I believe in the power of song. I believe that music can lift a person form the darkest despair and that it can rekindle long lost hope.
I have Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive, is characterized by severe mood swings that range from euphoric mania to debilitating depression. I have experienced both these highs and lows but the one thing that has kept me going is the power of song.
I have been singing in the San Francisco Girls Chorus since I was eight. Music has kept me alive, kept my heart beating. When all I wanted to do was shut out the world, music pulled me up. Sometimes it took all of my will to go to rehearsal but I did it because of my love for music.
One rehearsal we had a guest conductor come. I was in the throws of a depressive episode and had barely made it. We were touring to Japan that summer to represent the United States at the World Choral Symposium, singing spirituals to represent our nation. The guest conductor told us to stand in a circle, to take hands and close our eyes.
We stated to sing “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal.” As I sang I felt transformed. I felt a wave of calm come over me. I forgot about the turmoil in my life.
“Hark, I hear the harps eternal
Ringing on the farther shore
As I near those swollen waters
With their deep and solemn roar
An my soul though stained with sorrow
Fading as the light of day
Passes swiftly o’er those waters
To the city far away
Tears began to run down my cheeks. I had felt for so long that my soul really was stained with sorrow and that it was fading like the light of day. I had felt lifeless, trapped in my shell. I cried, not caring about what those around me thought. The simplicity of the music touched my heart, making me feel less frightened and alone.
Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, so beautifully and eloquently said,
Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Music does just that for me. It lifts me from my depression and moves me to tears. It is the only anti-depressant that has worked for me.
Music is my anti-depressant, my remedy. It lifts me from the darkest despair and heals my soul. When no one else is there, music comforts me. I believe with every fiber of my being in the power of song.
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