes. I’m a mess. I’m gunna swing from the chandelier.
Sounds like desperation and suicide to me. I guess it could also sound less drastic; like she’s gunna get rip roaring drunk and swing from the chandelier metaphorically.
I don’t know which of these Sia intended.
All I know is every time this song comes on, I feel it right to the heart; the desperation that I had, the hopelessness that I had, the plans I was trying and failing to make to escape the pain and blackness and hopelessness
.
I don’t relive it; that would be awful and I’d never listen to it again, if that were possible which it probably isn’t. I just feel how strong those emotions were and feel glad that this talented chick understands it down to the nitty gritty detail and can write and sing something so passionately that resonates with all of me about my experience with desperation.
Unlike Sia I didn’t “one two three drink”. Mainly because I was brought up as an almost teetotaler and I just don’t have alcohol in the house, except cheap stuff for cooking. But the weirdest part of my experience with severe depression/mood swings was this intense craving that I got to buy a bottle of whatever and just skull the whole thing. Wine, brandy, anything strongish, my brain wasn’t picky.
Somewhere in humans there is this response to incredible stress to do whatever it takes to just get away and hide for a while. Sometimes going to bed and sleeping works. I guess sometimes getting blotto works; never tried it. But my body was desperately craving an escape and that was the method it chose. It was so strange to me. I’m a one glass for the night girl, if I ever drink which is rare. Why would I suddenly want to be a bottle an hour drinker?? I guess it all falls under the flight or fight. Somehow my brain knew that going to sleep or becoming unconscious from alcohol were ways to keep me alive a bit longer.
Did I ever succumb? No. Not even to a glass. Because I know myself, I’m already living with a chocolate habit that could be classed as an addiction, I’ve been a book and TV series addict and arguably still am, I know that I have difficulty saying no to food.
Basically I think that I have an addicitive personality. And I’m okay-ish with the slippery slope of food consumption, to a point, but not alcohol.
I’ve seen too many ruined lives due to alcohol addiction working in hospitals. And it’s not just the jobless and homeless, I’ve seen lawyers and people high up in powerful positions who have fallen victim to habits involving expensive scotch or champagne rather than rot-gut wine by the litre container. In the end, they all die the same way. Scarring and slow destruction of the liver causing serious bleeding, or slow poisoning of the body with its own by-products, as well as the accompanying incessant itch, delirium and long slow march on the inevitable path to death. This is a TERRIBLE way to die. Be warned.
So my upbringing, my history with liver cirrhosis patients, and sheer lifelong habit kept me from that. But you need something to help numb you for a while. There has to be an escape for however long. For me, chocolate or any food really and a good book, but then I couldn’t concentrate enough to read so it was anything video on replay, chocolate and a brief step out of life to recoup until I could live the next little bit.
Hold on for dear life, there is an alternate ending without swinging from the chandelier!!

Suicide *warning: the following material may be very disturbing*

Author’s note: I wrote this piece two weeks ago. Then while re-reading it prior to publishing I had some reservations. My personal editor (aka my husband) also had some reservations about how it would affect other people so we decided to wait a while and see if we really wanted to publish this.

I’ve decided that I do want to write publicly about this issue. I apologise if it is disturbing, or frightening, or confrontational, or triggers emotions that are hard to deal with.

I can write about this issue openly now that I am past these horror days and now that I feel reasonably confident that I won’t experience them again, at least nowhere near the depths that I did sink to before. Thanks to an antidepressant and two mood stabilisers, and a team of psychologist, psychiatrist, very accessible and caring GP, fabulous husband and great friends!!

But I do feel that the population of the world fortunate enough never to plunge to these awful depths should have some understanding of the suffering that is out and about in the world, walking around trying to contain their sorrow and hurt. My favourite saying comes to mind:

“Always be kind. Every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

lease PLEASE remember that however impossible it feels, severe depression can be survived. It doesn’t feel like but just ask for help and let someone in! Tell your partner, your friend, your family, your colleague, a local doctor or go to the local emergency department. Tell someone; don’t suffer alone!! You know the numbers:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467

Men’s Line Australia: 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Employee Assistance Program (employees of public hospitals): 1300 361 008

beyond blue: 1300 22 4636

Suicide Line (Victoria only): 1300 651 251

Suicide Prevention Foundation: 1300 465 366

So here we go!

