Things were never quite easy for me. Bullying started in elementary school, and continued through middle school, then finally ended in high school. The insecurity and self-hatred started somewhere in the midst. The anxiety and depression picked up with all of the rest. Therapy didn’t help, and I didn’t want medicine. But I was surviving. I was going out with friends, I was laughing, I was going to softball practice, I was passing all my classes. I made it. I look around at others around me who have or have had similar problems and saw that they ended up in a much darker place than I am. I always wondered what gave me strength. But now that I’ve grown, I can see what it was, and what it still is.
It’s music. Music has saved me. Music has got me through sessions of crying over nothing for hours at a time. Music has saved me from shallow, fast breaths on a train during a random panic attack. Music helped me when I was nine years old and came home from school crying because a boy on my bus thought it’d be funny to spit in my face. Music cheered me up when my beloved Papa died and I didn’t know how to feel.
One of my earliest memories with music was during the funeral/wake of my great grandmother. I was between four and six years old. I sat on the piano in the funeral home and proceeded to sing “Tomorrow” from Annie. I don’t remember doing this, and I don’t recall why I did it, but I did. And safe to say everyone smiled in that room, even if it was only for a minute. That memory has taught me how much music really can heal. I remember whenever I would cry over anything when I was younger I would sing through the tears. It’d almost always be Glee’s version of “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin… “Smile, and maybe tomorrow, you’ll see the sun come shining through for you.” I would maybe cry for a little bit longer, but I would brush it off and continue with my day.
As I got older, the anxiety and depression never went away. It got worse towards the end of senior year and on. This past summer, the anxiety was the worst it’s ever been. But I had to suck it up. I had a job, I had a relationship that I needed to keep strong, I had tasks to accomplish for school in January, I had plans to travel… basically, I had to get sh-t done. And when you have to get things done, you have no time for anxiety or depression.
But it catches up with you. On the bus home from work I would think about all my regrets in life and how I should've never made those mistakes and how I’m the worst person in the world and basically just every terrible thought. I would get lightheaded and dizzy everyday and I would struggle to breathe and I would look around me and feel like the whole world was going to collapse right on top of me.
But it didn’t. I just opened my phone to my album of videos, and watched the video of my family singing around the piano at our Saint Patrick’s Day party. I opened my Spotify app and got myself pumped up listening to Chance the Rapper or Kanye West or Tory Lanez. I shut my eyes and listened to the Lumineers or Matt Corby (pictured above), and dozed off. And I survived, and I cleared my mind, and I decided - maybe I should try therapy and medicine. So I did.
I may not be where I want to be yet. But I’m here. I’m mentally sane. I don't do drugs. I don't drink. I’m not reckless. I fought through everything I went through. A lot of credit for me fighting through goes to the support of my mom, family and friends. But a lot goes to music.
Thank you, music.