Depression Anthems

I’m very bad at music; I’m bad at instruments, I’m bad at singing, I’m bad at listening to music. My iPod is always 75% full of audiobooks and the only playlist on my iPhone is called ‘Music for when my audiobook ends’. My music collection consists almost entirely of Ben Folds, Taylor Swift, Kate Bush and this song by LFO which me and brother will go the grave insisting is the best song ever written. However over the last few months I’ve had two songs on constant repeat.

There are a lot of songs about depression, next to love and yellow submarines I’d say it was one of the most sung about topics, but for me often songs about sadness and depression aren’t great for my mood when I’m actually feeling sad and depressed. But these two songs… well. I’m not actually sure why I write this blog when these two songs exist. For me, they sum up pretty much everything I want to say about everything in life, and the people singing them don’t even have to speak the words to the songs.

The first is A Better Son/Daughter by Rilo Kiley. It’s the most beautiful and truthful description of what it feels like to have waves of deep depression that I’ve ever come across (although I’m sure there are lots out there) and this verse in particular is my favourite. My and one of my best friends (who also suffers from horrible things but is one of the best people on earth and has a beautiful blog which you can read here) can spend hours talking about how amazing we’re going to be once we feel better, and daydreaming about your life when you are ‘better’ can be dangerous as I think we can all admit that no one on earth is 100% sane. But sometimes it’s also a great thing to think about and one of the only things that can bring you hope. And I love the way this song talks about that.

And sometimes when you’re on, you’re really fucking on
And your friends they sing along and they love you
But the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap
And it teases you for weeks in it’s absence
But you’ll fight and you’ll make it through
You’ll fake it if you have to
And you’ll show up for work with a smile
You’ll be better you’ll be smarter
And more grown up and a better daughter
Or son and a real good friend
You’ll be awake and you’ll be alert
You’ll be positive though it hurts
And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends
You’ll be a real good listener
You’ll be honest, you’ll be brave
You’ll be handsome, you’ll be beautiful
You’ll be happy

And the second is I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers, a song I’ve tweeted about so many times it’s almost a joke and is actually the current ring tone on my phone. I think one of the things people who get really sad don’t like to admit sometimes (or maybe this is just me?) is that actually often the thought of getting better is pretty scary. It’s all you want in the world but sometimes it feels too hard or too daunting or just too overwhelming. So having something that makes you realise you how much you do want to get there, how much you do want to get better, is an amazing thing to have. This song isn’t as specifically about the things I’ve experienced as the other one but every time I hear the chorus I want to cry. Because I do really want to get better. And this is the best reminder.

I didn’t know I was lonely ’til I saw your face
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better
I didn’t know I was broken ’til I wanted to change
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better

Okay there you go, I’m done talking about music. It’s something I never in a million years thought I would write about on this blog as I find people who talk about music properly, very scary and intimidating but I couldn’t not put these two songs on here. Listen to them, or don’t, or listen to half of them and then switch to Orange is The New Black. And if you have any personal depression anthems please tell me in the comments or on Twitter or by carrier pigeon or even a message in a bottle. I would love to hear your suggestions.

Hope you are having a good day.



8 thoughts on “Depression Anthems

  1. The words that immediately come to mind are ‘floodgates’ and ‘open’!

    Colin Hay, ‘Waiting for my real life to begin’ does little to cheer me up when I’m down, but at least makes me feel I’m not the only one. I think you’ll either love it or hate it!

  2. Please give a listen to “I Got Id” by Pearl Jam and make sure you have the lyrics on hand.

    “My lips are shakin, my nails are bit off
    Been a month since I heard myself talk
    All the advantage this life’s got on me
    Picture a coffin in the middle of the sea”

  3. Hi Scarlett
    Your blog is so inspiring and I’m in awe of you going off for adventures in New York. Also clearly a little bit envious of you discovering the city for yourself and turning it from a film-set into your home. I hugely admire your honesty about the your own frailties and think they must be a real comfort for others in a similar situation. I hope you will be keeping a diary in Manhattan as I’m hoping that one day you will put it all into a book. Very best of luck.

  4. When I read the title the first song that popped in my head was A Better Son/daughter so I was glad to see it made your list too! I would also include Jenny you’re barely alive and Dragging Around both by Rilo Kiley as my depression anthems. I think driving around blasting these songs were the best therapy I ever had!

  5. Hi Scarlett, thank you for these songs and for your whole blog, which I am hugely enjoying (I’m already looking forward to reading about your New York adventures whenever you’ve got time to post). Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours is my depression album (not a very original choice but absolutely a classic). You can wallow in each sad, sad song from The Great American Songbook or just let it all wash over you. Either way, I always end up feeling just the tiniest bit inspired because it’s so beautiful it makes me glad to be in the world where people made it and where I can share it. Thank you again – bon voyage and bon courage – New York will be lucky to have you.

  6. This is the lamest but ‘Bad Day’ by Daniel Powter. It’s a song that came out when I was 12 and it reminds me of happier times when I was a kid! I mostly listen to this song after my mum scolds me and I don’t want to listen to angry music because it’s my mum and I love her and so I just get sad and ashamed more than angry. But, yep, I mostly have have Icona Pop, Charli XCX and Taylor Swift on my playlist on a loop!

  7. Hi Scarlett
    I know you probably won’t read this but I’m not writing it just for myself because that would be stupid! 🙂 I wanted to pay tribute to somebody connected with you.
    When I read your fantastically-written New York blog post, even though I am a 33-year-old loser guy and not a young lady, It was as though I was reading about myself – except for the part about a happy new beginning.
    I came to your post after Dom Joly tweeted your Mum about your amazing writing. And I wanted to say that I think your Mum should be very proud not just of you, but of herself. By showing such pride and compassion in your personal challenges, she has perhaps partially empowered you to accept yourself and now after time, to potentially flourish.
    You are way braver than me and although I love my family, I could never, ever openly talk about the horrific mental torture I have kept secret my entire adult life. To have such support from your Mum must be an amazing and empowering feeling. I think you have a really bright future Scarlett, you have every right to feel proud of yourself. And your Mum should feel extremely proud of herself too – I hope she does.
    I tried briefly to find an email contact for Emma because I felt moved to write but then I found out to my surprise that you are Richard Curits’s family and I realised that it would be ridiculously arrogant to think she would want to hear from a nobody like me – hence me posting my comment here!
    Anyway I hope you wil keep writing, you are very good at it.
    Kind Wishes

  8. Hi Scarlett

    Congrats on making it to NYU. I wanted to recommend some books set in NY for you. Crossing Delancey, by Susan Sandler (it was made into both a play and a movie) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (American classic) and The Chosen by Chaim Potok together with its sequel, The Promise. I hope you really enjoy your time there, and it’s really not far to pop home for a bit. NYC is a thrilling place to be, but can be challenging if you aren’t feeling well.

    If you haven’t visited the Folk Art Museum yet, then do. I also recommend The Tenement Museum.

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