Fighting depression with music

It’s Friday! That means I do a multimedia Friday post. Earlier this week I participated in a teleconference support group for blood cancer patients. One of the topics discussed was what people do to try keeping depression away. I don’t think I’ve suffered too much from depression, but I have felt it creep in at times (especially this week when my sons muscle condition is getting worse and I fear I will lose a couple more teeth). The best way I’ve found to keep depression away is with music. In this post I will share some songs that help keep my depression away.

Now there are a lot of inspirational playlists out there. Those are fine and dandy. But I have found what works the best is to create a playlist with songs that have personal connections. I tend to use songs that help me remember an event or period of my life that brings back good feelings. I also make sure I don’t keep playing the same song; that way I don’t get caught in a different type of depression hoping for those times to come back. I actually have a lot more than five songs I use to keep depression at bay, but I thought I would keep this post somewhat short.

Jackson Browne – The Load Out and Stay

Not only is my first choice just a beautiful song, it has a personal connection for me. Back in the 90’s I was stationed in Bad Kreuznach, Gernmany. My unit was being deployed to Bosnia as part of Operation Joint Endeavor. We used trains to get our equipment to Hungary, and then rolled into Bosnia. The day we loaded up the trucks and equipment on the rail flatbeds I remember singing this song with a group of other soldiers. I vividly remember each of us taking a turn trying to sing the high part in Stay. We probably sounded ridiculous, but it was great fun. That has always been a vivid memory for me; and this song always brings back the fun we had that day.

Thin Lizzy – Whiskey in the Jar

This might seem like an odd song to fight depression, but it ties back to a series of memories from my army days. There used to be an Irish pub some of us would hang out at to drink beer (Kilkenny was my choice), shoot darts, and often we would sing this song. Those were some great nights!

Bob Seger – Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser

I consider the Travelin’ Man part of this duo to sum up how I lived life in my 20’s. I went all over and have some great memories from this time-period. But when I hit my 30’s I was finally ready to settle down, but it was hard. I just had to realize I didn’t need it all. For some reason this song always makes me feel good about the things I’ve done to get to where I am now in life. Plus I happen to be a huge Bob Seger fan.

Warren Zevon – Frank & Jesse James

I happen to think Warren Zevon was a genious, and could have made a playlist of just his songs. But this one particular lifts my spirits because it reminds me of my little boys. Actually I often call them Frank and Jesse if they are getting into some sort of trouble, which brothers tend to do. Plus I always found the chorus “keep on riding, riding, riding” to be inspirational. I’ll play this song and remember some of the adventures the boys have had and can’t help but smile.

Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson – Good Hearted Woman

I believe I have the best wife and love her to no end. But looking back I’m not sure how she stuck with me in the early part of our marriage. I was constantly traveling, working, and generally doing anything but being around for her. Those times have changed, and luckily she put up with some of my Travelin’ Man days carrying over into our marriage. This song reminds me of how lucky I am to have her!

Bonus Song – David Allen Coe – You Never Even Call Me By My Name

I’ve always like this song, but lately it has been upgraded to one of the songs that helps to keep depression away due to the cancer. David Allen Coe sang this song to throw a big finger at the country music industry that shunned him. I like to sing along with this song and pretend I’m giving a big finger to the cancer going throughout my body. Plus I think the last verse of this song is danged funny.

Bonus Bonus Song – D.A.D. – Laugh N A Half

I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep this to five songs… or even six. This last track comes from the Danish band D.A.D. and it has always touched me. I really use this song to keep in mind that I don’t have to worry about how others treat or perceive me. Plus I’ve always love the lyric: “When think about things I’ve done, I laugh out loud to no one, yeah to no one”.

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