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45 Songs That Helped People Deal With Depression as Teenagers

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Too often, when a teenager dares to show emotion, the people around them label it.

Angsty. Emo. Dramatic. A phase.

Teenagers get stereotyped a lot for their emotions. Sometimes we can look back on what upset us as teens and realize the fun combination of hormones and high school may have been to blame. Other times, it’s not that simple.

While we all may be able to admit we didn’t always act rationally when we were younger (or hey, even now), that doesn’t negate the fact that what we felt was real and valid. And when we dismiss how teenagers feel because “teens will be teens,” we risk invalidating pain — or even making it worse. In some instances, this has serious consequences.

According to Mental Health America, “each year, almost 5,000 people, ages 15 to 24, kill themselves… making it the third leading cause of death in adolescents and the second leading cause of death among college-age youth.”

Sure, not all teenagers with depression experience suicidal thoughts, and not all teenagers who go through periods of sadness are clinically diagnosed with a mental health condition — but we need to start respecting that a teen’s pain is just as valid as an adult’s. And while it’s important we learn coping mechanisms as we age, we are not required to “grow out” of depression. You’re allowed to struggle as an adult.

In a time of life when adults, or maybe even your peers, didn’t seem to “get you,” many of us relied on music. The right lyric or melody couldn’t “cure” the depression, but they sure as hell could make you feel less alone in your pain.

We asked our Mighty community to share the songs that helped them deal with depression as teenagers. It’s no surprise most said these songs still help them — after all, growing up doesn’t make the hard stuff go away (if anything, it’s the opposite).

We hope this playlist reaches you when you need it.

1. “Scars” by Papa Roach

“The lyrics are exactly how I felt every day. This song even 20 years later is true; the scars remain in my heart, mind and skin.” — Erin J.

2. “Welcome to My Life” by Simple Plan

“It was like it stole the words from my mouth. ‘Til this day, I use that song to describe how it feels like to walk in my shoes and to battle depression day in, day out.” — Sam B.

3. “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera

Editor’s note: This video contains graphic images that may be triggering if you are dealing with an eating disorder or in recovery.

“This song keeps me believe that no matter how hard they tried to bring me down, I will always stay strong. And I am enough.” — Bunga R.

4. “Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance

“This will probably sound super stereotypical of a former emo kid but pretty much any song by My Chemical Romance… A bit odd but I love sad songs with deep meanings when I’m depressed.” — Mikayla H.

5. “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses

“To most, it is a song about unrequited love, but to me, the lyrics gave me hope.” — Cait G.

6. “Hold On” by Good Charlotte

“It was my go-to all through middle and high school when I felt like I was at the end of my rope. It got me through.” — James T.

7. “The Messenger” by Linkin Park

Submitted by Adeena A.

8. “When It Rains” by Paramore

“Paramore has always been a band I connected with over the years, especially when it came to my mental health and emotional state. Hayley, the lead singer, and I are the same age and I always felt like she was going through the same things as me, even now. Their albums will always be ones I remember and go back to.” — Whitney F.

9. “The Last Night” by Skillet

 “I didn’t feel quite so alone when I’d listen to it. The lyrics would help more than I ever realized then.” — Hailey M.

10. “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve

“[This song] always resonated with me as a teenager. ‘Bittersweet symphony, this life… I’m a million different people from one day to the next…’” — Shannon R.

11. “Therapy” by All Time Low

Submitted by Erica K.

12. “I’m Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance

“It honestly got me in the mindset of being OK with my mental health and not lying as much about what was going on. I was really into their music as a whole and how open Gerard Way was with his problems and how he moved passed them. It was inspiring. If he could be this amazing human and move passed everything, why can’t I?” — Shelby G.

13. “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin

 “A good reminder for when things get tough. A song filled with hope, even when things seem bleak. Always will be my ‘go-to feel better’ song.” — Tayler S.

14. “Bennie and the Jets” by Elton John

“That one song alone made me feel so loved and secure, I was able to get through the days knowing I would be OK. As I got older, I listened to more and more Elton John. I love his music. His melodies to his music feel like they sync with my soul. When I first heard that song, I thought, ‘Wow. So this… this is what my soul sounds like.’” — Sarah G.

15. “Survive” by Rise Against

Submitted by Jessie W.

16. “Fix You” by Coldplay

Submitted by Julia L.

17. “Breaking the Habit” by Linkin Park

Submitted by Krista H.

18. “The Reason” by Hoobastank

“That song was so deep and emotional. It always made me cry, which was (and still is) a great burden reliever.” — Kiera S.

