“SAD SONGS SAY SO MUCH”: MARCH IS MUSIC THERAPY MONTH

My wedding May 21, 1995

Music can help to de-stress us during difficult situations, it can help lift our mood, it can help ground us and it can help take us away to another dimension. 

Music is an expression of our inner selves and deep emotions. It can be extemely mezmerizing and powerful, it can help build connections and it can help release our creativity onto the world. 

Music therapy has been around for centuries but it was only during WW1 when it was first realized just how powerful music can be to help suffering war veterans. It has since proven through many studies that people, both young and old alike, who may be battling a disability, cancer, alzheimer or a mental health disorder like depression, anxiety or PTSD are better able to express themselves when having difficulty communicating through their words to instead communicate through music.

My grandfather was a very talented musician in his time and a prime example of how music helped him to communicate and make connections with others through his music which included his own family. He performed in an Orchestra most of his life. He played the trumpet and violin. He’d practice for hours every day and whenever I heard him practicing behind closed doors I felt a sense of comfort and ease come over me. 

Several years ago my Doctor suggested that I try music therapy as a form of treatment for my depression and anxiety. Here’s the problem though; listening to music can often trigger feelings of sadness and anxiety in me. You will never catch me listening to music while I’m driving for that reason. 

However, when I’m in a really overwhelming headspace (like I’ve been all week) I find myself scrolling through my playlist or on youtube to find the most nostalgic songs to listen to or songs with the pure intention of triggering emotions in me that are sure to lead me to tears. This has ironically become a great coping mechanism for me. 

I usually start by choosing a nostalgic song which then leads to another and then another after that until my mood actually begins to lift and the tears slowly subside. Elton John probably said it best in his hit song “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” 

“Sad songs they say soooo much. So turn em on, turn em on, turn on those sad songs. When every little bit of hope is gone why don’t you tune in and turn them on.” 

Sad songs as I mentioned above can trigger some really great memories and nostalgia from my past (think of your first slow dance with your schoolboy crush) which does help boost my mood. Sad songs, which is an art all to itself can also feel deeply relatable and can give someone a sense of belonging. Sad songs often exemplify beauty, make us feel less alone, exude empathy, channel our emotions and build a sense of connection. 

Jacob and my grandfather

I guess listening to sad songs is my musical therapy, but while driving, which is one of my most dreaded activities, is still probably not the best time or place for me to release such deep emotions. It’s more than okay though to feel sad and if listening to 10 sad songs in a row helps you release your sadness or ease some of your anxiety then go right ahead and try it! I only wish I had more performances I could listen to of my grandfather belting out his tunes on his trumpet to add to my playlist (the last time I heard him play live was at my wedding almost 27 years ago). It always brought me so much comfort. 

https://youtu.be/X23v5_K7cXk ~Elton John: Sad Songs (Say So Much)

#musicaltherapy #musictherapymonth #sadsongs #comfort #nostalgia #memories #thepowerofmusic #connections #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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