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20 Songs to Add to Your Playlist If Sad Music Helps You Cope With Depression

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“When all hope is gone, sad songs say so much.”

So sang Elton John, and perhaps you can also relate. While many find it helpful to indulge in catchy, upbeat music when in the depths of depression, the same can’t be said for everybody. For some, nothing helps alleviate the fog better than finding companionship in the music of those who have been there before.

If you find solace in sad music when you’re struggling with depression, then read on. We asked our mental health community which sad songs they listen to when they’re depressed, and why those songs help them. Give them a listen below, and be sure to pay attention to how the music affects you. While sad music can help some, be conscious of any negative effects it has on your emotional state.

1. “Fix You” by Coldplay

”I can listen to it on repeat for hours. It is sad, but I also find it invigorating and it gives me hope.” — Samantha L.

2. “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman

It’s empowering to me because it validates that yes, I feel broken and at the same it’s OK to accept me for who I am. I am brave and I am bruised — two opposites at the same time, like dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) has taught me.” — Amie F.

3. “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd

“The first time I can remember being depressed was when I was about 13. My mom was a Pink Floyd fan, and she has some of their cassette tapes. I would listen to them all night to help me sleep.” — Callie D.

4. The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed

“I just connect with music and so much of the music I loved growing up is so relatable. It makes me feel like I’m not alone. It’s like pushing the reset button.” Sara P.

5. “I Am A Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel

“This is my absolute favorite. It’s a sad song but it helps to describe the feeling of loneliness and hopelessness in a beautifully positive way.” — Antasia H.

6. “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood

“I listen to sad songs to evoke emotion because otherwise I sometimes have a hard time getting myself to cry, and I know it is cathartic for me. My go-to songs are usually sad because I relate to them personally. Another of my favorites is ‘Tied Together with a Smile’ by Taylor Swift.” — Jenna M.

7. “I Went Down to Georgia” by Lost Dog Street Band

“They help me have a cry and just get all the stress and emotion out. There’s a lot of depth to the lyrics too, I find I can relate. Sometimes it’s good to embrace your sadness, feel it and allow it to move on.” — Eithne R.

8. “Give Me Novacaine” by Green Day

“It’s a song that reminds me that thing are just temporarily overwhelming and I’m not gonna feel like this forever. It’s also a song I can cry to since I’m not comfortable crying in front of other people.” — Rachel M.

9. “Lucky” by Radiohead

“That song pulled me away from the brink once, particularly the lyrics, ‘It’s gonna be a glorious day, I feel my luck could change.’ It helped me to see that tomorrow was another day and I could see it if I just held on a bit longer.” — Jade F.

10. “America” by Simon & Garfunkel

“The line as he’s traveling through the country when he turns to his sleeping friend and says, ‘I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why,’ is always so relevant to me. Because even with a mental illness, you don’t truly know why you are empty and aching all the time- medicated or not, deep within, you always just are. It’s a loneliness only those of us who are burdened with it know, and I think the overtones of that song and that line describe it perfectly. That song is very comforting to me, just feeling like I am not the only one who feels that way- that another human being truly gets what that feeling is like and how painful it is. That song has been a comfort to me since I was 19 years old, and still is, 21 years later.” — Jen S.

11. “I Don’t Care” by Apocalyptica feat. Adam Gontier

“The lyrics and instruments just really hit deep. It’s been my song since I was in middle school. It helps me pour all my emotions out. I tend to listen to heavier music, especially when I’m vulnerable and over-emotional. Sometimes having lyrics to scream is better than lyrics you sing.” — Dawn M.

12. “Floodplain” by Sara Groves

“’Some hearts are built on the floodplain / Keeping an eye on the sky for rain … And it’s easy to sigh on a high bluff / Will you have the sense to come on up / Or will you stay closer?’

She found such a perfect metaphor for life with depression. The music is calming and helps to bring me back to a better place.” — Carrie K.

13. “Lullaby” by Nickleback

“’Well everybody’s hit the bottom / And everybody’s been forgotten / Well everybody’s tired of being alone / Yeah everybody’s been abandoned / And left a little empty handed.’

I listen to this song because it reminds me I’m not alone.” — Alexis D.

14. “Drifting” by 4 Non Blondes.

“It just has a beautiful chord progression that evokes a lot of emotion and lyrics that really feel true and honest to what depression is.” — Laura G.

15. “Always” by Killswitch Engage

“It’s actually a song about depression as are many of their albums due to the singer’s experience. Many of the band’s songs helped me chase off the black dog, as well as cope with the black dog at its worst.” — Jason R.

16. “No Surprises” by Radiohead

“I cried my eyes out when they played this song live two years ago. It’s a great reminder of what I am still capable of doing.” — Andrea V.

17. “Hit the Switch” by Bright Eyes

“It makes me feel like I’m not a ‘freak’ for completely disassociating from the people I care about. I need to know that other people feel similar lows and sometimes react in the ways I do.” — Jane C.

18. “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men

“This song always calms me down, even if it is sad. I just always think of the conversations that are sung in song. Whenever I feel like the girl in the story, what the guy says just brings me to tears. Maybe the house is telling me to sleep, and maybe I do miss the little talks with the person in my head.” — Rita L.

19. “Smile Like You Mean It” by The Killers

“It’s such a melancholy song but makes me feel happy and sad at the same time. It reminds me to fake happy because more often than not, when I’m faking being happy, I end up becoming happy.” — Chelsea G.

20. “Truce” by Twenty One Pilots

“It’s not a very well-known song, so often when people ask what I listen to when I’m upset, they don’t judge. It really makes me feel like Tyler, the lead singer, is talking to me, listening.” — Shayna K.

Do you have a song you would want to add? 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 reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Originally published: May 15, 2018
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