I have a music playlist on my phone called Melancholy. I think this fact makes my husband feel a little uneasy. After all, why would I seek out music that fuels my sadness? While perhaps this may be a misguided practice, when I feel an incoming heavy weight of hurt sometimes it helps me to sink into it in order to better understand where it came from and what it needs from me. Sometimes softening into my melancholy feels as though I am positioning myself in a place to better hear from my wounded parts.

There are certain song lyrics and melodies that allow me to sink into my hurt – not to get lost in it – although that does happen at times. But the dark places are where my greatest wounds exist, and from time to time I feel a pull to venture there.

My experiences with dark feelings often come without warning. They originate from every day circumstances that slyly connect themselves to something deeply painful within me. I can’t often make those connections in the moment. My nervous system is too activated to allow space for that. This is where music enters the equation. The music I am drawn to in these moments both allows me to deeply feel the rising heavy emotions while also offering a soothing and comforting release in the melody and lyrics expressed. This keeps me from avoiding or pushing away emotions that need to rise to the surface. It also feels as though the music gives me permission to feel and connect with my dark feelings. It allows me to feel while also gently reassuring and reminding me that I don’t need to live there – that I can and will rise from that dark place.

I think being open to my darkness helps to make me less afraid of it. I think this curiosity is a crucial part of my healing. The important thing for me to be mindful of is that my use of music to connect to these feelings can be productive as long as the feelings are temporary. Extended stays in darkness seem to require a different approach or intervention for me. But for my intermittent encounters with darkness I will continue to open my wounded heart to music and take solace in the sounds of my Melancholy.

Sunshower by Chris Cornell – one the most frequently played songs on my Melancholy playlist

Do songs of melancholy bring you comfort or distress when you are in struggle? What helps you connect to the parts of yourself that are calling out for attention in those moments?

25 thoughts on “Melancholy

    1. I can relate to that. It feels like it makes room for an acceptance of those feelings which then allows some of it to be released. Thank you for reading and for your thoughts.

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  1. Sometimes they do. When the feeling of sadness is too overwhelming, melancholic music tends to help it vent out. But there’s a fine line in turning it to too sad, that’s what I believe. Everything should be balanced. πŸ˜‡

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    1. I hear you. Sometimes it’s a slippery slope towards an unhealthy retreat into those feelings. It’s definitely something I’m trying to pay more attention to – to help determine when it serves me and when it becomes harmful. I think most of the music I gravitate towards in these moments is sad and heavy but it also brings forward a glimmer of hope in the midst of that sadness. I think that helps to make a difference for me.

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      1. I am sure it does. πŸ˜‡ And about your husband, I really think he cares for you to ask you about the choice of words for a music playlist. These are really tough times and he from what I can think(I maybe wrong) must be thinking that you are not communicating with him much. Take care Sara. All the best. πŸ˜‡

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      2. He absolutely cares. He may not understand all of my experiences and methods of processing, but he cares deeply – and that’s all that matters.
        Thank you for your thoughts. Take care as well. πŸ’•

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    1. Yes! I used to hide the fact that I even have this playlist. It felt like I was wallowing in sadness. But the more I am learning about myself the more I understand how important acceptance of my feelings has become in helping me to move through them.

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! I am so glad to hear that my words can be both relatable and allow you to connect to your own feelings. πŸ’•


  2. I listen to sad songs when I am feeling down to help me cry it out, because relieving that tension helps. Otherwise I bottle it and become destructive. I also do the same thing when angry; I sing to Linkin Park and Imagine Dragons in the car and at home

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    1. Yes! My tendency is the same – to fear it and hide from it. Yet it seems that being open to it and willing to venture into it is where my greatest healing progress is made. I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts. πŸ’•

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  3. thank you for starting this conversation. i have felt this way about music for a long time, and especially about metal music. i use it medicinally rather than regularly these days, but it is a great solace and support when i do.

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  4. Music is an amazing medium for bringing out so many emotions both happy and sad. I tend to bottle up my feelings at times but I have found when I connect with a particular song or artist, it allows those feelings to come out and get some air. I use this as a way for me to acknowledge them and then release the anger, sadness etc. I cannot even begin to imagine what pain you have gone through, but I have so much admiration for the courage it must have taken you to be so open about your experience. I thank you for being so brave Sara.

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    1. Yes, giving those feelings some air is a perfect way to describe my experiences with this as well. Thank you for your thoughts and incredibly kind words. πŸ’•


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