The Art of Coping: How Music Helped Me Express My Anger About Chronic Pain

Emotion. It’s a touchy subject for some. What you feel about having an illness or how that feeling is affecting your illness.

I had a hard time with that one. When I started getting my headaches and jaw/ear aches it was a stressful time. I attributed how I felt to that. But anger, frustration and irritability were my most prominent emotions.


Now, that didn’t surprise me. I always had very little patience so things could easily upset me or get my blood pressure up. The surprising thing was that it was the music I had hated all my life that I took to in that time. Hardcore, emo and goth, screams and instrumentals that make your ears bleed. That’s what kept me going.

black and white photo of a woman
Photo credit: MNW Photography

No, I’m not all the way to Slipknot or bands like that. Mine are a toned down versions. Bands like Pierce The Veil, Sleeping With Sirens, Falling In Reverse, Bring Me The Horizon, Escape The Fate (circa Dying Is Your Latest Fashion). Bands that yelled about being ignored, hated and in pain, and how to keep going. I think in some way that fueled my anger at times, even validated it.

However, the more I listened to it the more I understood it. Most of it is angry and as you move to the newer songs the artists are able to come to terms with the anger or depression and beat it. The message throughout the artists’ catalog is what pushed me. It’s what got me through the hard times, it’s what helped me smile through the good times. I hear a singer talk about an issue they had and I realize it’s what’s happening to me and you’re actually not as alone as you feel. When a fan understands a song it’s like therapy for the singer and when the fan understands the song the fan realizes that their problems are more common and they’re not alone. You find friends and family through that fan/band bond.

quote written in a journal

Art can change how you cope. Music, drawing, painting, arts and crafts, writing – no matter what type of art it is. Take all that anger or sadness and throw it into something. Work through those emotions in a positive way. Do it however, wherever and whenever you need to.

art is whatever you want it to be

The more people I talk to, the more I believe with all of my being that music and art will make you feel less alone and help you cope.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Pain

woman in pain on her couch surrounded by christmas presents

The Affordable Products I Use to Ease Chronic Pain During the Holidays

The holidays can be rough for people with chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Many holiday activities require us to expend precious energy and increase movement. Fortunately, there are many affordable products that can ease pain and discomfort so you can enjoy the holidays. Here are my recommendations: Make Gift Wrapping a Snap One of the most tedious [...]
woman holding her head in pain

Imagining If Doctors and Loved Ones Could Experience My Chronic Pain for a Day

I hear it all of the time: “If the doctors, family, friends and strangers in my life could walk in my shoes for an hour, day or week, they would be more compassionate, etc.” I get it. Nobody who doesn’t have this pain could understand, no matter how hard they try, and even if two [...]
The writer standing in front of a purple wall.

When You Don't Know What to Say to Me When You Find Out I'm Ill

Your questions have been stinging my heart. As I lay here and it’s almost two in the morning…I am still replaying the last few hours in my head: “Are you in school?” “How is your engineer degree going?” “Are you still living in the city?” “What are your plans for the future?” People don’t know [...]
woman in coat and scarf standing outside a door

To Everyone Who Lives Pain-Free, From a Girl With Chronic Pain

I didn’t ask for this and believe me, I don’t want it. I know you roll your eyes, even when you try and hide it. I know you think I’m exaggerating or being dramatic. But this is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. You’re used to seeing me work and cook, clean, walk, go shopping [...]