Mandy Harvey is an “America’s Got Talent” gold buzzer winner. She lost her hearing when she was 18 years old. She wrote the song “Try” as a way to keep her spirits up despite not being able to hear. When I first heard the song, I broke out into tears. I was extremely suicidal at the time and this song was the only thing that made me stop and think that I could keep trying no matter what happens. The song gave me the hope I had lost and made me want to keep living. While I’m not sure whether Mandy was trying to suggest struggling with depression, I find that it greatly applies to the lyrics.
Mandy’s first line is “I don’t feel the way I used to/ The sky is gray much more than it is blue/ But I know one day I’ll get through.” I find that this relates to depression because when I am depressed, I spend a lot of time thinking negatively and it feels like there is a dark cloud following me everywhere I go. But sometimes, there is a little bit of hope that I will get through it to the other side and feel better again someday. To hear this sort of thing acknowledged in a song is rare and completely relatable to me, and I’m assuming might be for others who struggle with depression. It is also remarkable because I find that many songs do not hit the nail on the head the way that “Try” does.
Mandy goes on to sing, “So I will try/ So I will try/ I don’t love the way I need to/ You need more and I know that much is true/ So I’ll fight for our breakthrough and I’ll breathe in you again.” This line could be taken in two different ways. The “you” Mandy is referring to could be herself. She could be trying to say that it’s important, yet difficult, to love yourself and to be who you really are when you’re struggling with depression. I know that this is true for me. When I don’t feel good about my life, I don’t feel good about myself. However, the “you” could also be someone else in her life who is struggling to love because they do not feel well themselves. When I am depressed, I tend to isolate and not give others the love they deserve. I can be nasty toward family and friends because I don’t feel good.
Other powerful lines I found in the song were: “There is no one but me to blame ‘cause I know the only thing in my way is me/ I don’t live the way I used to/ That whole picture never came into view.” These lines are powerful, yet I find them a little trickier, as they do not quite acknowledge the fact that mental illness can get in the way. What I find most relatable is that I think we do have the power to take control of our illnesses and lead healthy and productive lives. This is why it’s important to seek help and treatment if you’re struggling. I was once told, “It is like you have a broken arm in your brain.” I agree with this, because broken bones do heal. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then we are in our own way. There was once a time when those struggling with depression were happy and had dreams they believed they could achieve. Depression can rob so much life from a person, that it can be hard to feel successful or like you’re moving forward. That is why I will reiterate how important it is to seek help — to care for the broken arm in your brain.
Whether it was Mandy’s intention or not, the song is a sort of anthem to my depression. It speaks for depression and allows me to feel validated and perhaps even understood. Someone with depression could listen to this song and think “this is totally me.” And I will be completely honest with you; when I first heard it, I cried and realized that it’s worth it to keep trying and to live my life. This song literally saved my life. I hope this song is as powerful to others as it was to me.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
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Lead image via America’s Got Talent YouTube channel