Friday, March 14, 2014
Music and Anxiety: "I Can't Listen to that Song!"
Whenever I hear Phil Collins, I am six years old again, dancing to my dad's favorite song. I remember the song that was on the radio the first time a dumb boy made me cry. I can still sing every word to the Backstreet Boys "Millenium" CD that was so very cool in the 90s. I rememebr the first time I heard my favorite song and how it made me feel. I remember the songs I listened to that made me think of Jordan when I was falling in love with him.
I am amazed by how our minds and memories respond to music. We can listen to a song we haven't heard for years and still have every song, harmony, verse, and bridge memorized. A certain song can take you back to High School, childhood, or Christmas morning. It can bring back thoughts and feelings you had forgotten. It can bring up intense feelings of happiness or spirituality.
So many songs bring happy memories, but there are also songs that may do the opposite. There are a few songs that I will change when they come on the radio or up on my iPod. These are songs that I listened to when I was very depressed. The songs themselves aren't necessarily depressing, but they were songs I listened to frequently when I was struggling so much. Right when I hear these songs, I start to have feelings of anxiety, because that is how I felt when I used to listen to them.
I remember when one of my sisters was going through a hard time, and we were listening to a CD together. She had me skip almost every song because of things she associated with them. I didn't understand it then, I thought she was so silly. Why couldn't we listen to these songs? Now, I totally get it.
The other day, a song I have a hard time listening to came on the radio. I have skipped over it countless times before, simply choosing to avoid it. The song has nothing to do with being sad or depressed, it is actually a love song, but, since I listened to it so much when I was feeling so low, that is what my mind associates it with. When it came on the other day, I went to switch it, like I have so many times before, but then I thought, "No, I can listen to this song. It's a good one." As I drove, I listened. It was hard at first, but as I continued listening, I remembered why I liked the song so much. It is a really touching piece of music.
It may sound silly, but I felt a little victorious as the song came to an end. I listened! I listened to it all the way through, for the first time in a long time.