Music has always been a part of my life. My dad is in a band, so I was exposed to music at young age. However, It wasn’t until middle school that I started to develop a true passion for music. I joined chorus in sixth grade and have been in it since then. In eighth grade, I started to play the piano. I still play piano almost every day.
Despite my love for music, I didn’t understand the benefits and importance of it until my depression got worse.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at a young age. I remember the first time I had a severe panic attack. At first I thought I was having a heart attack, but my parents told me it was anxiety. I was reassured, but my panic attack lingered. I then turned to music to help me calm down. It slowed down my breathing and made me feel in control again. This was the first time I realized that music was beneficial to my mental health.
I hit my lowest point during ninth grade. I was extremely depressed. I listened to music almost constantly to distract myself and to alleviate my internal pain. I wrote down lyrics on my arm when I felt like self-harming and repeated lines in my head.
I held on to music when everything felt out of control and hopeless. Music showed me that hope is real.
Even when I was hospitalized for my depression, music was a part of my recovery. We listened to music there and I discovered some empowering songs that I still listen to when I’m at low points today.
Music has also helped me discover that I’m not alone. Music is what makes me feel in control. After a long day at school, I go straight to my piano. I don’t think about learning any songs; I just play whatever I want. A lot of the time I listen to music on the way home from school. I’ll play different types of music depending on my mood: For example, I’ll play piano music (Ludovico Einaudi is currently my favorite composer) if I’m stressed and anxious.
When I feel like I have nothing to live for, I think about my music. Last year, we performed a song called “Arise, My Love.” The day after the concert, my chorus teacher told us about how a woman went up to her and said that she felt complete and happy after listening to the piece. That’s when it clicked for me: Music erases pain for a lot of people. Music has an impact on others.
I’ve started to compose piano pieces. It’s my goal to compose something that moves people. This may take months. It may take years. But I want people to experience the healing that I feel from music. Music never fails to help me in some way.
I’ve also learned not to be ashamed of my passions. Play for other people. Sing for other people. Don’t keep your music inside. Show others music that helps you through tough times. Show others your talents. Spread the love and peace. It makes a difference.
Here is one of my favorite songs. It has encouraging, beautiful lyrics for someone struggling with suicidal thoughts:
“24 Floors” by the Maine
“You don’t wanna die tonight
Take one more breath to clear your mind
Every moment’s relevant
Bittersweet and delicate
Tomorrow may not come again.”