Nighttime has always been the most difficult for me. The “outside” world often serves as a great distraction from the internal battles I face during the day. But when I get home at night, the thoughts I’ve spent all day pushing to the wayside hit me like a freight train and semi-truck colliding — and I’m right there in the middle. My depression leaves me wondering what all of this is for while my anxiety causes my thoughts to spin endlessly. Meanwhile, all I want to do is rest.
So I put in my headphones to escape it all, if only for three minutes.
Music can be an incredibly effective coping mechanism. That is why we asked people in The Mighty’s mental health community who struggle with anxiety and depression to share a song that has helped them through the night. Because sometimes the only place to escape from the outside world, the inside world or the darkness of the night, are melodies and lyrics.
Here is what they had to say:
1. “Guns for Hands” by Twenty One Pilots
“It’s a very personal song about depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s message is acceptance from others and learning to overcome it; turn your gun into a fist.” — Ashely A
2. “21 Guns” by Green Day
“In the months leading up to my hospitalization for suicidal thoughts and actions back in late 2009 and 2010, I would listen to it on repeat to fall asleep because the juxtaposition of soft and loud worked perfectly to calm me down but also validate the way I was feeling and how it sounded inside my head.” — Myriah T.
3. “Praying” by Kesha
“It has brought me peace of mind and soul no matter the time of day. Every time I listen to it I feel like I am in control of my existence and I am worthy, which is one of the hardest things to accept when you are in that dark place. I let the tears flow and I am safe inside myself again.” — Rebecca S.
4. “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato
“It really speaks to me and comforts me on those types of nights. The song is just so powerful and it gives me hope.” — Shanelle M.
5. “Let There Be Light” by Masketta Fall
“It has kept me going through rough times, it has a message that basically says no matter how hard it is, keep going, it gets better.” — Tayla E.
6. “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron.
“It just reminds me of good times and good feelings, like I’m floating in space or under a thousand stars. I feel ‘not in this world’ and just in a place where I feel only the good. Not this chaos in my head, but where there is another place I feel doesn’t exist.” — G.J C.
7. “Wonderwall” by Oasis
“As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, it’s hard to get through a day, let alone a night. But one night, my husband sang it to me and told me when I’m feeling down to listen to it. It’s very calming. He said it will be like he’s there being my rock.” — Lizzie W.
8. “Breaking the Habit” by Linkin Park
“There are many habits associated with anxiety and depression and this song helps me scream out the words to break mine and tear my demons down. “ — Sheridan R.
9. “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
“The lyrics relate to how I feel with my own anxiety and depression as well as how I want to help my children to relate to theirs. — ‘Your eyes, they shine so bright / I wanna save that light / I can’t escape this now / Unless you show me how’ — To me, it says I want to help you and in turn you end up helping me.” — Melissa F.
10. “On My Own” by The Used
“It brought me down to earth and made me rethink a lot about what I was going to when I was younger. Sad song, but brings me back down. Everyone struggles and I’m not the only one. There is always a way to get help.” — Sean F.
11. “Breakdown” by Jack Johnson
“Aside from being very upbeat, this song reminds me to let go of the unnecessary stress in my life. Even if it’s for just a moment. Life can spin out of control in an instant and sometimes, the only thing you can do is breakdown. It reminds me that even when I do breakdown, theres so much beauty around. Look deeper into the tiniest of things and you will find great beauty! Sometimes, a breakdown is necessary to be able to carry on.” — Dania F.
12. “How Far I’ll Go” by Alessia Cara, from “Moana”
“It sounds silly because it’s a Disney song, but it just reminds me how much more there is out there and my life doesn’t have to be ruled by my mental health.” — Megan A.
13. “Superheroes” by The Script
“The first time I heard this song was when I was harming myself. I had my headphones in and this song came on in the middle of it. I stopped, listened to the lyrics and cried. It changed my life and I now have the lyrics from the chorus tattooed over my self-harm scars on my arm.” — Jordan E.
14. “Sleepwalking” by Bring Me The Horizon
“Actually all of their songs and Marilyn Manson’s songs. When my anxiety was at its worst, I felt grey; the world was a monstrous grey mess. I was afraid, I wanted to scream. And then their music happened. In the violence of the songs, in their power, in all the emotion, I felt whole again. I wasn’t the only one screaming. I wasn’t the only one suffering. I was not alone.” — Gianluca P.
15. “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“I just love the feeling that this song gives me and just singing to it. It really relieves my anxiety. Many Red Hot Chili Peppers songs help me tremendously.” — Rianna J.
