17 May 2018

The Silver Linings Playlist #MHAW18

Like books, crafts and the wizarding world, I passionately believe that music is its own form of therapy. Dumbledore himself said music was "a magic beyond all we do here" and, back in the muggle world, 400,530 Instagrammers seem to agree with me; at least, their hashtags do, and we all know that hashtags don't lie.... Or was it hips? I've never actually listened to Shakira's 2005 hit the whole way through, so it could just as easily be hipflasks or hippos too.

As ever, I digress! Simply put, I rarely step foot in the 'mainstream' music scene; it would be like Hermione wandering into a club the night before an exam. It just doesn't happen! For me, music is about meaning. The nostalgia playlist was my silver lining in the first few weeks of University, whenever I felt homesick, while the study playlist has been a saving grace in the past few weeks of dissertationing (spellcheck claims that this isn't a word, but like Quidditch and Quaffle it should be.) 

 Ah, music, a magic beyond all we do here.

Nonetheless, my love of playlist-making began two years ago, when I was receiving IP treatment and struggling with the "deafening silence" of the dining room. In case my blog isn't a giveaway, I'm someone who likes to talk. A lot. So this is where The Silver Linings Playlist began. I made various CDs for the dining room, as phones strictly weren't allowed at meals - a rule that, incidentally, also applies at home and one I am fully on board with. So even if no one was talking, there was something to listen to. 

I like to think that it brought moments of comfort in very stressful circumstances - for what it's worth, I know it helped me and at least one other person! More often that not, the songs that helped us most fell under the umbrella of "nostalgia", so you may recognise some of them from my nostalgia playlist too. There's nothing quite like hearing Little Bitty Pretty One as you eat your cereal, even if my request for Matilda cheerios did fall on deaf ears...  

So here it is: my Silver Linings Playlist. I have published it to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Weekbut it is there for any week, day or moment when your thoughts are clouded and you need an escape. While it is so important to dedicate these times for mental health awareness, mental illnesses aren't aware of a calendar. They always require awareness and support. Like I said earlier, I know that music isn't a magic cure, this playlist included! Nonetheless, if it can help just one person, it's worth sharing. 

I've included some of my favourite lyrics in the 'read more'; however, if if you're going to skip to one artist, make it Dodie Clark. As someone with personal experience of mental illness, her songs truly 'get it' and also offer words of hope. I could listen to 'Secret for the Mad' on a loop and still find the lyrics just as powerful. Thank-you Dodie, for sharing your story and being unashamedly you

 I promise you, it will all make sense again.

I believe that  the darkness reminds us where light can be.

    I Believe - Christina Perri    

You  taught me what a life is for, so light me up again.

    Light Me Up - Ingrid Michaelson    

These are my go-to songs for those days when you need a reminder. that recovery is possible - that there is a light beyond the darkness.  Of course, they're by no mean a a cure - I wouldn't suggest that the NHS switch SSRIs for Sia anytime soon; That being said, no tablet is a magical fix, especially when you're in the moment - in front of a plate - and the negative thoughts arrive. That's where music steps in.

I can give all the advice in the world, but believing my own words is often another story; lyrics are like the Cricket conscience on my shoulder, reminding me that self-compassion is okay. Jiminy is  a worthy mascot for the quoted songs, because they are all about YOU. The YOU beyond the illness; the light that is never lost; the little voice that says "you can, you can, you can."

I  need to take back the light inside you stole.

   Warrior - Demi Lovato   

At the end of this road I might catch a glimpse of me.

   Sober - Kelly Clarkson    

"There's a place where the sun will always shine.""  

 The Greener Side - Morgan Taylor Reed   

He told me to believe. Believe in him and believe in me.

   Lost Boy - Ruth B.   

These are my go-to songs for nostalgia. Contrary to what an anonymous troll told me ( The Blog Boggart), sometimes we need a second of whimsey. It doesn't mean we are childish, it means we are wise enough to value our inner child - our core values.  When I heard Ruth B's 'Lost Boy', the lyrics rang so true to where I am and my mission to stay true to myself:  "Neverland is home for lost boys like me and lost boys like me are free."

My work in CBT last year was pivotal to this, as I wrote about in 17 Silver Linings of 2017. More recently, I've embraced my inner Potterhead on youtube and instagram and found a sense of belonging - even if it doesn't 'conform'. When I saw Tessa Netting's Fangirl video last year, it reminded me that it's okay to love what you love. It's okay to dream. It's okay to be you.

I could fly from the highest swing.

Dream - Priscilla Ahn

 My kingdom awaits and they've forgiven my mistakes.

   Coming Home Pt II - Skylar Grey   

Rewrite an ending or two, for the girl that I knew.

 She Used To Be Mine - Sara Bareilles   

Don't have to change a thing, the world can change it's heart.

  Scars To Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara

When I returned to independent living at University, following two years at home, I had to adjust to my own company and it was a challenge. Not only did I miss dinnertime conversations with my wonderful parents - who, thankfully, like talking too -  I was joined by an infinitely less welcome guest: Monsieur NOA (Negative Over Analaysis). Where are Lumiere and Cogsworth when  you need them? 

I introduced NOA in a post last year and, despite my best intentions, he's still alive and kicking more than Rizzle Kicks. Like Rizzle Kicks, I'm also not a fan of NOA's music: his greatest hits include "Look What You Made Yourself Do" and "F**king Imperfect." As you can tell, he's a real charmer. This is where the surrounding songs comer in. 

Unlike the ones previously mentioned, they're not all 'recovery 101: you can do this!' Instead, they acknowledge that people have flaws - you're only human - and it's okay to fall down at times. Sometimes the silver linings we need are the knowledge that it's okay not to be okay. Repeat to self: it's okay not to be okay.... as long as you hold onto the hope that, someday, you can be. 

I'm only human and I bleed when I fall down.

  Human - Christina Perri  

 Nobody's picture perfect, but they're worth it.

   Dark Side - Kelly Clarkson  

 Does music help your mental health? If there's a particular song that you love - or if you spotted it in this playlist - let me know in the comments

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