Listening to Music Helps with My Schizoaffective Disorder
Thursday, July 26 2018 Elizabeth Caudy
Listening to music really helps with my schizoaffective disorder. I try to listen to soothing music, like Tori Amos' more recent work or pretty much anything by Hope Sandoval. Here's how listening to music helps with my schizoaffective disorder.
How Listening to Music Helps Me Cope
Listening to music that is soothing helps me cope, but it's not always "happy" music. I mentioned Tori Amos. I like to listen to her album Scarlet's Walk a lot when I'm driving. It's a very relaxing album--both the lyrics and arrangements. I used to like to listen to Scarlet's Walk and then go on Facebook for distraction when I was really agitated. But now I avoid Facebook when I'm in the throes of schizoaffective anxiety. Instead, I put on Tori Amos: Live from the Artists Den, which is a DVD of an intimate concert with Tori Amos. It really helps me calm down.
When I was a teenager, I used to listen to really loud punk rock and grunge like Bikini Kill, Hole, and Nirvana. I feel like an old fuddy-duddy saying this, but I can't listen to that music anymore. It's just too raucous. There's also some music from my youth that I can't listen to simply because I was going through a hard time when I was listening to it. When I play it, it brings back bad memories ("Mental Health Recovery: Avoid Triggers").
How Listening to Music Helps with My Schizoaffective Depression
Even though happy, upbeat, pop music is not to my taste, I do sometimes try to find other music that lifts my mood. I like early Ingrid Michaelson, indie rocker Laura Veirs, Bjork, and the Beatles. The Beatles, especially, put me in a good mood because I used to listen to them a lot when I was little before I had schizoaffective depression. Bjork I like because she's such a free spirit, and her music reflects that.
I also try to listen to music that is empowering. This brings us back to Tori Amos. For years now, I've been thinking of getting a semicolon tattoo with the Tori Amos lyric: "we'll see how brave you are."
In case you're unfamiliar with the semicolon movement, I'll explain. The idea behind the semicolon is that an author uses it when he or she could have ended a sentence but didn't. So, in the semicolon movement, the sentence represents your life and one is choosing not to end it. The motto behind the semicolon movement is "your story is not over." The lyric "we'll see how brave you are" has come to stand, for me, as a way of proving to the world that I am brave in how I live with my schizoaffective disorder. And if that's not empowering, then I don't know what is.
Listening to music gives me hope, strength, and comfort. What does it do for you?