“That’s why sad songs make me happy
‘Cause I don’t have to feel alone”
I wanted to start this post with that picture because before I read it, I didn’t even realise just how many anxiety attacks I’ve actually had. Because, yes, I pretty much thought that they were always hyperventilating and rocking back and forth, but it turns out I’ve experienced all of those many times.
Today, I wanted to talk about an anxiety attack that I had the day before the start of this semester. It was a pretty bad one (of the unpredictable bouts of rage variety) and, incidentally, it happened because of the lecturer of the study-unit that has me writing this blog. It was a stupid reason that I had this attack but then again most of the thoughts that circle your head when these things happen are illogical and you know they’re probably not true but they still terrify you anyway.
So here’s a story: the week before the first lecture of this unit, I received an email from this lecturer asking the students to find any online resource which we can use to present who we are to the class, and send it to him. First of all, he said it should take about 2 minutes to find this thing that describes us but I spent around 5 days thinking about it because, naturally, it spun me into an existential crisis of who the hell am I? Also, he used the word ‘present’ which meant I’d have to talk in front of a whole class (THE HORROR) and that didn’t do any favours for the way my mind works. So, yes, I spent the entire week worrying about this tiny thing which was a huge thing for me and by the Sunday before the lecture, it had all built up and exploded into a very angry anxiety attack. Don’t you just love the irrationality of it all? Thanks, S.A.D.
I couldn’t sit still at all and I felt so much anger all at once. I started pacing around the house and felt like I needed to hit something, so I did. I screamed into a pillow and cried and I went kind of nuts. And because by this time I had some reasoning skills imparted to me from my therapy sessions, I turned to the music that always calms me down. Of course, for this kind of situation, I needed a different type of music than usual and this is where I digress.
Music is a very personal thing, right, I mean, people tend to be very picky about what they like to listen to. About 80% of the time, if I can relate to the lyrics, then chances are I will like the song no matter the genre. For instance, I never thought I would be able to stand rap but after certain Hollywood Undead songs and Twenty One Pilots, I am now more inclined to give it a chance. The point of this digression is that different styles of music can help you out for different moods and, for me, the best genre for my anxiety, particularly the anger kind, is metal. I prefer metalcore because I need some clean vocals in there but overall I feel it’s just the kind of music that has a knack of making you feel like ‘Fuck it, I’m okay’. Like you can give the finger to your problems and walk away.
Back to the story, I turned on my stereo and I put in my favourite album of my favourite metalcore band and turned the volume up so high, the floors were vibrating (sorry, neighbours), and I sang along. And this is what is so great about metal because you can’t sing along without yelling and, boy, is that cathartic. I sang along to the entire album and by the end, I was calm.
So, to end this post, here are 2 songs from that album which always make me feel better (I couldn’t decide which one I liked more):