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Listening to music can certainly serve as a form of therapy; in fact, music therapy is a form of therapy, though less conventional and not as widely used as some others. However, the simple fact is that music can provide us with some comfort, even when nothing else can. This especially rings true when it feels like the music gets us, that whoever wrote the song somehow peered into our souls and knew exactly how it felt to be depressed, or have anxiety, or whatever mental illness may be curling up inside of us. Here are 5 songs that accomplish this, that shine some light on mental illness and make those affected by it feel like they’re finally not alone:

1) “Amsterdam” by Coldplay

The narrator in this song appears to show signs of depression. The individual clearly feels hopeless, but does not want anyone to be too worried about it, “no, it’s no cause for concern”. However, these feelings lead the individual to consider suicide, as he is on the very edge when someone comes along and saves him. This song illustrates how one with depression might feel, and also reminds them that there is someone out there who cares, someone who wants to help them off the ledge.

“Come on, oh my star is fading.
And I see no chance of release,
And I know I’m dead on the surface,
But I am screaming underneath.

And time is on your side
Is on your side, It’s on your side now
Not pushing you down, and all around
No it’s no cause for concern

Stuck on the end of this ball and chain,
And I’m on my way back down again.
Stood on a bridge, tied to the noose,
Sick to the stomach.
You can say what you mean,
But it won’t change a thing.
I’m sick of the secrets.
Stood on the edge, tied to the noose.

You came along and you cut me loose.”

2) “After the Storm” by Mumford & Sons

After the Storm is all about surviving and persevering through mental illness. The character in the song experiences difficult times, and at times feels “out of luck”. But he keeps pushing and declares that he won’t allow his mind or heart to rot. Instead, he acknowledges that in order to appreciate the good times, you must also experience the bad. He remains optimistic about the future and pushes on.

“And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
On my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won’t rot, I won’t rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won’t rot.”

3) “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers

This song is all about realizing people with mental illness aren’t so different from the rest of us. They may have problems that we can’t understand, but they’re nonetheless human: they care, they have feelings, they love life. They’re just constantly fighting a battle many of us will never catch a glimpse of.

“If you can hold on, hold on.
I want to stand up, I want to let go.
You know, you know – no you don’t, you don’t.
I want to shine on in the hearts of men,
I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand.

Another head aches, another heart breaks.
I am so much older than I can take.
And my affection, well it comes and goes.
I need direction to perfection, no no no no.

Help me out.
Yeah, you know you got to help me out.”

4) “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty

Much like the character in “Amsterdam” by Coldplay, this song’s narrator shares signs of depression. He spends much of his time cooped up inside alone and recognizes that he isn’t crazy, but certainly “a little unwell”. He also shows signs of another possible mental illness, such as schizophrenia—he talks to himself, hears voices, and befriends the shadows in his room. However, the character remains hopeful that the following days will bring something good.

“All day staring at the ceiling,
Making friends with shadows on my wall.
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something.

Hold on,
Feeling like I’m headed for a breakdown.
And I don’t know why.

But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell.
I know right now you can’t tell,
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me.”

5) “Breathe Me” by Sia

This song can explain how it feels to be absolutely hopeless and to need help. The character in this song realizes that they have a problem and that they need help. So, they bravely open up about their self neglect and reach out for help.

“Ouch, I have lost myself again,
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found.
Yeah, I think that I might break,
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe.

Be my friend, hold me,
Wrap me up, unfold me.
I am small, I’m needy,
Warm me up and breathe me.”

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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