Suicide. Death by one’s self.

We don’t talk about it enough.

It’s taboo. It’s avoided, ignored, swept out of sight.

There can be sense of shame about it. Some consider it selfish.

In some places and in some era’s it is and has been illegal.

Some insurance companies won’t pay out life insurance policies if a death is determined to be a suicide.

Yet, along the death spectrum a ways, people campaign for euthanasia, the right to kill oneself if life becomes physically unbearable.

What about when life becomes emotionally unbearable? Mentally unbearable? Somehow people never consider the rights of a person suffering in this way.

But this is a dreadful, terrible, awful way to suffer.

Why are we sympathetic to cancer patients with terminal illness suffering physical agony but don’t give the same thought to mentally ill people suffering emotional agony without relief?

And to some people there seems to be or is no end in sight; treatments that don’t work or take too much time to work, emotional turmoil with no relief, desperation. What then?

Personally, I don’t believe suicide is right. Morally, that is. I believe what the Bible says: thou shall not kill, including oneself.

But it was a whole different story when I found myself in the grips of severe depression and assailed with suicidal thoughts.

Suicidal wasn’t about self-harm and ending my life. Initially.

It was about feeling terribly awful in the midst of my perfect life, so awful that I didn’t know if I could survive, if I would ever feel good or well again and I just wanted a break!

It was about dragging myself through the motions every day and wondering if I would ever feel like every physical step wasn’t a tiresome chore. It was about emotionally forcing myself through the duties of the day, pasting a smile on my face and coping when I felt like crawling into bed and never coming out.

I wanted an escape, to step into a time warp that would take me out of my life for as long as it took for the depression to go away. Then I could just step back into my life and take off where I’d left off, minus the awful distress.

I wanted the escape, but didn’t know how to get it. I was on two antidepressants, an unusual combination and a bit risky. But that was what it took to get me feeling better and sleeping. To start with, but then I started having odd thoughts as my mood took a steep dive downwards, the first time I experienced what I would later find out was a mood swing.

What would happen if I just stepped out in front of the bus? If I just took one step out…

Would it hurt? Would I just die or would I be injured and gain nothing but more pain?

I’ve always been against the idea of committing suicide by using another person driving a vehicle. I’ve called it selfish. I’ve called it unfair and sympathised with train, bus, truck and car drivers used in this awful way.

Is this karma? To be wondering whether I would actually take that step? To be thinking not about the awfulness that the driver would experience, but to be wondering if I could be that person? Wondering if it would solve my problems? If it would just take everything away so I didn’t have to try to deal with it day by day by day.

I’ve always been nervous about people standing close to the edge at train stations. I’ve always been half-prepared to see something so awful that it would damage me for life.

But then nothing happened and this mental disease arrived, bit by bit. Maybe it was the anxiety in me the whole time, all these years worrying and thinking about such things.

This was my thought process, back then, before I went to hospital.

I could never jump in front of a train. I’ve read ‘Dear Miffy’ by John Marsden. I know what happens when a jump in front of a train is misjudged! I don’t want to be in a wheelchair or completely dependant on someone else.

I don’t think I would jump in front of a car; too small, more likely to end up alive and well with a couple of broken bones. So that’s out.

So that leaves a bus.

Or an overdose. But I know that the medications that I’m taking are relatively safe in overdose. They won’t kill me. I’ll maybe sleep for a while then wake up back where I started. With the added stigma of having tried to kill myself!

I don’t want that for me, but mostly I don’t want that for my husband. I don’t want to leave him with the bill, so to speak. He doesn’t deserve a life of questioning what went wrong, where could he have done something or done it differently, of blame. He doesn’t deserve any of that. No one deserves that. So I came to this: I can’t do any of those things. I have to keep on going, to keep trying, to keep fighting. Because I can’t do that to him. But it’s so hard!

