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18 Songs to Help You Through a Bipolar Depression Episode

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Living with bipolar depression might feel draining at times. If it’s not the low lows that make having bipolar disorder feel exhausting, then it might be the mania or hypomania that typically follows. If you feel this way because of your bipolar diagnosis, you’re not alone. When treating your bipolar, it’s important to make sure to take care of yourself. Self-care can mean different things to different people, and for some, listening to music can really help.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

According to a study on music and mood, researchers found that many people listen to music to regulate mood. It makes sense — I know whenever I’m feeling lousy or experiencing a depressive episode, I try to listen to music as a way to lift myself up.

To get some song suggestions, we asked our bipolar disorder community for their go-to songs when they’re in the midst of a bipolar depressive episode. Check out what they said below.

Here’s what our community told us:

1. “Graceless” by The National

“I love ‘Graceless’ by The National. I listen to this song and my heart just aches because me and my feelings are being perfectly described. It’s like the words I needed that I couldn’t find to convey myself to everyone else. There are just so many iconic lyrics in the song. I definitely recommend giving it a listen!” — Marissa P.

Sample lyrics:

I am not my rosy self / Left my roses on my shelf / Take the wild ones, they’re my favorites / It’s the side effects that save us

2. “Shake It Out” by Florence + The Machine

“So many of Florence + The Machine songs help me out during my depressive episodes but the one that I always go to is ‘Shake It Out.’ She talks about being in a dark place and dealing with the demons that keep you down then being able to get passed that. It has always helped me out so much. I will turn it on and play it loud and cry and dance and just try to remember I can get through this.” — Katie F.

Sample lyrics:

And every demon wants his pound of flesh / But I like to keep some things to myself / I like to keep my issues strong / It’s always darkest before the dawn

3. “Scars” by I Am They

“‘Scars’ by I Am They. It talks about how the painful times in life help shape you into who you are.” — Sara F.

Sample lyrics:

Now I’m standing in confidence / With the strength of your faithfulness / And I’m not who I was before / No, I don’t have to fear anymore

4. “Life Left To Go” by Safetysuit

“‘Life Left To Go’ by Safetysuit. I deal with suicidal ideation during the depressive episodes and this song really urges me to keep holding on despite all the negativity these episodes bring my mind.” — Sami S.

Sample lyrics:

Oh there’s nothing to run from, no /  There’s nothing but fear inside you / Oh I just hope I can find you / And tell you that I know you’ll smile again

5. “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi

“Anything by Kid Cudi. His beats and flow put a smile on my face and makes me want to dance.” — Tricia S.

Sample lyrics:

I’m on the pursuit of happiness, and I know / Everything that shine ain’t always gonna be gold / Hey, I’ll be fine once I get it / I’ll be good

6. “I’m Good” by The Mowgli’s

“‘I’m Good’ by the Mowgli’s! It’s so upbeat and you can’t help but get happy with it.” — Ali J.

Sample lyrics:

It’s been a long time living this way / Worrying what people say / Feeling like I won’t fit in / But I won’t give up, no I won’t give in

7. “Simple Man” by Shinedown

“‘Simple Man’ by Shinedown. [It] helps kind of slow my thoughts down and remind myself that I’m allowed to have bad days, but they will pass. And just take the time to enjoy the little things and continue to try and better myself.” — Raven M.

Sample lyrics:

Oh take your time, don’t live too fast / Troubles will come, and they will pass

8. “Samskeyti” by Sigur Rós

“Samskeyti by Sigur Rós. It’s instrumental with no lyrics but it is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It makes me think of the quiet and the calm just as the sun is coming up. It helps me stay grounded and remember you can find peace if you look for it.” — Kayleigh M.

9. “Anchor Me” by The Tenors

“‘Anchor Me’ by The Tenors. It’s a really beautifully written song about when life becomes too hard and you need someone to be your anchor. It’s a reminder that you are not alone and people will be there to guide you through the storm and anchor when you feel everything might fall away. I’ve never heard a better song to get me through my depression.” — Jessica C.

