To Bon Jovi, Whose Music Helped Me Cope With My Depression
Dear Mr. Bon Jovi,
This letter is overdue. I’m almost 40 years old now, but my mom introduced me to your music when I was 10. As a child, I suffered from severe vertigo and vomiting. That led to depression and anxiety so bad, I’m amazed I’m alive today. I spent the majority of my young life in my bed sick and scared, waiting for the room to stop spinning and for my stomach to calm down. Most days, I would pray God would finally decide I had suffered enough and give me the heart attack I so desperately wanted.
But God never gave me that heart attack. Instead, my prayers were answered in a different way. My mom came home from shopping one day with a present for me. Of course, she always felt bad when her child was sick. The present was your “Slippery When Wet” album. I played it without knowing who you were. I was hooked from the moment you sang, “You promised me heaven and put me through hell.” It was quite a thrill as a 10-year-old to say “hell,” and it was OK because it was “just a song.” I drove my family wild playing the song over and over.
When I woke up from one of my horrible dizzy spells, I was always extremely mentally exhausted. I would come home from school where kids who didn’t understand my chronic and invisible illness would tease me and throw things at me. Once, they put the classic “Kick Me” sign on my back. I was usually in a horrible state of depression and weak from being dizzy and nauseous. The worst part was the extreme isolation I felt. One day I decided to place my CD player on my bed where it remained for several years with one of your CDs in it. I grew up Catholic and believed in praying. I remember being 13 years old and screaming at the top of my lungs to God about how much I hated Him. I tried to denounce my faith completely.
Once again, you were there for me when I needed you. A few months later, you released your “Keep the Faith” album.
Every time I felt this isolation, I would turn up your music and allow your voice to fill my bedroom. I used to close my eyes and imagine I was at a Bon Jovi concert. I never thought that dream would come true. The first time I got up the courage and went to one of your concerts, I got sick. I was so embarrassed and I hated myself. But I went to another concert a few years later and felt great. It was one of the most amazing nights of my life.
It’s been almost seven years now since my mom passed away. The day she died was the day your album “The Circle” came out. It still gives me chills to think that since my mom introduced me to you, it really has come full circle. You’ve helped me in so many ways through your work.
Because of your work, I’ve learned how to better cope with my depression. I realized that giving up my faith was not the answer to my problems and I can feel my mom when I need her most. For all of these things, I am grateful. Thank you for being one of the best parts of my life. My biggest wish is to someday meet you and thank you in person.
Forever a fan,
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