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Music and Mental State

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Music and Mental State

Postby redrob » Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:07 am

Do you find that your current state of mind dictates what you feel comfortable listening to?

I know that if I am being affected by my depression or am just sad over something in general, I cannot listen to music that is melancholy or too emotive as it will make me cry. In fact most of my life I've avoided this kind of music even though I do like some artists that make 'sad' songs or delicate, heartfelt songs. I just find that it strikes me so deep that it is does not improve my mindset no matter how great the song is. For example, today I feel fragile so I wouldn't be able to listen to certain Jeff Buckley or Johnny Cash singing Hurt.

If I am down I find myself putting on rock music or indie/alt music that tends towards upbeat drums and loud guitars. Not angry music like death metal, just music that feels 'strong' like Audioslave or AC/DCor the Beastie Boys.

I have a dear friend with some problems, depression, anxiety, addiction to name a few and hey listen to music that often brings them to tears when they are down. They don't have a positive sense of themselves and they will love songs in which the singer is extremely down on themselves. Songs of self hatred which they will listen to on repeat for days or weeks.

Surely this is like an affirmation of how they feel? If you sing along enough times to "I hate myself" surely that's got to have some affect on you?

I guess I am just interested in how music makes you feel and how much of an impact it can have on your mood. Whether listening to sad songs when sad could be a good thing? Am I kind of being in denial by putting on music that makes my body move when my mind is curled up in a ball?
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Re: Music and Mental State

Postby lilyfairy » Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:29 am

Yes it does. My music tastes are very diverse. I've played piano since I was 12, and had some music teachers who I'm eternally grateful to for introducing me to and sharing their appreciation of so many genres of music. Some I like more than others, but my collection includes classical, jazz, a little opera, musicals, current pop music, older pop music, some rock, 60's/70's/80's/90's, a little bit of grunge...if you didn't know me, you'd look at my music collection and go "huh?".

For me music is less about the lyrics, though I do take note of them, and more about instruments, melodies, motifs and beats. I don't listen to it as just a song- I'm distracted by what's going on in it a lot of the time. So yeah, happy/sad song and or lyrics is not always relevant to me. I do get in a mood for a certain style or artist though. Songs can grab me purely because I can hear a piano in it, or because some part of the melody just sticks with me. I have songs that I like to play because they remind me of a particular time period- eg. I have a playlist of songs that remind me of good times I had with friends when I was younger- there's a whole range of happy/sad/love/breakup songs in that, but it's the memories I've attached to them more than the meanings of the songs that's important to me.

I guess it depends on more what you get from the music- the memories you attach to them is important too.

There are some situations where I would say choice of song/lyrics is very important. I'd draw the line at something like walking down the aisle to a breakup song. I know people who've done it and have gone umm...I know you danced to it on your first date, but have you actually listened to what the words say?
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Re: Music and Mental State

Postby SuperGoose » Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:38 pm

Do you try to avoid unpleasant emotions in general or does it just apply to music? It's good to have some way to "let the feelings out" but it doesn't need to be music


I agree with you i don't give a hoot about lyrics, they are usually the worst poems in the world and just exist as a medium for the notes of the singer's voice, i'll need to listen to a song a million times before i notice its lyrics, I much prefer poetry, if I want beautiful words that's where I go. Lyrics rely on music to artificially prop them up and make them seem clever. That's my strongly held controversial opinion :D
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Re: Music and Mental State

Postby redrob » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:04 pm

It's probably part of a bigger story.

Yes, I definitely release my emotions, I don't deny them in any way. I guess I was asking the general question as I have problems with the friend who listens to the sad or negative sounding music (IMO). This person knows that we have very different tastes in music. We communicate online and since his relapse he has a habit of insinuating that there is something I should be aware of regarding his opinion of my shortcomings as a person. Instead of just saying what he wants to say he either talks in riddles or quotes but more often than not, he sends me songs and insists that if I listen to the lyrics I will understand.

He knows I don't like this yet sometimes will send the same song over and over in the space of hours. I think this is unfair as lyrics are open to interpretation. He will also choose artists he knows I don't enjoy but will harangue me to hear 'the message' in the song. I stopped listening to the songs a while ago and just look up the lyrics instead. They are usually pretty negative but to try to talk to him about not doing it and just sending me YouTube clips instead of just stepping up to the mark and saying what he wants to express to me, he'll just send another song. In a sober moment he even admitted that he does try to wind me up on purpose. After we spoke about that I thought it would stop.

But no.

I don't know where to put this topic. Basically he is great when sober but when drunk shows many signs of a toxic friend.
Examples
- Projecting his own feelings as being problems that I have, ie, I am a negative person
- making jokes at my expense, (ie, iif only you could speak without annoying me, hahahaha)
- needing a lot of attention from me (call me,call me, call me)
- yet doesn't listen when I talk (you're going to such and such? Yet Ive mentioned it over 3 days)
- has said horrible things but will never apologise,
- giving me his opinion on my personality flaws (my grief over the death of several loved ones is negative and selfish),
- constantly telling me how evolved he is psychologically (one day you might learn what I know)
- try to get me to prove myself as a friend (ie, if you really care you will listen to this song)
- manipulation (it's my interpretation that is wrong not his words)

I never know which version I am going to get. People ask why I even give him the time. I've known him over half my life. I really love the person he is when he is sober, I don't want to give up on him (but am I enabling by putting up with this?).

I can't help him, he does not want it and an addict has to choose to stop for themselves.

I know I have this post in the wrong place now, but this forcing of music I don't enjoy upon me repeatedly is a thing I'm being driven crazy with.

I don't want to turn my back on a friend who is in a dark place yet I can't be dragged down too. Am I deluding myself he'll get sober and be grateful I stayed or will walking away for a while wake him up. I fear he will see me as abandoning him.
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