Songs in the key of lyfe

My favourite thing ever might be music….well, not just music, but rather songs. Because lyrics are really important to me. I love language and conveying human emotion and wonderment through it. The way good songs bring music and language together to create something more than the sum of their parts is magical.

There are many many songs that have been important to me on my journey of life. Some have a particular meaning to my illness and recovery journey. I was listening to a song this morning where the singer talks about how all her songs are about one person – the listener. The listener will find whatever comfort they need/want in the song, regardless of what life circumstance the singer was in when they wrote it. I thought that was a point important to make and I thoroughly agree with that.

There’s been a particular song that comes to mind when I think about the last year or so. It was March 2017 when my recovery took its first pre-recovery steps. Before that I had been living in a fog of depression for many years and my life had been chock-a-block with challenging events and circumstances. In March I decided to come off antidepressants. This is not a comment against them, I simply had been on them for so long that feeling anything was a struggle. When I gradually quit, I started to feel everything. The first thing was happiness and excitement. I started to enjoy things again. I had been fairly unmotivated to listen to new music and suddenly I fell in love with it. It was amazing! I started going to gigs again and became particularly passionate about a Finnish band I had discovered some months earlier. I took an impromptu trip to Berlin just to see the first gig on their European tour and saw them at three summer festivals (fourth one missed due to stomach bug, #eternalsadness). They’re called Oranssi Pazuzu and if you like black-post-progressive-psychedelic-avantgarde metal, you’re in for a treat (best band ever!).

Anyway, they have a song called Kevät – Spring. That’s the song I wanted to talk about to illustrate the significance of music. That song became very important to me during the spring-autumn season of 2017. I just listened to it there again and it’s funny how at different times in one’s life a song elicits a different feeling/experience in the listener. The song is fairly harrowing to listen to. The thick wall of sound, the anxiety-inducing black metal vocals, mmm, just my cup of tea!

The most significant thing however are the lyrics. Allow me to badly translate:

‘The whisper of the possessor/devil/tormentor (there is Finnish word that means kind of all of those) in your ears, leads you to the lake. Tied to your back, a sack full of stones.’

I am marveling at this now, how I heard a song that is exactly describing my battle with the tormentor that is ED, before I identified that there was a tormentor. This kind of meta work is why I love my mind – it’s forever trying to help me be better at life through some first unconscious effort that later produces conscious thought and action.

I heard these lyrics in the spring of 2017 and thought ‘This is about my battle with depression. Now that I’ve come out of the fog, this is me going to the lake and throwing the bag into it, bye girl bye.’

When my joie de vivre started turning into massive bouts of anxiety in the summer of 2017, I started to hear the lyrics in a different way. I had decided that what was inside the fog was a tendency to feel and think what would later be diagnosed as BPD, and I had decided that this sack of stones was my burden to carry into the foreseeable future. I remember playing this song in a music therapy group, where one had to bring a song ‘significant to them’ to the first meeting. I explained that I felt I was the person in the song and promptly quit the group due to being too unwell to attend. The group leader emailed with instruction to seek help if I don’t feel better soon. There was no help to seek, but I am glad to say, this post is not written by a ghost but a real person so yay for life!

Cut to 2018 and recovery. Listening to the song again its effect on me is more neutral. It’s like poking at an open wound versus poking a scab. Wounds tend to hurt more. I am scabbing. One day the healing is complete. I am seeing the tormentor, whatever monkey it is on my back, and I am denying it of bananas forever. Heck, I am not bananas anymore (sorry…my sense of humour is so questionable).

It’s interesting to see how I will feel in June when I go see Oranssi Pazuzu again (only Finnish gig of the year so *of course* I am there). Will I feel strong feelings? What feelings will those be? Will the sound guy be on point or rubbish? Will I get vegan hipster kebab and craft beer thrown at me by other members of the audience (festivals….)? I can’t wait to get my questions answered!

Ps. Tomorrow is March 26th – exactly 1 month in recovery. Joy to the world!


IMG_20170702_183058My favourite band OP, at Tuska festival 2017.


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