Words Matthew Besz
By age 10, I was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), a medical condition my family and I knew very little about at the time, and one that stereotypically as I got older, I did not want to be associated with, due to the debilitating nature of the condition, and the ‘negative’ stigmas associated with mental illness.
I am glad times are changing, and that mental illness is no longer a taboo topic.
During the early years of my childhood, I experienced bullying on a regular basis by my teachers and peers—who took pride in singling me out for being ‘different’ and unique, instead of encouraging me to embrace my individuality. I quickly learned that being different was ‘wrong’ and that being myself was a burden. I began to find solace in listening to music, which only gained momentum during the crippling years of high school. Music provided a healthy outlet and safe sanctuary for me to release all my anxieties, escape and forget about the world. A space for me to go, where I could be unapologetically me, and allow the healing nature of the beats and lyrics to encompass every inch of my soul and wash away any insecurities or worries plaguing my mind. Whether it be ten minutes or one hour, the elated and blissful feelings I experienced, did not compare in comparison to the hours spent enduring intensive psychological and psychiatric therapy, in conjunction with medication, which in my personal experience, did not benefit in comparison to the healing power of music.
In my younger years, as soon as I got home from school and completed my chores, I would run to my bedroom, lock the door, and depending upon how I was feeling that day, turn up the volume on my cheap headphones and blast one of Britney Spears’ (my favourite artist to this day) albums into my eardrums, until my body and feet hurt from dancing too much. Although my taste in music has evolved over the years and now includes more nu metal (alternative metal) and heavy metal because I find the lyrics more relatable to the challenges I face these days. You will always find me in my room or at the gym, head banging to one of Linkin Park’s heavy-hitting tracks, where I’m impersonating Chester Bennington (lead vocalist of Linkin Park), belting out one of his raw and spine-chilling screamo songs.
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that music would function as the natural healing key to the soul. When an artist writes lyrics, they draw upon inspiration and reflect on their own personal experiences, pouring their heart and soul, via raw emotions and energy, into their music. This in turn, allows listeners to feel those raw emotions and connect with the lyrics, either because we can relate to it or because we can empathise with the songwriter’s overall message. Just like it is therapeutic for the artist to release emotion, it is cathartic for the listener because they feel their emotions, feelings and struggles are validated, as they aren’t the only individuals suffering; thereby, connecting billions of individuals who are looking for relief in their daily struggles.
Studies have shown that when listening to music in its natural sound frequency, 432 Hz, the human body begins to repair and heal itself, with many individuals reporting lowered anxiety, reduced heart rate and blood pressure amongst other things. This result is due to the fact that the natural frequency of the universe is tuned to 432 Hz, making it a perfect harmonic equation for optimal healing of the human body, mind and spirit.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health, don’t be afraid to put on some headphones and rock out until your hearts content. I truly believe music is more powerful than it’s given credit for, so take of advantage of its healing abilities and escape and listen to your favourite tunes.