A “Staircase Playlist” For Tough Times

This year has been rough.

Every single day something happens that makes me angry, sad, frustrated or despondent. And with the recent celebrity tragedies in the news, the issue of depression has been on my mind a lot. What’s the difference between being sad and being depressed? According to mental health professionals, an episode of sadness that lasts over two weeks is considered depression. Well, this has been going on for about a year and a half, so what does that mean?

I was reminded today that we each have our ways of coping with difficult situations, and like many people, music helps me cope. One way I dig my way out of a dark mood is to find a song that hits just the right resonance for me: maybe it’s something in a minor key or maybe it’s one with a slow, angry tempo; I look for something that vibrates at the same frequency as my state of mind. I play it a few times and wallow in the mood, and then I find songs that gradually, gently move into a more positive perspective. I think of it as a staircase that I use to climb, step-by-step, out of my emotional basement.

Here’s a staircase playlist for a Trump-era day like today.

  1. Second Chances — Gregory Alan Isakov
  2. Swim — Jack’s Mannequin
  3. Take Me to the River — the Talking Heads
  4. Bridge over Troubled Water — Paul Simon, performed by Art Garfunkel (Lots of versions out there; I like this one best when I’m having a rough day)
  5. Way Down We Go — Kaleo
  6. Dearly Departed (feat. Esme Patterson) — Shakey Graves
  7. Moondance — Van Morrison
  8. Drawing Board — George Ezra
  9. Let Your Light Shine — Keb’ Mo’
  10. Always Look On the Bright Side of Life — Monty Python
  11. Graceland — Paul Simon
  12. Love Today — MIKA

What are some songs you like to listen to when you feel like you just can’t cope? What are other techniques you use for digging out of a dark mood?

Depression is nothing to joke about. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.


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