16. “Peace Piece” by Bill Evans
“Bill Evans is my favorite jazz pianist and I have taken much strength and support from his song ‘Peace Piece.’ If serenity has a soundtrack, this is it.” — Matt L.
17. “Breathe Me” by Sia
“[It] embodies feelings of loneliness, anxiety, tortured thoughts, depression, relapse; being overwhelmed by your own inner demons and pain, having a breakdown and feeling suicidal, begging for help and hoping someone with listen.” — Rebecca H.
18. “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson
“It came to me when I was driving home (literally in the rain) having a panic attack, scared I wouldn’t make it home. That song came on and instantly I felt the Lord’s presence in my car and I knew I’d make it safely home.” — Tia T.
19. “Try” by Colbie Caillat
“It helps bring me back into realizing that I don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. This song helped me out a lot… It helps control the thoughts in my head saying, ‘You’re too fat. No one likes you. You never do anything right. You’re ugly. You only look good with a bunch of makeup on.’ Colbie has some amazing songs that seem to help with depression and anxiety.” — Sara K.
20. “Days Like This” by Van Morrison
“It tells my brain that days like this happen and they will pass. Sometimes it’s a real struggle and other means are necessary to cope, but sometime this song can lift the darkening veil over my mind.” — Shane E.
21. “Why” by Rascal Flatts
“It hits home for me because I struggle with depression/anxiety and have attempted suicide before. This song just makes me feel better and important. The words honestly speak for themselves. This song has kept me safe and from hurting myself.” — Stefanie L.
22. “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns
“When my depression or anxiety gets really bad I used to ride it out alone and in the dark. I know that’s not healthy, but I didn’t want to burden my family. I got to the point where I couldn’t function and I wanted nothing more then to be done with everything — with the anxiety and the pain, but especially with life. This song helped me realize one more day was all I needed over and over no matter how many times it was needed. I just needed to get through this one day at a time and that I was not alone.” — Morissa S.
23. “Let Go” by Frou Frou
“I first heard this song while watching one of my favorite movies, ‘Garden State,’ which also helped me through my anxiety and depression at the time. Some of the lyrics include, ‘There’s beauty in the breakdown,’ and that really resonated with me and helped me to start looking for the potential for growth in my depression and anxiety. The song is so calming and just amazing for a million reasons.” — Rhyan P.
24. “Beautiful Thing” by Grace Vanderwaal
“It’s a song she wrote for her sister and how she is her other half and wouldn’t be here without her. It has helped me realize I have so many people that feel that way about me, or I feel about them.” — Braydee H.
25. “The Lonely” by Christina Perri
“This has been my go-to song for years, and especially this past year. I find myself laying in bed, crying and contemplating whether to continue to fight or not. I’ll listen to this song on repeat and just get out of that dark emotional state. This song speaks to depression perfectly, at least how I see it and live it every single day.” — Sara E.
26. “Anemone” by Joywave
“I was struggling for a long time and this song specifically helped my to claw myself back from a difficult place in my mind. The tune is very calming, which is the first thing I latched onto. The more I listened to it, the more I realized the lyrics were resonating with me as well. They can seem a little convoluted, but it felt to me as though each line was expressing a different emotion. It cycles from a suffocating, inescapable anxiety into a warm and comforting embrace, ending with the line, ‘I’ve never felt alive in company,’ which is relatable for me.” — Wendy M.
27. “All That You Are” by the Goo Goo Dolls
“It’s on the soundtrack for ‘Transformers Dark of the Moon’ and isn’t very well known, but the lyrics resonate with me. I actually got a tattoo of some of the lyrics that reads, ‘I’m so wrong; I feel human and flawed. I’ll break down even though I’m still strong.’ It reminds me every day that even though there are times when I break, I’m still strong. I also love their song ‘Iris’ and that helps me as well.” — Chelsea S.
28. “Grateful” by Rita Ora
“The song really puts into perspective how much I’ve been through to get to where I am currently. It reminds me to be grateful for all the bad as well as the good. And that’s something I need a constant reminder of — that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my anxiety and depression.” — Taylor S.
29. “Reflection” by Tool
“[It] has always helped me. The lyrics actually reflect my experience coming out of depressive episodes; it is at first a song about despair, but it becomes a spiritual awakening. I could only hope everyone comes out strong and awakened like that.” — Jayson H.
30. “Us Against the World” by Coldplay
“I feel as though the song takes me away from my situation and just gives me a break from all the negative thoughts and stress and just gives me a little bit of a breather. No matter what time it was, when I needed a break, I hit play and it just takes me to what feels like another world.” — Millie M.
What would you add?
Images from Linkin Park Facebook and Kesha Facebook