A few years ago, I was seeing a therapist and at this particular session, we were talking about my commute from work. See, I live about 40 minutes from my job if the traffic is good, but when I am driving in rush hour; my drive can turn into an hour to an hour and a half. No matter what I tried, I just could not get used to that drive. I would get so frustrated being in traffic, hardly moving at all. I felt that it was just a waste of my time and my time is precious. At least to me it is!
She asked me what I listened to on my way home from work. I told her that I would ether talk to my husband on the phone, in which we would vent about work during most of those phone calls. Probably not a good thing when trying to wind down. Or, I would listen to the news or a radio show called “Moon and Stacie,” which I did not like very much. Her question back to me was, “Why do you listen to it if you don’t like it?”
I really did not have an answer for her and for a couple of years I just continued to do the same thing, but I never talked to my therapist about it again. In looking back I guess I felt ashamed, but to this day I don’t know why.
It was during this last winter of 2016/17, when I was going through one of my depressive episodes, when I started to listen to Christian Radio. At first, I would only listen sometimes, but soon I found myself listening more and more. For some reason, this type of music calls to me, it is inspiring and brings me peace.
I found I would catch myself singing and how I love to sing, and before long, I had a few favorite songs that I had downloaded. When I had a particularly rough day, I would turn to these few songs and sing my heart out. I still do! Most of the time, it would be the same song over and over all the way home. Somehow, these songs brought me peace and happiness and when I would get home, I would not even realize how much time had passed. I would even drive a couple of extra blocks when I was in the middle of a song so that I could finish.
There was and still is one particular song that just speaks to my soul. The song is “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns. You see the lyrics in this song are so telling of how I was feeling at the time and even today, when I feel myself taking a step backward I listen to this song.
During my depressive episode, I would constantly worry, cry and was failing to hide my depression as I had all of the other times. I am always depressed but it is so mild most of the time that the only one who knows it is me. This time though I went into a really bad depressive episode, which they call a double depression when you have Dysthymic Disorder. This episode just kind of snuck up on me over many months and before I knew it I felt like my life was collapsing all around me.
After almost losing my job and getting myself back into therapy. I knew that I had to come to terms that I might always suffer with Dysthymia and have these double depression episodes. I had to come clean and be honest with myself in order to start the healing process.
At the time, I felt lost and alone. I felt like I was just not strong enough to live with this disorder any longer. I felt as if I had nothing and no one to turn to. There was no one who could understand what I was going through and the truth is, there is still no one who understands. I sure don’t, so why would anyone else.
All I knew at the time, was that this one song made me feel better, even if just for a short while. I could feel the Universe talking to me through this song, talking control of my emotions and just letting me be who I was really meant to be, even if just for a little while. The feeling was and still is strong enough that I created a painting off of the main chorus.
Music Therapy has been used since the dawn of civilization. The ancient Greeks used Music Therapy in their healing Shrines and would have patients listen to the soft melody of the flutes or dulcimer hymns. Modern Music Therapy gained traction after World War II. Doctors found that patients suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues were better for a time after listening to music.
According to Melanie Kwan, co-author of the study and president of the Association for Music therapy, Singapore,
“Active music engagement allowed the patients to reconnect with the healthy parts of themselves, even in the face of a debilitating condition or disease-related suffering,”
The American Music Therapy Association states,
“Music is a form of sensory stimulation that provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability and feelings of security associated with it.”
“The aim of therapy is to help individuals develop relationships and address issues they may not be able to address using words along.”
Additionally, Music therapy has been shown to help the following:
Using music to heal sound so much like using art to heal, they are just different mediums. I encourage you to go out there and find some music that is inspirational and peaceful for you and just listen. Take a walk in nature, meditate, or just sit and relax. Maybe find that radio station out there that you never thought you would listen to and just listen while your driving in your car. Give yourself a 30-day challenge and see how you feel after.
Please take a few minutes to watch the Official Lyric Video for Oh My Soul, the place I got the inspiration for my painting.
Now and always,