text reads: 16 songs that have helped people through depression

Facing the world each morning can be difficult when you live with a mental illness. Depression, specifically, can make everyday tasks seem daunting. Getting out of bed and out the door can be a major accomplishment. And although music can’t cure depression (we wish), it’s scientifically proven to reduce stress and even depressive symptoms.

So, we asked our readers what songs and lyrics have helped them through depression. If you need an extra boost today, hopefully some of these can help.

1. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

rachel platten quote: my power's turned on. starting right now i'll play my fight song. and i really don't care if nobody else believes, 'cause i've still got a lot of fight left in me.
photo: RachelPlattenVEVO

“My power’s turned on. Starting right now I’ll be strong. I’ll play my fight song. And I don’t really care if nobody else believes, ’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”


2. “Now Is the Start” by A Fine Frenzy

fine frenzy quote: Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of the lost gone found. It's the sound of a mute gone loud. It's the sound of a new start.
photo: AFineFrenzyVEVO

“Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of the lost gone found. It’s the sound of a mute gone loud. It’s the sound of a new start.”

3. “I Choose” by India Arie

india arie quote: Because you never know where life is gonna take you, and you can't change where you've been. But today, I have the opportunity to choose.

“Because you never know where life is gonna take you, and you can’t change where you’ve been. But today, I have the opportunity to choose.”

4. “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin

jack's mannequin quote: You haven't come this far to fall off the Earth.

“You haven’t come this far to fall off the Earth.”

5. Let It Go” from “Frozen”

frozen quote: Here I stand, and here I'll stay. Let the storm rage on!
photo: Walt Disney Animation Studios

 “Here I stand, and here I’ll stay. Let the storm rage on!” 

6. “Let Me Be Myself” by 3 Doors Down

3 doors down quote: I'll never see the light of day living in this cell.

“I’ll never see the light of day living in this cell.” 

7. Firework” by Katy Perry

katy perry quote: You don't have to feel like a waste of space. You're original, cannot be replaced.
photo: KatyPerryVEVO

 “You don’t have to feel like a waste of space. You’re original, cannot be replaced.”

8.  Empire In My Mind” by The Wallflowers

the wallflowers quote: Well, there is trouble in my mind. There is dark. There's dark, and there is light.

“Well, there is trouble in my mind. There is dark. There’s dark, and there is light.” 

9.  People Like Us” by Kelly Clarkson

kelly clarkson quote: Hey, everybody loses it. Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes. And hey, I know what you're going through. Don't let it get the best of you. You'll make it out alive.
photo: kellyclarksonVEVO

“Hey, everybody loses it. Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes. And hey, I know what you’re going through. Don’t let it get the best of you. You’ll make it out alive.” 

10. Collide” by Howie Day

howie day quote: Even the best fall down sometimes.

 “Even the best fall down sometimes.” 

11. Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley

bob marley quote: Don't worry about a thing. Cause' every little thing gonna be alright.

“Don’t worry about a thing. Cause’ every little thing gonna be alright.”

12. Alive” by Sia

sia quote: I had a one way ticket to a place where all the demons go. Where the wind don't change, and nothing in the ground can ever grow...But I'll survive.
photo: SiaVEVO

“I had a one way ticket to a place where all the demons go. Where the wind don’t change, and nothing in the ground can ever grow…But I’ll survive.” 

13. Beautiful Day” by U2

u2 quote: It's a beautiful day. Don't let it get away.

“It’s a beautiful day. Don’t let it get away.”

14. Overcomer” by Mandisa

mandisa quote: You're an overcomer. Stay in the fight 'til the final round. You're not going under.
photo: MandisaVEVO

“You’re an overcomer. Stay in the fight ’til the final round. You’re not going under.”


15. I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

tom petty quote: I'll keep this world from draggin' me down. Gonna stand my ground.

“I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down. Gonna stand my ground.” 

