JH music

When I am anxious or experiencing a panic attack, I have to distract my mind. One of the better ways to do so at work or in the car is by listening to music. Breathing exercises are important too of course, but I do find listening to music to be very effective.

A very long time ago, I made myself a “Feel Better Mix” in iTunes. I still listen to this playlist when I feel out of sorts, anxious or upset. I made this list a few years before my bipolar diagnosis, but if I were to create a “feel better” play list today,  I would probably include the same songs on it. The songs remind me of different parts of my life, good and bad. Some songs have very dark lyrics, but for whatever reason, I took comfort and continue to take comfort in these lyrics.

This is what’s on my playlist:

  • 1979 – Smashing Pumpkins
  • Mad World – Gary Jules cover
  • Heart of Gold- Neil Young
  • Simple Man- Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town- Pearl Jam
  • Behind Blue Eyes- The Who
  • The Scientist- Coldplay
  • November Rain- Guns N’ Roses
  • Wild Horses- The Rolling Stones
  • Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of – U2
  • Brick- Ben Folds Five
  • The Youth- MGMT
  • Everybody Hurts- R.E.M.
  • Hard Sun- Eddie Vedder
  • Fake Plastic Trees- Radiohead
  • How To Be Dead – Snow Patrol

One song, not on my playlist, that has always resonated with me is “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree. This song has great lyrics:

“Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may ’cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don’t be ashamed to cry

You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

Herald what your mother said
Read the books your father read
Try to solve the puzzles in your own sweet time
Some may have more cash than you
Others take a different view
My oh my, yea, eh, eh

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

Time ask no questions, it goes on without you
Leaving you behind if you can’t stand the pace
The world keeps on spinning
Can’t stop it, if you tried to
This best part is danger staring you in the face

Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
My oh my, eh, eh, eh

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day”

I have loved this song since I was 10 or so. I hadn’t heard it in a long time, and one day I was listening to the radio at work and it came on and I just smiled, thinking of how this song made me feel. Funny how songs, like certain memories, stick with you.

BM music

About Melanie Luxenberg

My name is Melanie Luxenberg and I am finally ready to live openly with mental illness. I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2003, which I still experience. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (which I also still experience), and then briefly experienced Agoraphobia. I have had depression on and off since I was 13 years old. In July 2010 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Shortly after it was realized that I experienced rapid cycling. I can experience multiple cycles in a week. Despite my diagnosis, I completed a university degree and then a college program. I have always held stable employment, regularly taken my medication and regularly attended my doctor’s appointments. There have been times of hopelessness, but I have always found support from my family, husband and 3 dogs. I am a law clerk, social media/content writer and of course, mental health advocate. My Twitter feed is full of mental health advocacy messages. I hope one day to see the end of stigma towards mental illness, because stigma has to stop!

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