I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.
Music is one of my greatest healing tools when it comes to my mental health.
2017 was a killer year for me, especially when it came to my mental health. For the first time in six years, I felt like myself and I didn’t have any major depressive episodes (that lasted for months at a time). It was a milestone that I am so grateful for. Not that I’m trying to diminish the impact my PTSD has on my mental health, but for the first time in a long time, I’m excited about starting another year off to a good start.
Has every day been great? No. Have I had my moments where my PTSD kicked my ass? Yes! But the one thing I’ve learned about my mental healthis that I take it all in stride. I take it day by day. I can’t predict how my mental health will play out over a week, let alone a month, or even a year. That isn’t something I have control over. The best I can do is take a deep breath and keep moving forward.
But I’m still determined to make the most of 2018, regardless to what the future has in store of me. I’m going to have some crazy and wild moments this year (and I finally get to marry the love of my life!), so in keeping my best foot forward, I’ve been keeping my music updated on my phone. I’ve been creating lists of kick-ass songs to help motivate me through the battles and songs to help me when I’m feeling a little bruised and battered.
Music has helps me through some of the best and worst moments in my life. So grab your headphones and turn up the volume. I’m gonna show you the music that is helping me to keep my fists up and swinging heading into 2018.
And hopefully they’ll inspire you through your own crusades too.
Amanda’s 2018 Fight Anthems
We Fight – Dashboard Confessional
My inner 13 year-old self is screaming. DC not only released a new single, but they’re confirmed to have a new album come out next month. Rejoice early 2000’s emo kids everywhere!
(There are also rumours floating around about My Chemical Romance making a comeback this year, too! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!)
With lines such as, “Tired of beatings and battles and being sewn up / But that made us grow up, and that made ’em scared“, DC ignites a battle cry for those still trying to fight through their own battles with an intense plea to finally be acknowledged for those struggles.
With a song title like “We Fight”, it was obviously going to draw my attention. And it did so in all the right ways. While many of DC’s older songs have made me cry into my pillow during my teen years, “We Fight” is the adult anthem I need to keep me motivated on my quest to help tear down the stigma of mental illnesses.
It’s definitely going to be my Fight Cry this year!
“And there’s still a kid somewhere that needs to hear this
That somebody cares, that somebody knows
Who’s tired of bleeding and battered and being torn up.“
What About Us – P!nk
I love this lady in so many ways.
If you had to force me to choose my favourite early 2000s pop singer, P!nk would be my number one choice. Hands down.
Even though she has her own slew of conventional pop songs, the more she evolved, the more personal her music became, and the more I related to it. Songs like “Try” and “Perfect” are just some of the deeper insights she provides into human connection.
“What About Us” is a power anthem to have while heading into 2018, especially since everything in the world lately feels like it’s going to the shits. And being from a generation that is constantly battered and blamed for some many things while fretting over the burden of having to fix all the problems our parents generation have made, this is the song we need.
This is a song to remind us that even when things feel overwhelming and all-consuming, we can still fight back. We can still stand up and be ready for whatever is thrown at us. It’s not too late.
“Sticks and stones, they may break these bones
But then I’ll be ready, are you ready?
It’s the start of us, waking up, come on
Are you ready? I’ll be ready.”
Fighter – Christina Aguilera
Ok, maybe “Fighter” is sixteen years-old (Oh god! I think I just gagged a little bit!), but it is still one of Xtina’s more powerful songs that steps away from her pop princess persona. Sure, the music video is a little weird, but her powerful vocals and the underlying guitar solos help get the blood pumping and making me want to jump into a kickboxing arena. (And no, I’m not talking about the arena from her “Dirrty” music video.)
This song relates to so many of the terrible circumstances I went through as a kid and even into my teens. Hell, even over the last three years, there were incidents where this song describes all the hurt and anger I have gone through. It’s still a message I can relate to, even sixteen years later.
And as my little blast from the past, I’m keeping this song on repeat for the foreseeable future.
