Recently, my mental health has been dreadful. My depression and anxiety are laughing at me, mocking me, and emerging victorious from every single battle. I’ve currently had more breakdowns than I can count. My eyes are swollen, puffy, and red from days and nights of crying. My head hurts. I’ve felt broken, alone, drained, defeated, and so unbearably sad. Through tears, I screamed and screamed and screamed until I was numb. Then, I wiped my eyes, took a deep breath, and put my headphones in.
You wouldn’t believe the power of music. You wouldn’t believe the potential music has to make you feel better, to make you feel seen, to make you feel understood.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, I’ve put together some songs you should listen to. Special thanks to my friend Sam; without her, I wouldn’t have discovered many of these helpful songs:
Anxiety – Julia Michaels ft. Selena Gomez
This song is one I’ve had on repeat for the past four days. It is one of the most relatable songs ever written. If you’re looking for a song that speaks to your struggles and your soul, this song is it. Also, I love the melody and beat of this song and the fact that Julia and Selena’s voices mesh so well.
With lyrics such as, “My friends, they wanna take me to the movies, I tell ’em to fuck off, I’m holding hands with my depression. And right when I think I’ve overcome it, anxiety starts kicking in to teach that shit a lesson…” you’ll feel seen after listening to this song.
You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead of You Baby – IDER
This song is perfect if your poor mental health day is caused by worrying about where you should be in life. It is a dose of support and reassurance, and you’ll feel so much better after listening to it. IDER tells you that you’re right where you’re supposed to be… “don’t worry, don’t stress- do your best.”
Reasons Not To Die (Demo) – Ryn Weaver
If you’re battling depression and finding the battle particularly difficult, you should listen to this song. Ryn speaks to those who have been on the brink of suicide. It is extremely raw and real. This masterpiece makes you realize that you have friends who will support you through your entire battle: “And I get so stuck in my head, lost in all the lies, nihilistic backslide… and when I can’t get out of bed, and I see the edge I’m slipping from the ledge… and praying to gods I don’t believe in for a sign, some reasons not to die, and there you are.”
Rainbow – Kesha
This song is one to listen to if you need encouragement during your poor mental health day. Kesha reassures you and helps you believe that you can get through your struggles. She also sends a message that it’s important to forgive oneself for mistakes in life.
Sister Golden Hair – America
This song came out in 1975, so it has the melody, beat, and vibe of that era. I first discovered it in one of my favourite movies, Miss Stevens. It’s a perfect song during poor mental health days because it just makes you smile. What can be better than that?
Hurt Too – Katie Herzig
I discovered this song thanks to my sister. Also, it has guided me through some difficult times. It’s a song that has the ability to relax listeners and let you know that you’re not alone.
Happiness is a butterfly – Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey’s latest album, Norman Fucking Rockwell is incredible. This song is one that calms me down when I’m finding it difficult to cope with life. I turn it on, close my eyes, and simply listen to Lana’s soothing voice.
Good Cry – Noah Cyrus
Similar to Julia Michaels’ Anxiety, Good Cry is super relatable. Noah sings about complex, negative emotions and how sometimes we just need a good cry to get through it. I’ve had this song on repeat lately.
Drew Barrymore- SZA
SZA’s Ctrl album is perfection. The beat, melody, and lyrics to Drew Barrymore definitely make it a song to listen to when you’re having a poor mental health day: “I get so lonely, I forget what I’m worth…” SZA’s voice is that of an angel, and she incorporates soothing instrumental music into this song.
6/10 – Dodie
I can’t say enough about this song. The first time I heard it, it made me cry because of how relatable it is. It’s a calming song, and Dodie’s voice is so gentle, honest, and raw. Just listen to the lyrics and you’ll feel understood:
“I feel like a six out of ten
I’ve gotta get up early tomorrow again. What goes on behind the words?
Is there pity for the plain girl?
Can you see the panic inside?
I’m making you uneasy, aren’t I? What goes on behind the words?
Is there pity for the plain girl?
I’ll close my mouth, I won’t say a word
A nod of pity for the plain girl…”
Liability – Lorde
I’ve always been obsessed with Lorde since she began her career in 2013. This song is perfect for poor mental health days. It’s a piano ballad and Lorde’s vocals come across as soft, gentle, and bare. The entire song is a journey from being broken to realizing you cannot give in to despair. “They’re gonna watch me disappear into the sun.” Lorde finds the light, and so can we.
Stay Tru – Mereba
Mereba’s voice is so unique. Her songs, such as Stay Tru, is a combination of R&B and folk. The beat, melody, and harmonies in Stay Tru are comforting to listeners. You’ll definitely feel it. Also, the lyrics: “See Iʼm hella hip this time. Ainʼt going down with no ship this time” is encouraging for anyone who may be struggling. We’re not gonna give up or give in. We’re going to keep going, and we’re going to be true to ourselves.