Sensory recall is a truly fascinating thing. A chance smell, or sound can bring back childhood memories long thought forgotten; a passerby’s perfume brings back memories of a lost love. Music is particularly adept at this. Melody and rhythm can elicit many emotions from us at the time of listening, but that aside music tends to stay with us. We’ll always know the next beat in a favourite song. Listening to particular music at a certain time in one’s life can bring back the same feelings when you listen to that music years down the road.
Back in about 2012 to around 2014ish I was in a bad way. I was in the worst shape mentally I’ve ever been in my life. The depression I was suffering from seemed an insurmountable hurdle. For reasons I’ll go into another time I did not seek counseling, or even reached out to friends for support. I put on a good face so my friends wouldn’t worry about me. One such friend and I had a thing where we’d exchange mix CDs of our favourite tunes. This didn’t last long, as I have abysmal taste in music. During our exchanges, though, I did get a couple awesome mixes from her. I listened to those songs for repeat for untold hours. Years down the road I was finally seeking outside help to get my depression under control, and still these songs were my constant companion.
Nowadays my depression is at more or less manageable levels, but when I feel myself slipping back into the darkness, I’ll fire up these mix tapes from my friend. The familiar music brings back feelings of my time of my darkest depression, but more importantly it brings back memories of my recovery. The music elicits feelings of hope; of an eagerness to carry on. It’s a simple thing, music, just a combination of notes, but it has power over us, the power to help us carry on when times look bleak.
— Samantha Nystrom
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