16. Breathe” by Alexi Murdoch

breathe by alexi murdorch: Keep you head above the water, but don't forget to breathe.

“Keep you head above the water, but don’t forget to breathe.” 

Check out our Spotify playlist with songs chosen by our readers. What songs would you add?

16 Songs That Have Helped People Through Depression


My parents were shocked when they found I had been experiencing depression. They had no idea what I was going through, and although I’ve worked through many things with them, there’s still a lot they don’t seem to understand. I hope these 10 things can help other parents understand their teen who has depression.

1. I feel so guilty for hurting you and being a “problem.”

I’ve seen the pain on your face. I know I’ve hurt you, and I know I’ve caused you extra work and stress. I sometimes feel guilty and selfish for being depressed. Just remind me you love me and that even if I create extra problems for you, I’m worth it.

2. Sometimes I don’t know what’s wrong. 

Feeling down can come on whenever — it’s unpredictable. I don’t always know what causes it, and if I don’t know how am I supposed to tell you? Please stop asking me to try and figure it out.

3. Don’t try to fix all my problems for me.

I know I have problems, but it’s a victory when I overcome them. You can help me if I ask, and hug me when those problems get to be too much, but no one can fix another person’s problems. I need to be able to do that myself. Just be there for me.

4. Other teens can be cruel.

Whether they don’t understand my depression or they just don’t care, when they exclude or bully me it hurts. Be the person I can run to and who will love me no matter what.

5. Don’t be ashamed of my depression and try to hide it from the rest of the family

Yes, I have depression. Don’t try to hide it from the family. No family is perfect, and when you try to hide my depression you’re telling me this is something I should be ashamed of. Depression is a mental illness. You don’t hide it when I have the flu, so don’t hide it when I have a “mental flu.”

6. Sometimes I fake being sick because I feel mentally unwell and I’m afraid you won’t understand.

When I’m feeling down I don’t want to go to school or do other social activities. I’m hurting too much inside to try being happy while trying not to have a breakdown in public. The best thing for me is talking to someone who will listen, or doing a fun activity that doesn’t involve being around a lot of other people.

7. I get mad at myself for not having the energy and motivation to do the things you want me to do.

Doing certain activities and chores takes a lot more concentration and motivation when I’m dealing with depression. Things that used to be simple and fun now take a lot of energy and more time. When I know I have a lot to get done, it stresses me out and makes me feel more down.

8. Don’t ask me what I talked about with my counselor.

It’s important to be able to talk to someone outside of our family and my social life. Don’t be offended when I don’t talk to you and talk to a counselor instead. Family and parents play a big part in my life, so I need to talk to someone else about those things. There’s a reason the sessions are private.

9. When I need breaks from family, please don’t be offended.

Like any relationship, families are hard work. Being around them every day can get challenging. Having breaks, like a few days away, gives me some peace. I don’t love you any less, but if stuff is stressful at home things start to build up. Having a short time away gives me time to clear my head and think things over.

10. Depression comes and goes. If I seem happy, it might not mean I’m “better.”

Some days are better than others, so even when I seem happy, be there for me. 

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

I’m sorry.

I know those two words seem so small, and they are. They are nothing more than seven simple letters, but I don’t know where else to start. So I’ll start with: I’m sorry.

There are things I’m not sorry for, things I can’t be sorry for. I’m not sorry for my illness. It’s something beyond my control; it’s a physical disorder as much as it is a mental one. But I am sorry for the years I’ve wasted feeling sorry for myself. I’m sorry for the years I’ve tried to hide my illness, to keep it a secret.

You see, that secrecy has been our undoing. I’ve pushed you away, though you never knew why. You may not have even realized I was doing it, but there were cancelled plans, birthday parties I failed to attend and social gatherings I forced myself to go to, resentfully and begrudgingly. It wasn’t your fault. I was too broken to hold myself together, but because I was also too scared to tell you the truth I would just sit there, forcing an awkward smile and some stale conversation about the weather or work. I would excuse myself from games and other events and, while I wouldn’t leave, I would withdraw to a corner and watch while you laughed and played.