Another day I got to thinking again: what if I just jumped off these rocks into the crash of waves breaking? Would it hurt? How long would it take? Would someone rescue me? Would it just be easy and instant?

What about sharps? One of my horrors is paper cuts to my eyelids, no idea why! But I’m always super careful around knives and I hate blades, which is why I now wax instead of shave; I’ve cut myself enough times as a total accident to give away shaving! And our knife set is new and super sharp, but I don’t think I could ever do that.

I don’t have a gun and I wouldn’t know what to do with it.

What about painkillers? I don’t have any above supermarket strength and I know they don’t work in overdose, it’s just long slow painful illness of liver failure that can take forever and is a terrible idea. Or bleeding, also slow and awful, not at all a solution.

I’m not great with heights, I just know I could never make myself jump.

So, all out of ideas.

And that’s how I came to be in my doctor’s office at midday on a Monday, bawling my eyes out.

The doctor asked me, have you had any suicidal thoughts? Yes, I sobbed.

Do you have a plan to harm yourself? No, because I can’t think of a way that would work! Sobbing harder and harder.

If I let you go, can you promise me that you won’t hurt yourself? I don’t know, I think so but I’m not sure, I feel so terrible! Sobbing, and sobbing, and sobbing!

A terrible, awful point for me in such despair and not even able to come up with a good way out. Still believing that it’s wrong, but needing so badly some relief! Just a few hours off, just a day of rest from the hurt and chaos in my mind!

Which I did get, later. I took a Valium on the way to the hospital, they gave me another one in the emergency department a few hours later. I slept then, for a few hours. That was just what I needed. But then I woke up and they wouldn’t keep me. As desperate and at the end of my rope as I was, they sent me home.

With 2 temazepam, double the usual dose of this sleeping pill. Which gave me another 8 hours of absence until I could come to terms with going on, dealing with a new day, another battle, keeping on keeping on. Until they could send members from the outpatient psychiatry team to visit and help me.

And then they started the long path to bring me back to today.

Starting new medications, changing doses, scrapping that one, starting another one, altering, fiddling, trying and failing and trying again in the long haul to now, a better day.

Today it is 77 days since I was in the emergency department of my local hospital (author’s note: written two weeks ago). Not the hospital I work at, another one near home. I could never have gone in that state to work and shown any of my colleagues the face under my usual coping face.

77 days. None of them spent working. All of them spent here at home. Making tiny steps of progress, going backward, coming forward, a couple steps one way, another few the other way, teetering backward and forward on the scale from deep depression to hypomania and somehow, at long last, feeling like I’ve settled in the middle around a place that I could call home, somewhere around about “normal”.

My husband in fact thinks maybe I’m better than “normal”. He sees now that maybe I’ve never been as good as I am now.

Sure I still get tired, and have the odd afternoon nap. But I’m more productive, I’m more energetic, I’m more engaged, I’m enjoying life, I’m driving a bit, I’m shopping a bit, I’m doing the dishes occasionally, the laundry sometimes, making the bed some days, hosting visitors rarely, doing day trips every now and then, actually living my life 🙂

We know there will still be days that are further toward one end of the scale or the other. The aim of all the treatment is to not go so far toward either end. My personal goal is to never ever in my whole entire life get anywhere near as deeply depressed as I have been. I don’t ever want to see the shape or colour of that place ever again!!

But we’re living life, and enjoying life! That’s something to be deeply grateful for every day. We’re alive, and relatively well, and life is good! Well, better anyway. That’s something.

I want to live life to the fullest. It’s a cliche, but that’s what I want. My aim is to enjoy every day that I can enjoy because depression is not ruling my life with it’s inability to enjoy pleasure, or it’s sadness, and hopelessness, and pointlessness.

Now ruling my life is just…life. Just life. Getting less complicated, more predictable, more fun! Yes, it takes an solid dose of antidepressant and a good going dose of two mood stabilisers/anti-psychotics. It takes weekly visits with my GP and psychologist, and fortnightly visit to my psychiatrist. It takes good doses of friends and hobbies and enjoyable activities. Who cares? What works, works and I have no argument against that!

Link: how to talk about suicide