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In Life With Schizoaffective Disorder, Music Is My Saving Grace

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My name is Toby and I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2009. Everything in my life changed. I changed. My family changed, and the people around me changed. I thought my world was going to come crumbling down around me. Yet, then I remembered one thing that hadn’t changed: my love for music, all kinds of music. I still had music.

Bob Marley said that one of the good things about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain. That has to be the most true statement I have ever heard. Music has been my saving grace.

I’m not just a country fan or just a rock fan. I love all types of music. Rap, reggae, trap, rock, country, gospel, classical, jazz and blues. You name it, and I probably listen to it.

For me, music is my escape. The voices in my head have been really bad at times. At other times, not so much, but when I put my headphones on they can’t consume my life. When my headphones turn on and those sweet, sweet melodies come through the little speakers surrounding my ears, I’m free. The voices are gone. Everything is just the way it should be.

Music to me is a way of going to a place you can’t get to by car or plane. It’s a place so beautiful and peaceful you almost can’t believe it exists. It’s a place where the voices can’t yell and berate you. It’s magical!

You can only get there if you are a true believer. Believer of what you ask? You have to believe you can do something to help yourself. You have to believe it could possibly be as simple as sitting down in the middle of your room and playing your favorite song as loud as your speakers will allow.

Now, this may not work for everyone, but it is worth a shot. What if it does work? What if it takes you to that special place where your illness can’t hurt you, even if just for a little bit? For me, music is one of the greatest forms of therapy. It has helped me through some difficult times.

When I listen to music, it’s personal and powerful. If I can relate to the lyrics in the song, then it gets emotional. I can’t count the times I have been listening to a song, and I hear the lyrics and am overcome by emotion to the point I actually start to cry.

Someone understands me I think. Someone else knows the struggles, and that is an amazing feeling. Sometimes, music can be physical. Have you ever listened to a song and it just takes your breath away? Yeah, it’s pretty powerful stuff.

Everything I said in this post is my experience. It may not be the same for everyone. I’m just conveying what has worked for me, and some of you know what I’m saying. Some of you have experienced the true power of music. I just hope this helped one person escape the pain of this illness.

Image via Thinkstock.
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Originally published: October 20, 2016
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