How good is music for depression?
I know, it is not the most edible word in the dictionary, certainly does not increase one’s appetite. So, suffice it to say that this post is really not about suicide, but rather about how to move away from it as a solution. Yes, of course, people who are thinking about it are looking for a solution. So, I have a different solution that I would like to share.
From the edge of the brink. I know how it feels. I know how your mind can convince you that if only you just take the final jump, now you can have peace from the thoughts that are wracking your brain. Yea I have had my bouts, have had those days, moments, weeks, months when I could not even fathom hanging on for another day. The thoughts in my mind were so unpleasant, I just could not think of any other way out, some way to get relief.
It came back to me yesterday. A friend called, it was 1am so I figured something was up. He was quite distraught:
“I can’t take it man, there is no point to life, I just cannot take it”
Now, mind you, this friend has a great point to life. He is smart, has alot of great qualities but as fate would have it, he has been thrown to the emotion vampires. You know, the people that drain you of your very life force.
“What’s going on?”
“I just can’t take it man, there is no point”
So, I know how this feels and I thought that this had to be more of a relationship issue than it was a philosophical one. Sure we all say now and then how unfair life might seem to be and that there does not seem to be any purpose, with or without faith. This is not uncommon. But having a philosophical meltdown and using that as an explanation of jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge doesn’t jive as well to me as the possibility that he had felt a betrayal from someone very close.
When I had met him, he was a very upbeat guy, really excited about moving forward in all of his goals and very sensitive to helping other people, but last evening, he seemed devastated and just ready to throw in the towel, actually he seemed like he already had.
So I asked him when he had started to feel this way? And he was able to identify the exact moment, and sure enough, it was betrayal by his family. Without getting into all the details, it is enough to say that the people that he would look to most for support, were undermining him, even more, they were partaking in activities that were offensive and seemed abusive to him. So that is what he wants to escape from, the thoughts of his own family’s betrayal to him.
Of course, his family does not see it that way. They think that they are doing the right thing and if you suspected that religion has something to do with it, then Bingo! So we talked about the issue and I thought we came up with a useful analogy.
Both of us like to play guitar, who doesn’t? And I asked him how much fun would it be if the only song he played was “knockin on heavens door” by Bob Dylan for the next year? Yea, we would all want to jump off the bridge if we had to listen to the same music over and over again. And I told him that exactly is what he has been doing for the last year. He has been playing that same song so to speak in his mind, all of the memories of this unpleasant incident, all of the anxiety that it produced, all of the tensions, over and over again, so of course the natural reaction is to get away from it. And we think sometimes that the fastest way to get away from it is to jump, but how about just changing the channel?
Why jump? Screw that, just shut it off. Shut the channel down, turn the radio off, turn off your itunes and select a new song, create a new song, play some new music!
We all know that despite there being a finite number of notes in music, there are infinite combinations which creates an endless source of new melodies and happiness for the entire world. So if there are people in our lives as will happen, and they are causing us grief and anxiety, rejection or humiliation, abuse or just plain inconsiderate, just shut it off, invest your time in people that do care about you and do not make your life miserable.
This idea resonated with both of us. So that is what I wanted to share. If you have been playing and replaying some thoughts, ideas, situations in your mind that are driving you to the brink, do not ‘play it again Sam’, rather, shut it off, change the channel, get some new music in your mind.
Hopefully he is having a better day, he did seem to feel better after we talked and I did as well . I had a new analogy to work with in my mind as well.
How great is music?
Do you agree with the analogy? Do you have any other suggestions as to how you would calm someone on the brink? Have you had the experience either yourself or of a friend or family in such a state and what did you do?