an introduction to the through

The first time I felt depressed was after I listened to My Chemical Romance’s “I Don’t Love You.” I became fully aware of an unexplainable ache. I was twelve.

Since, music and my mental health have been inextricably linked. Hell, all my experiences are linked to and processed through music. I know I’m not the only one, but these ties are still not talked about openly. So I’m creating the only sound to do that. Because if you don’t see it, create it.

Welcome.

The only sound is the place where I’ll be giving some representation to the things we don’t talk about when we talk about music. It’s nothing formal, and I’ll work out the kinks on the way. There will be a post with a playlist on Sunday, at the least. Go check out the why behind this.

Before continuing, three things need to be made clear:

1. Talking about mental health and underrepresented experiences isn’t a trend. The increased awareness can give a false sense of security that all of the problems surrounding mental health (and other social justice issues) have faded away. It is now ~ politically correct ~ to mention the importance of mental health.  But, the issues that have faced mental health are definitely still prevalent, and that coolness/politically correctness….yeah, living a life that places importance on mental health is an active process. It’s taken a lot of work to get to where we are by having conversations, and we still have to keep it up. Addressing the importance of self-care on a surface level doesn’t hurt, but it takes active work to not let a cause slip away and go backwards.

2. Talking about mental health isn’t always oversharing. I believe in boundaries in communication. However, we can’t have productive conversations about mental health without getting vulnerable about personal experience. That can be uncomfortable for both speaker and listener. Believing someone is oversharing when they mention their mental health especially when they’re using it to make a point and bring the cause to light – can be a covert way of  shaming the other person and implicit bias. So ask yourself what your beliefs about mental health are before you label someone as oversharing.

3. I am not a medical professional and cannot give medical advice. My degree is in Journalism and Doing A Lot of Therapy. My thoughts and advice come from my own mental health journey, consuming music, lots of reading, and a shit ton of listening. Despite how hard I’ll try covering my bases, I won’t get it all perfectly so give me grace.

That being said, back to My Chem. It’s a fair argument to make that everyone gets depressed when they listen to The Black Parade. But, again, I was twelve and had nothing to pin this song or sadness to. I listened to it on repeat. I felt like pure shit every time, but it was some kind of release. Sadness that sat under my diaphragm felt like it was being surgically removed from my body while I was still awake.

14 years and a major depressive diagnosis later, I thank whatever-you-believe-in that song gave me the ability to feel as low as I did. Looking back, it helped me identify a part of me that I would need to stay aware of to stay alive.

There are songs like this for everyone who have had to become aware of their mental health and/or illnesses. A misconception is that these songs have to be particularly sad, ~emo~, and/or be about mental health to make someone increase their level of feeling and consciousness of what’s going on in their head/body. The intensity of a Cher song can do it for me.

It’ll sound masochistic, but I encourage you to go back or to find songs that you can connect to your mental illness, feelings and thoughts and sit in it. This is a good place to begin the only sound with because we can’t represent ourselves in music without noticing what knowing what we’re feeling in music. Plus, the only way to get better is through. And I believe music is one of the best throughs we have.

This week’s playlist is a list of songs that myself and others have tied to mental illness and brought out all the capital Big Emotions.

Thanks for reading and sticking through. I’m excited.

shealyn.

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