One of the major intentions of Sound of Mind is to give people a platform to share their own personal stories and experiences. Today Megan explains how her love of music has helped her cope with depression and bipolar 2.
When I was younger, Spice Girls and N’Sync played on constant repeat on my boombox. Britney Spears was my first poster on my wall. Pop music was something that I just really loved, and something that really kept me going as a 7 year old who was diagnosed with depression.
Flash forward to when I was 20. I had been diagnosed with biploar 2 and at that point I had let it take control of me for the past 7 years. I dyed my blonde hair black, gave myself bangs with rusty scissors, and would not be seen without my combat boots. I started listening to a lot of rock music because I believed that rock music could relate to me the most. Nirvana was my number one CD that blasted in my car everyday to and from work. But behind the scenes of the year 2014, I was a huge One Direction fan. “They’re my age, so it’s okay!” I would tell people. They might be a cheesy band to some people, but I loved them. I was also completely obsessed with the band, The 1975. My love of pop music was still there. A little bit hidden, but still in my life.
Later that year in 2014, I tried to take my life. This wasn’t the first time and it also wasn’t the first time I was put in a mental hospital, but it was the first time I’d be in there for my birthday. There is no music allowed in the hospitals and I was so angry at the world that I stayed in my room all day and only got up for meals. On the night of my birthday, I drew a picture of One Direction saying “happy birthday!” so I could see it when I woke up the next day. I needed to smile again and that picture did it.
I got out of the hospital after a week and my friend texted me as soon as I got out: “Are you going to The 1975 meet and greet?” I’d just got released, I was put on a new medication, and I was still depressed and angry. But I HAD to go to that meet and greet. I needed some sort of happiness. A couple days later, a few friends and I headed down to the city at 2 am to wait in line. I was extremely grumpy and tired, but I kept telling myself that I needed this. This would be a source of pure happiness for me. And I would like to say, it was.
The 1975 played a private show for the first few hundred people. I was 10th in line out of thousands and got a front row seat. I couldn’t stop smiling. I then met the whole band. I asked the lead singer if I could hug him and he said he couldn’t reach around the table, but he could hold my hand instead. In that moment, there were no hospital visits, there was no mental health issues, just the most exciting time in my life at 21 years old.
In 2015, I received ‘electroconvulsive treatment’(ECT for short). It’s where a doctor shocks your brain into giving you seizures in order for your brain chemicals to move around and make you happier. Yes, it’s legal. No, not a lot of doctors can perform it. I had 16 procedures in all. Too many procedures actually, because now I have permanent memory loss. But I can remember how music affected me during this time.
At 22 years old, I turned into the biggest One Direction fan ever. Yes, I loved them before, but now, I felt like a whole new fan. Looking back at it, One Direction and their music was a comfort mechanism for me. I was going through such a unique experience and I was all alone, but One Direction was there. Before my first round of 8 surgeries in early 2015, I would play One Direction albums while my mom drove me to the hospital to have them done every other day. It made me feel calm before the storm happened. Driving home after my first day of my procedure was torture. I was in severe pain and had to turn the One Direction album off because I couldn’t stand music. My mom didn’t know what to do so she said “Harry Styles loves you!” to which I replied in a state where I was still full of anesthetics: “I know he does. I’m not dumb.”
In August of that year, I went to my first and only One Direction concert. I could never compare The 1975 meet and greet to this concert, but all I can say is that I had the time of my life. I was dancing and yelling the lyrics to every song. My friends and I even tried to track Harry Styles down after the concert (I wanted to tell him thank you for getting me through a tough time in my life), but of course we never found him.
After that concert, I had my last round of ECT. 8 more surgeries to “fix me”. I started losing my memory then, but music was always there for me. In a time of my life where I couldn’t turn to anyone, music was my comfort. It turns out, ECT didn’t work for me. But I am no longer an angry young adult who let her bipolar dictate who she was. I am HAPPY. I am attending concerts and having the time of my life. I am buying CDs and driving everywhere so I can play them in my car. I dance around my room to the newest songs on the radio.
I am alive because of music.