I love music. I love listening to it, having it on in the background, seeing it live, popping on a record. I love the way music can make me feel any and every emotion there is, sometimes without even trying. Most importantly, I love music because of the way it impacts my mental health.
That’s why, each month on My Brain’s Not Broken, I’m going to share a song with you. It might be a song I can’t stop listening to at the moment, or a song I have a history with. It could be a song I don’t know much about, or I’ve listened to a thousand times. Regardless of the reason, these songs have inspired me and my mental health, and I want to share them with you. Whether you’ve heard of them or not, I hope these songs give you more insight into my world and my approach to mental health.
I deliberated a lot about which song I’d choose for this first post. There are SO many songs that mean a great deal to me and have impacted my mental health but in this case, I need to start from the beginning. For this first song of the month, I’m writing about the first song I ever heard that was about mental health: “Don’t Matter Now” by George Ezra.
Before I go forward, I should also mention that George Ezra is easily my favorite singer of all-time. I love his music and it’s made a huge impact on my life. “Don’t Matter Now” was the lead single for George’s second album after a very successful debut album. While I love the song itself, there was also an interview about the song (released in 2017) that had a huge impact on me.
I remember wanting to read the article after seeing the headline: “George Ezra addresses battles with anxiety on new single ‘Don’t Matter Now’”. I was floored. In June of 2017, my life was going every which way. My first year of post-college life had been rocky, and I was starting a new job at the time. I didn’t think I had a good handle on my anxiety or depression. I felt confused, directionless and alone. But seeing my favorite artist be open about his own anxiety meant so much to me. And making this song the featured song of a new album put a lot of weight behind that message. Here’s a snippet from the interview:
“In time I realised that it wasn’t just me that was suffering from anxiety, it wasn’t just me that was confused, and that there’s no harm in not always understanding what’s going on in the world around you.”
The tune of the song is light, boppy and care-free. It’s a perfect song to play when you want to roll down the windows in your car on a sunny day. And for a song like that to have a reminder about anxiety and worry – I didn’t think music could do something like that. This song was one of the first that significantly shifted the way I view my anxiety and depression. It taught me how to listen to music and gain meaning from it, not only from what the artist is saying but for myself as well.
It’s been six years since that song came out, and a lot has changed since then. But that message, that it’s okay to not always understand what’s going on, stays in my head. It stays with me when I’m anxious. It stays with me when I’m afraid. It stays with me when the world is too overwhelming. This song feels like closing my eyes and taking a deep, long breath. It’s a reminder that there’s nothing wrong with being honest about how you feel. Sometimes we don’t – or can’t – understand what’s going on. That’s okay, and we’ll be okay. I’m grateful for the message this song send, as well as the artist who shared it. It changed the way I viewed my own anxiety, and I know I’m not alone in saying that. Thank you, George Ezra!