Sample lyrics:

When sadness crashes like an ocean / When fear is deeper than the sea / When I am swallowed by the darkness / Will you come and anchor me?

10. “Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel

“‘Sound of Silence’ and ‘I Am A Rock’ by Simon and Garfunkel. Can’t have one without the other. It reminds me to take in the silence quiet the voice in my head, and I am a rock reminds me that I’m still here and I’m not giving up.” — Bethany B.

Sample lyrics:

Hello darkness, my old friend / I’ve come to talk with you again / Because a vision softly creeping / Left its seeds while I was sleeping

11. “Learn to Let Go” by Kesha

“‘Learn to Let Go’ by Kesha helps uplift me when I am struggling with the depression from my bipolar disorder. I remember hearing it the day I got out of inpatient mental health care and I went fishing with my mom on one of my favorite lakes and I always associate it with that day and the progress I’ve made.” — Nicolette A.

Sample lyrics:

I think it’s time to practice what I preach / Exorcise the demons inside me / Whoa, gotta learn to let it go / The past can’t haunt me if I don’t let it / Live and learn and never forget it

12. “Face Up” by Lights

“‘Face Up’ by Lights. It helped me get through those dark, self-hating thoughts. Is message is to keep going because the world would not be the same without you. It helps me to stay present and focused on the good.” — Lauren C.

Sample lyrics:

I just want to feel alive / The times you don’t wanna wake up / ‘Cause in your sleep it’s never over when you give up / The sun is always gonna rise up / You need to get up, gotta keep your head up

13. “This Is Me” by The Greatest Showman

“‘This Is Me’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ soundtrack. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just me. And the beat is just so uplifting.” — Tomma W.

Sample lyrics:

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down / I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out / I am brave, I am bruised / I am who I’m meant to be, this is me

14. “Truce” by twenty one pilots

“‘Truce’ by twenty one pilots. It always reminds me that ‘the sun will rise and we will try again.’ While I may have had a bad day emotionally, I can always try again tomorrow.” — Sara S.

Sample lyrics:

Now the night is coming to an end / The sun will rise and we will try again

15. “Optimistic” by Radiohead

“‘Optimistic’ by Radiohead. The line, ‘you can try the best you can, the best you can is good enough,’ has gotten me through everything.” — Anastasia S.

16. “I’m Sorry, I’m Trying” by Nothing,nowhere

“‘I’m Sorry, I’m Trying’ by Nothing,nowhere. Whenever I’m in my depressed state, I always tend to beat myself up because I withdraw, I tend to not talk to anyone because any sort of social interaction leaves me drained. I end up hating myself for it, and for making people feel like my isolation is their fault, and this is the perfect song to explain to those that don’t understand how it feels.” — Chantel S.

Sample lyrics:

Certain circumstances got me feeling low / Don’t take it personally / Talk some sense into me, I’ve been feeling senseless

17. “In Between” by Beartooth

“‘In Between’ by Beartooth. It always reminds me that I’m not as different as I feel and that eventually, things will turn around again.” — Maranda B.

Sample lyrics:

Everybody gets high, everybody gets low / Life can be such overdose / Up on the mountain I see down below / It’s easy to lose yourself I know in the in between

18. “Raging Fire” by Phillip Phillips

“‘Raging Fire’ by Phillip Phillips The lyrics, ‘Before the flame goes out tonight, yeah, We’ll live until we die…’ reminds me that bad times are temporary and that you have to live because life is one time.” — Kat C.

We hope you enjoyed listening to these songs, and that they make your bipolar depressive episode a little less tough to go through. We want you to remember there will be brighter days.

If you are struggling, you can always turn to The Mighty community by posting a Thought or Question with the hashtag #CheckInWithMe. We’re here for you.

And if you need immediate support, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Do you have a song you listen to when you’re in the midst of a bipolar depressive episode that’s not on our list? Feel free to share it with us in the comments.

Originally published: June 4, 2019
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