Oh My Ears Are Burning: Depression Music! or Opposite Action

If you aren’t familiar with depression, you might have missed out on the last three decades of pop culture. It’s kind of a thing from Morissey to Nirvana to somebody more recent I might not know as well. Maybe Justin Bieber? It would explain a lot.

I liken depression to a constant very thick head cold in which everything feels blurry, distant, and kind of not worth it. Or maybe I liken depression to overdosing on Benadryl in response to having a head cold. Or maybe I liken depression to being lichen.

It is an always changing always morphing attack on the psyche and it seriously messes with my productivity most days. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t impact everything I either do or don’t do in some way, from my writing to my music to how often I go grocery shopping to how many hours I logged playing Dead Pixels today (hint: more than I planned to).

One of the things that helps me is depression music. Specifically, music that bugs my depression.

When I was a teenager and I felt sad, I rocked out to sad music. Long ominous slow songs filled my room as I lay in bed and wrote poetry (or pretended to be writing poetry while eating crackers). Depression likes this music so it joins me and like has tea or something.

Instead, I now play happy music. Fiendish music. It still has to be music I like but music that has the opposite tone to my mood sometimes can force a mood lift or at least get me annoyed enough that I start doing stuff. It gets me feeling a little better then I start doing stuff and that gets me feeling a little better creating a cycle of goodness.

This music seems to grate on depression until it gets fed up and returns to its pit to come back and fight another day. That works for me. In this way I imagine depression to be not unlike some sort of evil predatory gnome that gets annoyed when you sing songs at it and hunts you from the darkness.

I’ve developed a playlist of songs that have only one unifying trait: they lift my mood or energy level. It’s possibly the most useful of all my many playlists. It’s a curated aural injection of happiness when I need it.

It’s also a nice excuse to listen to Bill Nighy’s “Christmas Is All Around Us” in the middle of April. Hush. It’s good for me.



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