Depression and Music
From a young age, I had a strong connection with music. The first time I discovered a “recorder”, a musical instrument similar to a clarinet, most often used to start off young children on their musical journey in school, I felt sparks fly. I was in the third grade, and it was the first time I felt a real passion for music.
The next time I remember feeling a connection to music was in the fifth grade when it was time to pick out my next instrument. I was drawn to the trumpet. I felt an immediate connection to the instrument and played passionately and with a drive for the remainder of my middle and high school career.
I discovered my singing voice around the sixth grade. It was around this time, I also began to feel a connection to bands and artists and their lyrics and melodies.
Once I entered high school, I began my journey with depression and anxiety, and I learned to cling to music as a coping mechanism. Music was the one thing that got me through my days in high school. I began to sleep through classes and drift off into my thoughts during normal class times, but when it came time for band, chorus or music lessons, I could be myself. I began to make excuses to spend any time possible in the music room, including lunch and free periods, and sometimes I got out of regular classes to escape to the music room.
I did make it through high school with good grades because of my music and got into a good college with a major in Music Therapy with a vocal primary. I spent a year and a half as a Music Therapy major, with a goal to help others like myself who had suffered from mental illness, through music. Music therapy is an amazing field, with amazing potential to help people. According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals.”
After this time, I had to withdraw from college because of my mental health. Slowly, over the years, I have lost my connection with music. Sometimes, the connection that a person has with music, especially if depression is involved, can be complicated. Music was the most important thing in my life for a very long time, but it has grown distant in my life. One of the symptoms of depression is the loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, otherwise known as “Anhedonia.”
I was once an avid trumpet player, a vocal major in college, a karaoke enthusiast, an intermediate guitar player, a multi-band obsessed college-girl, and much more. I have been known to get goose bumps just by listening to a new song, or to burst into tears over a beautiful musical performance. I am working to get these things back. They are still very much a part of who I am. I have lost touch with many of these things. I don’t listen to music every day, and I don’t play my instruments anymore. I still listen to the occasional song in the car, and I still keep up with my favorite band. When I hear a song that really touches me, I still get goosebumps, and that’s how I know music is still my home.
There is so much potential in the field of Music Therapy, this is just one area where it can be helpful. I believe it may be healing for me in the future. Perhaps Music Therapy could help me to heal my connection with music. Perhaps there is more meaning behind my disconnect from music in relation to my depression.
Gearsbeck, C. (2017). Depression and Music. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 24, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/millennial/2017/09/depression-and-music/