Exploring Depression and Anxiety Through Music

For the past week I have been so excited, so happy and so into Chastity Belt’s new album I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone. It’s not officially released until this Friday, June 2nd, but NPR so graciously put it up to stream.

This album is no doubt about depression, anxiety and those occasional moments when it all goes away and you’re “feeling like a real champ” (but for how long). And for once I feel like I am listening to an album that has no gender identity based around the identity of the band members. It is instead stripping these issues that can sometimes seem “female” or “male”, down to the core of just human. This album wraps the experience of being human into one.

I appreciate all of this so much from musicians, and it’s something I hope I achieve through my own songwriting. Music gives us the ability to communicate through a collective consciousness and help each other figure shit out, even if we don’t know each other!

I could cite half the lyrics on this album and talk about how they resonate so hard with me, but I recommend just going right into it (and the band’s previous works). If for nothing else, it’s because you’re intrigued by their name.

Thank you Chastity Belt.

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If the Buddha Dated

A friend of mine shared a book with me to help in some changes I am making regarding my romantic relationship. It is called “If the Buddha Dated: Finding Love On A Spiritual Path”. There are lots of questions asked and many prompts to sit down with a pencil and paper to answer them. Truthfully. In doing so I realized I have never really thought much about what I want in a partner. One of the exercises has you make a mock personals ad based around what you want, and another has you make one based around negative things you think about yourself. So, for perspective, I will be sharing both of them below. I used to think this kind of stuff was silly, and this doesn’t mean I’m joining Tinder, but I’ve learned a lot about myself by being honest with myself (no matter how silly). I recommend it!

Regular Personals Ad:

30 year old woman with a great sense of humor and adventurous spirit seeks partner to laugh and have fun with! Preferably dark and handsome with a humble spirit and conciousness about the world and issues. A lovely partner, lover and friend all around 🙂

Negative Personals Ad:

Fearful 30 year old woman unsure of what to do with herself or life. Anxious, somewhat annoying, very stubborn and quite aggressive in her opinions. Sad and fed up with being ill, but unable to move forward because of it. Sees that as an excuse.

You Are Alone

You are alone

In this world

Despite living

With many others

You tiptoe around

Each other

Waiting your turn

To emerge

From the bedroom

You are alone

In this world

Despite being together

You tiptoe around

Each other

Barely embracing

You are alone

In this world

Despite traveling

With a million others

You close your eyes

Tight 

Enough to be

Transported 

You are alone 

In that world

As well

I Am Waiting

I’ve spent a lot of my life waiting

To see if the pain will stop

To see if I’ll feel better

Waiting

For them to love me

For them to come home

For them to let me go

Waiting

For a true purpose

For the wind to stop blowing

And the weather to get warmer

Waiting

For a parcel in the post

For an epiphany to solidify I am human

And not a ghost

Waiting

For my plane to arrive

And waiting to take off

I’ve spent a lot of my life waiting

For things to begin

And end

 

Human

On my recent travels I found myself at an airport. After the TSA agent looked at my license for a little longer than usual and commented that “hairstyles change so fast these days”, I was granted access to the vulnerable, makes-everyone-feel-like-they’re-a-criminal shit show that is security.

I was behind a woman with skin just a bit darker than mine; hair just a bit darker than mine. She went through the machine that is probably giving us all cancer while the TSA agents ogle at our naked bodies, and was then told to wait. She was taken aside by a (white) female agent and patted down completely, all the way to her god-damned ankles, checking her socks. 

Watching this as I waited my turn alarmed me. Going through security always makes me a bit uncomfortable, but I’ve never had a single problem and I know it’s because of the color of my skin. I think that’s what makes me uncomfortable; watching others be treated like they are less-than because they are not white.

My turn comes and they tell me (aka ma’am) to move my hair from the side to the back. Duh, my braided hair is where I’ve stashed all the drugs I’m trying to smuggle. 

I step out of the machine, a (white) male agent takes one look at the screen, and says I’m good to go. No pat down by the (white) female officer, no suspicion. My screening took at least a minute less than the woman in front of me.

This is but a small example of the racism and fear of “other” that is very present in the United States and is for some fucking reason accepted, with heads down, by society. 

We are all immigrants (unless you are Native American). How has this simple fact been missed? 

We are all human (unless you are a Cyberman from Doctor Who). How has this simple fact been missed?

United States of America, we need to get our shit together.

Significance of the Lioness

The lioness hunts for food for herself and her cubs only to have the lion almost immediately take it for himself. She chooses her mate and lashes out at him if he is not satisfactory. He cowers away. The lioness does what she needs to do, while also making sacrifices. But she is the true leader of her den.

More and more throughout my journey of chronic pain I find myself needing to be in the natural world. I am my true self in the ocean, on top of a mountain or in a forest. If I don’t see or feel water for a long period of time I feel restless and off. I feel immediately healed when I return to it.

I feel more and more insignificant as a human when I see what nature can do.

Realizing this has helped me accept my health the way it is.

Realizing this has helped me stay positive during a stressful political era.

Realizing this has helped me change my lifestyle to one that harms the planet as little as possible.

Realizing this has made me see I am no lioness.

But I can learn from her while I am here.