Nine Songs Which Have Helped Me Get Through My Depression, From a Sad Girl

Music is powerful. 

It is not just a harmonious mix of instruments and vocals, it is storytelling and has healing properties for both the artist and the listener. Music has changed and continues to shape my life. At a young age I suffered from depression and anxiety and one of the only things that could calm me down was music. The lyrics spoke to my soul and the melodies took me to another dimension where my sadness didn’t exist. On the days I couldn’t go to sleep Jhene Aiko’s soothing voice rocked me to sleep and on the days I felt nothing, it was H.E.R’s lyrics which brought me back to life. 


I created this short playlist of nine songs which helped me survive my depression. Each song was played on repeat for hours on end, sometimes for weeks at a time and symbolize a time in my life when I was depressed. I hope these songs can comfort, uplift and help others survive their own demons. 


1. Youth by Daughter

This song is my go-to sad song and each time I hear it I understand it a little differently and a little deeper each time. This was my first sad anthem which I played on repeat until my whole family was sick of it. The guitar inspired me to learn how to play and even though I haven’t played for years, I still remember the chords by heart. The lyrics to Youth, in my opinion, resonate with those who have experienced depression because they speak to the mental and physical battles we face when we are in that space.


2. Can I by Alina Baraz, Galimatias 

When I experienced my first break up this was my sad song for the months of heartbreak which followed. The song changed my perspective on myself and who I want to be in this world after being free from a relationship which had changed me. Her lyrics, “ I bet you never even knew, that there’s a universe inside of you,” introduced me to my spirituality and opened my eyes to the kind of energy I am created of and the energy I want to give off to the people around me. It is because of this song that today I repeat the mantra, “I will go forth in this universe radiating positivity, love and light for myself and for everyone around me.” When you listen to this song you feel ethereal and omniscient, like the universe is holding you in the palm of her hand protecting you. 


3. Promise by Ben Howard 

Promise is one of my favorite songs, not only does it ease my anxiety but when you listen to this song with your eyes closed at 3 am I promise you you will feel like you have been transported to another universe. His soft vocals paired with simple guitar chords slow your heart rate and you feel a warm feeling build in your chest. If you are looking for a song to ease your pain this is the song for you. 


4. I’m Not Ok by H.E.R

H.E.R is my all time favorite artist. No seriously, I have every single one of her songs on my playlist. Her song I’m Not Ok is raw and exposes something in ourselves that most of the time we do not like to admit. Sometimes we aren’t ok, and that’s ok. The song is a testament to the artist's name which is an acronym for, “Having Everything Revealed;”  the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. This song made me realize that It was time to ask for outside help for my depression. Even if you don’t ask for help or have the strength to talk to someone, for those three minutes and twenty five seconds you can release it all and be in a safe place to sit with the feeling of not being ok. 


5. Angels by Khalid 

When I was growing up I believed a guardian angel followed me around protecting me. But as I grew up I lost sight of this beautiful image and began to feel alone and lost. It wasn’t until I heard this song that it reminded me of when I was younger and would talk to the moon believing she was my angel. Khalid’s lyric, “the angels give me strength, and I’m not giving up,” pushed me to get back into my spirituality and not give up. 


6. everything I wanted by Billie Eilish 

Billie Eilish’s music is eerie, dark and beautiful. The first time I heard this song I cried nonstop for the entire four minutes and then hit repeat and cried all over again. Her verse, “I had a dream, I got everything I wanted. Not what you think, and if I’m being honest, it might’ve been a nightmare,” hit me like a train. The song is about isolation and feelings of insignificance and I must admit it is triggering so make sure you are prepared before listening to it. That being said, I personally find comfort in the lyrics knowing I am not the only one who experiences these emotions and demons. 


7. Butterfly by UMI 

One summer everywhere I looked I saw butterflies. Some believe they are messengers from other dimensions telling you to focus on your own personal growth. Regardless of their significance, it was around the same time that I found this song Butterfly and fell in love with it. The rich bass is definitely a vibe and the lyrics spoke to my feelings of escapism from the ordinary. My favorite verse is; “butterfly, butterfly take me on your wings and fly. Wish I was just like you, maybe then I’ll see the light. And I could be free again, free from my troubles and my sins. Free from the tears inside and free from the fears I try and hide away.”  


8. 10K Hours by Jhené Aiko ft. Nas

Jhené Aiko is one of my favorite artists. Her music heals the mind, body and soul. Not only do her lyrics reveal unexplainable emotions, but when she creates music she actively includes soundwaves and vibrations with healing properties. In her album Chilombo, every track features sound bowls which are used in meditation music and meant to balance your chakras and relieve stress. Her song 10k Hours speaks on mourning the loss of someone you have loved and how those who have lost have a new viewpoint on life. Her song reminded me of how fragile life is and to cherish the people you love.  


9. Good Days by SZA

Good Days is my most recent song that has kept me afloat. The song is a feel good song  which elevates your soul. In a world full of pain, SZA reminds me of good days in the past and hope for good days in the future. 


These nine songs were my medicine for hard times and gave me the strength to push forward. For those who experience or have friends who have experienced depression, I hope you know better days are ahead and to try what I call, music therapy because I truly believe music is one of the most powerful things on this earth. 


My "Sad Songs for Sad Days" playlist: 



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