In 2020, PEW Research found that 13% of U.S. teens have experienced at least one major depressive episode. Unfortunately, I fall into this statistic. Since the beginning of my teen years, I have been combatting depression. Depression looks different on everybody, but for me it manifests in lack of sleep or too much sleep, dissociation, self doubt, and sometimes even a sense of impending doom. This sense of “impending doom” is misunderstood by most people - and I don’t blame them; it does sound a bit silly. For me this sense of impending doom registers as spirals of worrying about the future: if I don’t get out of bed I won’t study, if I don’t study I’ll fail my test, if I fail my test I won’t get into college, if I don’t get into college then…so on and so forth. Symptoms like this can be seriously debilitating, but I have made efforts to fight it (even when it doesn’t seem possible). The easiest first step for me has always been music. Music has always been medicine to me. Music is able to lift me out of my dystopian downward spirals and help place me back on my feet.
Getting intouch with myself and my body has always been my first step of gaining mental energy to heal. Sometimes just putting on a catchy or energetic tune can bring me back down; rolling my shoulders, rotating my ankles, and other small movements bring my attention back to my muscles. Focussing on lyrics and trying to process the meaning can give your brain a creative puzzle to bring your mental energy to. Singing along can help regulate your breathing. Picking a song that brings back a grounding memory can draw your attention away from your current stresses, and regulate your heart rate. Music has the power to do this, it truly does.
I remember one evening I was at a really low point, and I knew I needed to pull myself away from my reality. I got in my car and drove listening to Niall Horan. Being able to have an escape and time to process my thoughts was relieving to say the least. I sang along without anyone’s judgment, and let my heavy emotions wilt away. When I got back home I felt calm, collected, and ready to take on the challenges ahead.
Although tools like this don’t always work, it is always a great starting point. So next time you’re upset, anxious, depressed, or feeling any other strong emotions, put on a song. Any song. Breathe to rhythm, listen to the lyrics, and begin taking your next steps to the future.
Heather Kletzky is a BBG from Rocky Mountain Region and loves to travel!
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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