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My Depression Playlist: What I Wish Could Be Said

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For most of my life, music has been a coping mechanism. The sounds often soothe me, and the lyrics frequently give me the words to say what I’m feeling when I can’t articulate it myself. Sometimes the lyrics are what I need to hear, or what I wish someone would tell me. Music is like a friend, or a shoulder to cry on, or a hug on a bad day.

Over my many years of having depression, I’ve found songs along the way with words that help me immensely. These are those songs.

What I Wish I Could Say / What I Feel

These songs (and specific lyrics) are things I feel, or wish I could say about my depression.

1.”Three” by Sleeping At Last

Lyrics: “Maybe I’ve done enough / Finally catching up / For the first time I see an image of my brokenness / Utterly worthy of love.”

I don’t always feel like I’ve done enough, or like I am enough, but I hope that someday I’ll start to believe I’m worthy of love even while broken.

2. “Flags” by SYML

Lyrics: “I’m hurt, I’m hurt you didn’t know / That there’s no pretty way to tell you so / I’m tired, so tired I’m letting go” and “I’m hurt, not hurt enough to die / See I was born to raise, born to fight / I’m tired, not tired enough to sleep / So, devil on my chest, don’t sing with me / Take my breath, let me be.”

Sometimes I wish I could just tell the people in my life how much I’m hurting. It’s hard to talk about, and something as simple as “I’m hurt” is impossible to say.

3. “Float On” by Modest Mouse

Lyrics: “Well, we’ll float on, good news is on the way.”

4. “Lost” by Kodaline

Lyrics: “Take me away make it all better / If not for a day then maybe forever / Is it all in my head cause it’s getting harder.”

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

Lyrics: “I woke up and wished that I was dead.”

I feel like I can’t say this out loud, because it seems so harsh, but it’s something I experience often, and I wish it was OK to be honest about how depression makes me feel.

What I Wish I Could Hear

The lyrics in these songs are what I need to hear on a bad day from a friend or loved one, but can’t always have them say it to me.

1. “Alone With Me” by Vance Joy

Lyrics: “Everything’s good / Everything’s just as it should be.”

Now, I hate being told things are OK when they’re not by a friend, but this feels very reassuring to me. I listen to this when I’m really anxious, and repeat “everything’s good.”

2. “Look After You” by Aron Wright

Lyrics: “When you think you’re all alone / I’ll wrap you up and I’ll take you home / No matter what you’re going through / I will look after you.”

Every line of this song is like a hug. Sometimes we just need someone to take care of us, and depression makes it hard to believe anyone is there for me.

3. “Stay Alive” by Jose Gonzalez

Lyrics: “I will stay with you tonight / Hold you close ’til the morning light / In the morning watch a new day rise / We’ll do whatever just to stay alive.”

Staying alive is hard work with depression, and it gets really lonely. Night time is always the worst, and on bad nights I listen to this and imagine I’m being held close.

4. “Don’t Give Up” by Foreign Fields

Lyrics: “Don’t give up / I have been there when you fall apart / Don’t give up / I have seen you crawl back to the start.”

5. “Fix You” by Coldplay

Lyrics: “I will try to fix you.”

Depression has broken me in more ways than I can describe, and while I don’t think I need to be “fixed,” I hear it more as trying to help me or put me back together again.

6. “Open Up” by Matt Simons

Lyrics: “What can I do / To build that bridge to find you? / I don’t know what to say / Come on and open up, open up my love / Why don’t you tell me what’s really on your mind?”

Opening up is hard, especially when I feel ashamed about my depression. It’s so nice when someone truly wants me to let them in, and encourages me in a safe way.

7. “You Are Loved” by Matthew Mole

Lyrics: “You are loved / You are loved / And nothing’s gonna change that I will / Love you ’til we’re old and grey / And I’ll love you when we’re young.”

Depression convinces me I’m unloveable, and that no one loves me. I need reassurance that I am loved by my friends especially, because their love never feels guaranteed.

8. “Dim” by SYML

Lyrics: “The world got a little more dim tonight.”

This song is special in a different way for me. It came out shortly after someone I knew died by suicide, and I truly felt the world was dimmer. The EP this was on was all about grief, and on the days I’m feeling more suicidal, I imagine my friends feeling this way if something happened to me, and it helps me hold on for them.

9. “Two” by Sleeping At Last

Lyrics: “Tell me, is something wrong? / If something’s wrong, you can count on me…It’s OK if you can’t find the words / Let me take your coat / And this weight off of your shoulders.”

10. “For The Widows In Paradise” by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics: “If there’s anything to say / If there’s anything to do / If there’s any other way / I’ll do anything for you.”

These songs make me feel less alone in an experience that is inherently isolating and lonely, and sometimes we can’t hear the words we need from the people we need to hear them from, or we can’t say what we truly feel out loud. In those moments, I’m grateful that songs can help fill that gap.

Does someone in your life need to hear one of these songs? Can you send it to them? What lyrics help you when you’re at your worst?

I hope that if there’s something you want to say, that you’re able to say it, and I hope that if there’s something you need to hear, that you hear it. And if that’s not possible, I hope there’s a song that can say it for you.

Getty image by Tim Robberts

Originally published: June 24, 2022
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