You thought I was a buzzkill (and I was), but what hurts me the most — what I’m most sorry for — is that you thought I was too good for you, too good for “child-like” games. But that was never the case. The truth is I want to be happy. I want nothing more than to laugh beside you and enjoy myself the way you do, but there’s a disconnect somewhere and I can’t. Sure, there are moments of happiness and joy, but most of my life is about just getting by. So instead of pretending I pulled away — from you and from life.

I focused on little things, like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. It seems strange to even mention these “accomplishments,” but when you don’t want to get out of bed, when you’ve lost the will to live, the simplest of things can be the hardest to do. It’s because they are mundane. That is all your life is in the midst of depression: the banal, the routine and the mundane.

I’m sorry for not being present, for not celebrating in your successes and joys. Please know I wanted to but sometimes the pain held me back — the pain of seeing everything I wanted but would never have, could never have. It’s selfish, I know, but I didn’t know how to handle it.

I’m sorry for the times my temper has been short, and you’ve been the recipient of my rage. Anger has been the most unexpected symptom of my sickness. When I was a teenager, and even well into my 20s, my depression was marked by melancholy. But as the years passed, the symptoms shifted. While sadness still permeates most days, it’s the anger I cannot ignore. It’s the anger that scares me. My volatile words cut you and my blind and unforgiving rage injures you.

And I’m sorry.

It’s embarrassing and scary to admit you need help, to admit you are not OK. You know once you let your secret out you’ll have no choice but to follow through with therapy. You’ll have to talk to friends and family about your illness, even when you don’t want to. You know you can’t close the curtains and hide anymore, and that thought is terrifying.

Sometimes we “find the light” and make it out. I have before; in fact, I’m currently on an upswing, but that doesn’t mean I am better. In fact, I know better than to believe I’m better. Depression is a lifelong disease, and my depression will return. There is nothing I can do to stop it. The only thing I can control is how I handle it when it does. And for me, handling it means not hiding from it; handling it means drawing back the shades and letting everyone in.

So to everyone entangled in this mess with me, I’m sorry. I never wanted to hurt you or drag you through this two-decade-long nightmare. I love you for standing by me, and hope you still can, but I also understand if you need to step back — if you need to walk away. Know I will love you all the same.

Follow this journey on Sunshine Spoils Milk.

Related: The Most Important Thing I’d Tell Every Person With Depression

It’s easy to say, but harder to do. “Snap out” of it that is. I’m talking about depression. Not just the blues. Not sadness that comes and goes. I’m talking about deep depression. A sadness that won’t go away. An empty feeling of being lonely. A feeling of not belonging. A feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness. The type of sadness you feel in your bones. When nothing is really wrong, yet nothing is quite right either.

I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I started feeling overwhelmed with depression. All I know is that it feels like missing the desire to breathe. Nights are bad, but mornings are worse. I’ve been depressed for such a long period of time it’s as if I’m afraid to feel anything else. I’m afraid to be happy, because I know deep down that just a glimpse of joy would be just that — a glimpse.

Being depressed is like an addiction. I need my sadness to stay alive, yet at the same time, my sorrow is killing me slowly. I’ve gotten so used to feeling alone and empty I don’t know how to act when I’m feeling something other than depression.

I’ve tried to change. I’ve tried changing my hair color. I’ve tried a new hairstyle. I’ve changed my clothes, my friends and my lifestyle. I try to list my hobbies, but nothing comes to mind. I just can’t “snap out of it.”

There are people out there who feel like I do. We are not an isolated group, yet we are isolated from the world around us. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. In 2010, more people died from suicide than in car crashes. Yet, I believe no one listens. For young people, for every one completed suicide there are 25 attempts. Every year, up to 250,000 people become suicide survivors — people who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide worldwide.

