Some days I feel like the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. Alone. Isolated. Outcast. And I owe my life, in many ways, to music. When I struggled with depression through high school, music was one of the few things that could truly brighten my day. In the midst of feeling so alone that I wanted to die, I could forget everything and be one with a melody. Sometimes I sang. Sometimes I danced. And sometimes I just listened, sprawled out on my bed, tears running down my face.

In recent years, I’ve learned that music has another saving power. I used to think that simply thinking of music – reciting the words or humming the tune – would be enough to avoid any temptations. Boy, was I wrong. Somehow, my mind developed the ability to multitask, and I soon found that humming one hymn wasn’t enough. But I really believed in it, so I tried to make adjustments. I tried humming one melody and thinking another, or reciting the words of two hymns while trying to imagine orchestral arrangements for a third. And sometimes it worked. The sheer complexity of the task I expected my mind to conquer forced the bad thoughts out. But, in many cases, the positive effects only lasted as long as I kept up the multiple lines of thought. Drop one, and the door is open.

And then I realized the power that music – not just a melody or good lyrics – can effect in my life. I was having a rough day and someone invited me to go to a choir practice. I probably wouldn’t perform with the choir, but I knew that staying at home was asking for trouble. So I went. And it was amazing. As we sang, the music all around us, I forgot about everything that had filled my mind. I felt peace… and the feeling lasted the rest of the night.

Since then, I’ve tried to actually listen to and participate in music, instead of just humming a melody or thinking through lyrics. There’s something about pumping uplifting music through my speakers while I drive or listening to a great radio station as I’m typing on my computer. When I’m struggling most, it has the power to help me make it through the night.
Continue reading at the original source →