19. “Breathe” by Telepopmusik

“The lyrics can be interpreted in many ways, but it always calmed me down. Helped me through my dark days of depression and anxiety. Reminded me to ‘just breathe.’ The feel of the song, lyrics, music, is all very calming. It still helps me to this day.” — Amber B.

20. “Flares” by The Script

“It lets me know I’m not alone and that someone does see my cries for help. “ — Katherine C.

21. “Lullaby” by Nickelback

“On my worst days, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone and reminded me there are people out there that care and want me around.” — Jackie S.

22. “I Love Myself Today” by Bif Naked

“Became my mantra despite not believing in it fully. Trying to trick my brain into believing it. Plus the edgy and upbeat [feel] of it made me feel stronger and a wee bit happier even for a fleeting moment.” — Samantha E.

23. “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson

“I played it over and over again to remind myself I would make it out of the small town I was living in and life would get better.” — Robyn L.

24. “Perfect” by P!nk

“It always reminded me I’m perfect just the way I am. It spoke out to me. If it wasn’t for that song, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to keep going with life.” — Dee V.

25. “When September Ends” by Green Day

“[This song] helped me get through Katrina and the aftermath.” — Liz B.

26. “Down on the World Again” by Social Distortion

“Not because it helped me feel better, but because it helped me realize I wasn’t alone. It put everything I was feeling into words — I was pretty angry that no one would take my illness seriously at the time.” — Hilary E.

27. “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

“Reminded me that there was someone there, physically or watching over me.” — Sara T.

28. “Rising, Rising (Cataclasm)” by Crywolf

“This song reminds me it’s OK to ask for help from friend sometimes if I’m feeling depressed and that I’m never truly alone. The lyrics really resonate with me, and I hope they can help others, too.” — Alanah J.

29. “A Better Place, A Better Time” by Streetlight Manifesto

Submitted by Jeanine B.

30. “Are You Sad” by Our Lady Peace

“While I didn’t know it at the time, the lyrics are about the struggle of helping someone who is in a dark period, and how difficult it can be to help this person at that moment. It’s a song I would play on repeat, clear my mind, and remind me while it may not always seem like it, someone cares.” — Christine M.

31. “Self Conclusion” by The Spill Canvas

Submitted by Destiny P.

32. “Tidal Wave” by Owl City

“Its about being depressed and feeling hopeless but still holding out for the little bit of light.” — Skylar T.

33. “Replica” by Sonata Arctica

“Part of the chorus is ‘empty shell inside of me, I’m not myself, I’m a replica,” which I think pretty much describes the state of depression where you are aware you are not yourself but you still look the same to the others. Good song.” — Pablo P.

34. “Ain’t No Grave” — Johnny Cash

Submitted by Joshua W.

35. “Missing You” by All Time Low

“I was ready to end it all, and then it started playing and I just listened to the words and I thought to myself that I’ll be missing out on good things in life and people will be missing me.” — Dani H.

36. “Losing Touch” by The Killers

Submitted by Sam C.

37. “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind

Submitted by Colleen B.

38. “Pain” by Three Days Grace

“Most songs by them actually. They made me feel like I wasn’t alone with all I had been through.” — Ashley L.

39. “Opposite” by Biffy Clyro

“A song about loneliness, rejection and putting others before yourself…” — Elliott M.

40. “Unsinkable” by Lucy Spraggon

“When my grandad died, I was 15 and [I] struggled with it. [It] impacted my mental health. I isolated myself with music and this was the song that stuck.” — Marcus M.

41. “Schism” by Tool

“Even though it can come across as dark music, the melodic aspects of it always helped to calm me down. Not to mention Maynard’s voice!” — Lee K.

42. “Unbound (The Wild Ride)” by Avenged Sevenfold

Submitted by William C.

43. “The Passenger” by Michael Hutchence

“Off the ‘Batman Forever’ soundtrack. That album helped me a lot while I was a teenager.” — Eddie H.

44. “Make a Move” by Icon For Hire

“The lyrics really helped me get through my darkest days.” — Aaron D.

45. “The World Spins Madly On” by The Weepies

“I’d been struggling and in a dark place. The world felt heavy on my shoulders and most days I forced myself to get out of bed. I did keep going though because… the world keeps spinning. Holding on to the darkness didn’t stop that from happening. It just stopped me from living my life. A decade later and I still need this reminder sometimes.” — Samantha S.

What songs helped you when you were teenager? Let us know in the comments below.

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

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.

What song would you add?

Originally published: September 25, 2017
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