“‘Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter.”
Broken People – Logic ft. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man
Don’t ask me about my opinion of the movie Bright because I’m still confused about how I felt about it (even though I do want to watch the upcoming sequel). I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. I love to hate it? I hate loving it?
Honestly, despite the movie being mediocre (at best), it has a killer soundtrack. But in a toss-up between “World Gone Mad” by Bastille and “Broken People”, the latter has had left a more resonating affect on me. I’ve been listening to a lot Rag’n’Bone Man lately, and of course Logic won me over with his live performance at the VMAs last year. I instantly loved this song.
This song can be interpreted in so many ways, but for me, it reflects a powerful cry for those of us battling mental health issues. We all have our own struggles and have had to overcome defeating and judgemental circumstances that impacted our mental health, or how we have shared those experiences.
Even though we may feel like “broken people”, I’m not finished and I still have a lot to fight for. And even there are people who still judge me because of my mental illness, I’m not going to let it stop me from continuing to speak out.
Because “I’ve been through it / They know I do it for the people / I’m fighting so we be equal“.
“Broken we ain’t beaten,
There’s no glory in defeat.
We won’t fall into the cracks between our streets.
We’re broken people now.”
Imagination (from Haikyuu!!) – AmaLee
Laugh at me all you want!
But I have absolutely no qualms about having this on my list. Besides, is it really an “Amanda Playlist” without some sort of anime theme song on it? I THINK NOT!
And out of all the theme songs I could have picked (because I have so many favourites!), this seemed the less eyebrow raising, and I picked the english cover instead of the Japanese original by SPYAIR.
AmaLee’s cover translation is nearly 100% accurate, which makes its overall message still universal. It’s about not giving up. It’s about getting back up after stumbling because “the fall is half the fight”.
If you need an upbeat, positive outlook to the future and through any struggles you are currently going through, then listen to “Imagination”. I promise you’ll feel so much better!
And if you’re really inspired, go watch Haikyuu!! I promise you’ll get a good laugh and a good cry. 😉
“More than answers in a book.
I need a certain kind of hope,
Just a spark to inspire
The potential in my soul.
Something ‘Wow!’ and something ‘Woah!’
I once felt it long ago ,
And I’d give a hundred percent of my life for one more.”
Home Boys Home – Shanneyganock
ANY NEWFOUNDLANDERS ‘ERE TONIGHT?
If there is one thing I am proud of besides being a mental health advocate, it’s being a Newfoundlander! I take a great deal of pride of being from The Rock and have a great love for this dear island of ours. No matter what, where the land meets the sea is where my home (and heart) will forever be found. (Insert future book plug here!)
And not to brag, but we have some of the best musicians and music in all of Canada. 😀
And while “Home Boys Home” is a rally cry for us NLers to come together and fight for this dear province of ours that has definitely been struggling over these last few years, there is a greater message to take away from this song.
It’s about for fighting for what you love. It’s about standing up for the things you believe in. It’s also about taking pride in who you are, which I think is so important when living with a mental illness. As mental health advocates, we have to be proud of all we’re trying to accomplish, regardless of how hard our own battles are some days. Because “we believe in what we’re fighting for”.
It’s a positive song that won’t fail to get your toes tapping and pride swelling in your chest. Besides, it’s a great music video filled with some pretty rad NLers!
“I believe the time is right,
I believe we won’t go wrong;
Words like “can’t” and “never”
They won’t be around for long,
There’s a rediscovered spirit here
Of people proud and strong.
‘Cause we know what we’re fighting for,
We believe in what we’re fighting for;
We love what we’re fighting for,
Home, boys, home!”
Battle Symphony – Linkin Park
Did you seriously think I was going to make a list that didn’t have Linkin Park on it? HA! HA! HA!
(Yeah, yeah. I know some of you are rolling your eyes!)
