Health,  Music

My Mental Health and my Songwriting

You may have seen the blog I wrote for Mind a few years back talking about my relationship with music and how it helps my health. If you haven’t, why not have a quick read?

Today I want to update and expand on that blog as it was 2018 when I wrote it. And a lot has happened since then.

Music has always been my lucky charm. It’s always the thing that has always rescued me from very dark places. It’s music that gives me the confidence to do things I wouldn’t do otherwise.

But recently all of this changed. The love music I had just faded instantly, and I didn’t know what I was doing and why. I felt rather low about it.

A picture with black and white piano keys, with music manuscript paper on top of them.

It wasn’t the fact I had gone off music. I still listened to it and sing along to it. But things like having singing lessons (which I had started having) started to go away, I tried to write music, and I couldn’t even think of a single line of lyrics to work on. I’ve been on my music creation software and tried, but it was like anything linked with me and music just disappeared.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that there may have been a reason. Perhaps it was something I was trying to suppress in my mind. But every time I thought about music, I felt… numb and empty. It was only when other things I enjoyed started to feel the same way that I realised something wasn’t right.

I remember talking to my psychologist about this. I asked, “why am I suddenly not interested in doing anything.” The only thing they said was that I write music to aid my well-being and perhaps my health was in a good enough place that I didn’t need to write about it. Perhaps there was an element of truth to this; I do write a lot as a form of therapy. But it didn’t quite match how or why I was feeling like I did.

It was only in mid to end of April that I clicked. Even after all this time, I’m still learning about my mental health, and I realised it was depression getting in the way. I knew this because every time someone would mention music, I would try to change the subject. Especially when on the topic of my university course. I think want I was experiencing was being slightly burnt out but also that my depression took hold of the things I enjoyed. I felt the imposter syndrome of being a songwriter, I felt low because I just wanted to get my music heard and still hadn’t done this. I was numb because everything I tried to do just wasn’t working right.

Do you know what happened? One day, I had to force myself to do some music as I had an upcoming assignment coming up. I needed assistance from two other students for the song. And prior experience had told me that no one would want to help. But to my surprise they did. Despite my hesitance about it, it turned out quite well. But the thing which really got me thinking was the message I received from one student. They had said I clearly gave my songs a lot of love, care, and attention and that they really enjoyed listening to them. It’s then I went, “Wait a minute, why did I very suddenly stop enjoying the thing I’ve enjoyed since I was a toddler?” And that is when I realised the problem.

I’m working on it now though. Today, I managed to write some lyrics; the first time in over a month that I have been able to do that. Soon, I’ll also be starting my major project (dissertation type project) at university, and for the first time in a while, I’m really looking forward to it. And I’m sure when I start that, that I’ll be writing more about it on my website.

A lined notepad with a pen sitting on top of it.

I think the important thing to make out of this is to be aware of when things aren’t what they seem. Perhaps I did just too much and burnt myself out with music, and then perhaps it was my depression that caused me to have these problems in the first place too. For me, I was lucky to have the other student believe in what I did. And that reassurance helped. Reassure those around you because you never know how it could help someone.

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