Therapy to me is something that allows you to address issues, explore feelings and generally feel better for doing it. There are a lot of therapies to try and even yet discover but one which has been with us since our time began is music. Ok, maybe there wasn’t an orchestra when we were still living in caves but there were probably murmurs, humming and of course a heartbeat and breath.
We have refined these early comforts into tools just as we began to form tools for hunting, building and communicating.
So why is music so therapeutic? Well, I guess anyone who listens to music will associate songs from an early childhood memory, a time of great joy and of course those times of sadness and despair. Thankfully I am a music lover and through my highs and lows of bipolar depression, music has always been a driving force in maintaining my recovery.
When deep in the bowels of depression I almost always want to listen to music that is deeply expressive, comforting and just warm-sounding. When in the throws of psychosis, even the most disjointed harsh music can bring a tear, some idea will click and I’ll feel I instantly understand what the noises mean. Somewhere in the middle of that is where I manage to create my own music, which will in turn hopefully comfort others struggling with our human condition.
Music can just be a comforting voice, accompanied by a warm ambience- it doesn’t have to be a full appreciation for a particular genre. Whatever sounds you find comforting will help you through rough times.
There is of course actual music therapy that brings people together to create a tribal sound be it a banging drum, a strumming guitar or just singing in a choir. I think the most famous current example would be the Military Wives Choir. Not only did it offer companionship but also allowed their significant others to hear their voices while half a world away.
There are other more scientific methods of musical therapy such as binaural music, made to stimulate your brain in a certain way involving repetitive patterns of ambient sounds, beats and sometimes, sounds of nature. I have used this myself to help me sleep or wake up and have found some of them better than others.
There is so much music in the world today that I believe it almost impossible not to find something that stimulates you. The therapy part is recognizing what works for you, why it works, and how you can control your exposure to it to enable a better quality of life.
Maybe you would like to share your favorite sad and happy songs with fellow Black Dog Tribers. Who knows, maybe you will find some tastes in common and maybe some new songs to add to your personal collection.