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Music Choices

Depression And The Music Your Kids Are Listening To

The late, great philosopher Kierkegaard once wrote, “What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.” Kierkegaard was onto a deep truism, which is the words and melodies that we discover in literature and music speak to the experiences that we don’t have the words to or that we cannot talk about. People have done this for years from Beethoven to Edgar Allan Poe, or to the writers of our the parents of today like David Foster Wallace and the music of Nirvana or The Cure. Music and literature understood the human experience in ways that allowed us to feel understood.

Tragically, we find ourselves in a period of time where kids are significantly more depressed than generations of the past. Should we be surprised when the one of the fastest rising stars in music today, Billie Eilish, writes in a song called, Bury A Friend, “I wanna end me. I wanna, wanna, wanna end me.” Or another fast rising hip hop artist, NF, writes, “I don’t see you like I should. You look so misunderstood. And I wish I could help. But it’s hard when I hate myself. Pray to God with my arms open. If this is it, then I feel hopeless. And I wish I could help. But it’s hard when I hate myself.” Even in Country Music we find a song like Girl by Maren Morris where she writes, ““What you feel is natural / You don’t gotta put up with this anymore / Pick yourself up off the kitchen floor / Tell me what you waitin’ for?”

One common complaint I have heard among teenage clients is that there friends don’t understand what they are going through. My experience and studies show that they do but what they don’t have is a safe place to talk about it. Talking about your experiences of depression is taboo… So, as Kierkegaard wrote, listening to music where someone who does know about it feels healing, or cathartic, or at the very least, helps us to feel like we are not alone.

Every person with depression, whether they are kids or are elderly, needs someone who will listen to them and help them not to feel like they are alone. Providing a space where people aren’t judged for being depressed, where they can voice their pain, and where they can be loved and supported is what all people with depression need. While music can be healing, it doesn’t provide the healing that loving friends, and family members, and possibly the care and support of a counselor.

Maybe your kids don’t listen to Billie Eilish, or NF, or Maren Morris, but knowing what is popular can be a great gauge for the emotional awareness of a generation. Listen to what’s out there, to listen to what’s happening around or possibly to your kids.

I believe there is healing power in owning and sharing our stories. We all have parts of our story that we wrestle with, hide, run from, or try to numb. Through my personal and professional experience, I have been amazed by the resiliency and strength of the human experience. I understand the courage and trust that is required to work through these parts of our stories. I feel honored when a client invites me to journey with them in their healing process through counseling. I am passionate about creating safe places for the individuals I work with. My goal as your counselor is to help you feel heard, seen, and valued.

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