It’s hard to believe this time last year I was gushing about how much I loved LP’s new song “Heavy”, unaware of the devastating pain that would follow a couple of months later. And honestly, it still bothers me. There are some days listening to Linkin Park hurts too much. It’s still incredibly sad.
But I credit a lot of my healing toward Linkin Park’s music, so it would be unfair to have at least one of their songs on my fight list. And after the death of Chester, “Battle Symphony” feels like the perfect fit heading into 2018.
I know 2018 won’t be completely “PTSD free”. I know I’ll have my bad moments because my mental illness never goes away. But I know now that I can recover. I know now that I can get back up after a hard battle. I know my illness is not my be all, end all.
And even on the bad days, I know I can turn on this song and remember my battle symphony.
“If my armor breaks
I’ll fuse it back together.
Please just don’t give up on me,
And my eyes are wide awake.”
Good Old Days – Macklemore ft. Kesha
Compared to the other songs, this is the slowest anthem on the list.
While I might not be as huge of a fan of Macklemore like my fiancé, I appreciate him opening up about his own struggles with depression and addiction.
“Good Old Days” is just one of the those songs that make you reminisce about growing up. As a kid, I knew something was wrong even though I didn’t know I was suffering from depression and anxiety. I was a kid, then teen, and now still-struggling adult, who always struggled with self-esteem and self-worth. There are times where I do look back and wonder how different my life could have been if I was more confident in myself.
And while I am so proud of the person I am today, I can’t help reflect back and wonder… but the good thing about this song is it doesn’t make me feel bad about what I went through. It leaves me feeling happy about the person I am now. Because there is always room to grow.
There is always time to change and make new memories, to make new “good old days”.
“Wish I would’ve gotten out of my shell
Wish I put the bottle back on that shelf
Wish I wouldn’t have worry about what other people thought
And felt comfortable in myself.”
1-800-273-8255 – Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid
Every Fighter playlist needs a sad song you can cry to, no matter how strong you are.
Do you know how many times I bawled over Logic’s VMAs performance? Too many to count. And I’m not talking about shedding a few tears. I’m talking about ugly crying over my laptop with tears and snot dripping down my face.
“1-800” is one of those songs that I wish I would’ve had when I was a teen, but it doesn’t go unappreciated at twenty-six years-old. I’ve lost count over the years of how many times I wished I was dead or how many times I entertained the idea of suicide.
Sure, growing up we had groups like Kids Help Phone, but as an abused teen who was even scared to breathe some days, I had no way to really express how much I was hurting. I didn’t have a way to really put it in words. Logic’s song really gives life to those feelings.
And even when things feel like rock bottom, they can get better. Believe me. They do.
I can’t wait to see him perform “1-800” at the Grammy’s later this week!
(Note: This is the first music video to make me cry since Macklemore’s “Same Love”. Seriously, watch it!)
“And I see my tears melt in the snow
But I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry anymore
I wanna feel alive
I don’t even wanna die anymore.”
Fire in My Soul – Walk Off the Earth
And when all else fails…
Every playlist needs a song you can “Dance It Out” too!
On a good day, on a bad day, even on a mediocre day, you need music you can dance around your kitchen to while you’re making supper.
Because we need to remember to celebrate the quiet moments, the times where we feel just like ourselves. Where the weight of the world isn’t resting on our shoulders or our mental illness isn’t breathing down our necks. Every moment counts when living with mental health issues, so it’s important to appreciate them.
Not every day is a good day, but it doesn’t mean it has to be a bad day either.
Take a few minutes, shake your booty while drinking from the milk cartoon, and remember to ignite the fire in your soul. 🙂
“Locked and loaded
Don’t I know it
Oh the moment is right to ignite
Let’s get going
I’m not waiting
So tonight we roll
I got that fire in my soul.”
So grab your phone, download some of these kiss-ass tunes, create your own playlists, and listen to your own Fighter Anthems!
Because it’s 2018! We’re gonna be unstoppable, just watch us.
Fight the good fight!