So can you hear me now? I may be your daughter, son, brother, sister, your aunt or uncle. I may be your mother or father. I may just be your neighbor. But I’m here to tell you that I matter. Depression is real. Depression is a serious mental issue. Take off your blinders. Take a good look into my eyes and see me. Do you see me now, or am I still invisible?

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Get ready to see Sarah Silverman like you’ve never seen her before — as Laney, a mother and wife who struggles with depression and substance abuse in the upcoming drama “I Smile Back.”

In what Access Hollywood called a “career-changing performance,” the comedian portrays a woman trying to balance motherhood with her demons, addressing the realities of living with a mental illness while parenting.

“Why’d you stop taking your meds?” Silverman’s husband, played by Josh Charles, asks in the trailer below. “You’d rather be insane?”

With one in eight women experiencing major depression in their lifetimes, according to National Alliance on Mental Health, this movie is sure to resonate with many mothers grappling with mental illness.

The movie is set to be released October 23.

Watch the trailer below: 

Years ago, 1997 to be exact, I was thinking about writing an article for a lawyer’s magazine about my experiences with depression while practicing law. I had lunch with a good friend of mine, Bob, who at that time worked in a large litigation firm in New York City. Since then, Bob has become a federal judge and remains a dear friend.

After we had ordered, I told Bob about my idea to write the article. He sat quietly and listened, looking down at his salad as I spoke. Finally, he said, “Dan, this is an awful idea.  While noble, why would you expose yourself to the insults some people are going to hurl your way.” We spoke at length and I finally told my dear friend I was going to write the article anyway.

For the first few years after that initial talk, Bob would call me regularly and check in, “How’s it going, Dan? Is everything all right?” I so appreciated Bob’s loving concern. More importantly, however, something began to change in our relationship. Bob eventually disclosed to me that he had had a episode of major depression some years ago and had tried to take his own life.

It seems to me that my willingness to speak frankly about my depression gave Bob permission to speak about his.

Unfortunately, talking about depression is not easy for most men. They have lots of trouble coming to terms with depression, even when they get treatment. I believe that’s even truer if they’re lawyers.

Lawyers aren’t supposed to have problems; we’re supposed to fix them. Most male lawyers I know would rather drop dead than admit they have problem with depression. I guess the exception to this observation is when the wheels have fallen off. Then, and only then, do they recognize (hopefully) they are experiencing depression. The consequences for failing to recognize this basic fact can be serious (loss of productivity at work, sleep problems, etc.) or even fatal — lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers, and the profession is fourth on the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ranking of suicide deaths by profession.

Psychologist Terrance Real, the author of the book, “I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression,” makes the observation that we don’t think of men as depressed. This is because when we typically think of the “overt” signs of depression – weeping, a willingness to discuss painful feelings, etc. More often, men experience “covert” depression that might express itself in addiction, isolation, workaholism and increased irritability.

The excellent website, Men Get Depression, says there are three distinctive signs of male depression:

“Depression may show up as physical signs like constant headaches, stomach problems or pain that doesn’t seem to be from other causes or that doesn’t respond to normal treatments.”

Risk-taking: “
Sometimes, depressed men will start taking risks like dangerous sports, compulsive gambling, reckless driving and casual sex.”

Anger: “
Anger can show itself in different ways like road rage, having a short temper, being easily upset by criticism and even violence.”

So often, I’ve noticed the first symptom male lawyers notice when they’re slipping is in the performance department. One of the symptoms of clinical depression is difficulty concentrating. This leads to problems in getting work out the door. They may try to hide their work is slipping, ask for extensions and take much longer to do tasks that were simple and routine in the past.

My therapist used to liken my depression to a caveman camping out of his cave. It took a lot to coax me out of there. Men need to come out of their caves into the light of day where the colors are brighter, others can help them and they can get better.

This post originally appeared on Lawyers With Depression.

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