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Soul Food, Music, & Mental Health

I know it's kinda corny, but I literally feel like I have music rushing through my veins. It's in my soul. It always has been. As an extremely sensitive person who feels everything very deeply (maybe too deeply), I have always found such comfort in music. In my lowest moments, music has truly saved my life. Being able to transport yourself out of reality and into a song is incredibly powerful — almost a tool in a way. I wanted to share some of the artists, albums, and songs that have had an impact on my life and my journey with mental health. After being diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, everything in my life finally started to fall into place. I have a greater grasp on why I do the things that I do and how I got to be the person that I am today. However, self-discovery, introspection, and healing are never linear. Music, though, has been the one constant in my life that I can rely on.

Mac Miller has changed my life. I can't even express how much I love Mac and what his music has done for me. The music, itself, encapsulates so many different feelings and vibes. But the lyrics... I could listen to a song over and over and still find new meanings behind his lines. I think that is also what makes rap music so interesting because it's typically more fast paced which allows you to digest different pieces of the song at a time rather than following a simple hook in a pop radio hit. I've always been drawn to the intricacy of flow and word choice as a songwriter, and these elements are why I feel so immersed in the music when I listen to Mac's records as well as his diversified themes. I've always loved Swimming, The Divine Feminine, and Faces, but this year, I have really been getting into GO:OD AM. It's hard for me to even verbally describe how his music makes me feel. Whatever I write will never equate. His music has traveled with me through the most haunting, dark times in my life as well the brightest days. Some of my favorite tracks are Ascension, Small Worlds, Missed Calls, What's the Use, Perfect Circle / Godspeed, We, Dunno, Dang!, My Favorite Part, and The Mourning After.

Lennon Stella (and Maisy too) have probably my favorite voices of all time. When Lennon released her album, Three. Two. One., shortly into the covid pandemic, I couldn't get enough. In times of such loneliness and fear, I was able to let myself melt into this album. My faves of this project are Save Us, Older Than I Am, Weakness, and Pretty Boy.

Frank. Ocean. That is all. Defined my high school experience for sure. The depth and nostalgia he creates musically is so captivating. I love Nostalgia Ultra and have that burned onto a CD. Other faves are There Will Be Tears, Novacane, Pink + White, Nights, and Biking (Solo).

Daniel Caesar and Bruno Major also defined my teen years. I love diving into music to simply just vibe. I've never been the biggest fan of music that is just entirely sad. As an empath, that would just make me more sad and depressed. But, being able to take yourself out of whatever situation you are going through and just listen and absorb sound is my favorite thing. Distraction, or diversion I should say, has allowed me to shift from patterns of looping and cyclical fixations, and music does just that. Focusing on just the drum beat or just a synth sound has served as an important grounding technique for me whenever I feel an anxiety episode coming on. Go listen to music. Vibe! Experience! Let yourself feel! Listen to the lyrics! Build a connection with what you consume rather than letting content consume you. Music is the greatest gift.

And here are some of my favorite songs that make me feel alive:


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