There’s not much in this life, especially in this modern age, which connects us all, but the music is one of them. After all, it has been used as a means of expression and entertainment in all times and cultures. Music, it is said is a powerful tool as a means of expressing emotions such as love, hope, joy and regret as well as being a device for sharing our individual stories.
Everyone may not share the same taste in genres of music – some may prefer classical, whereas others enjoy hip-hop or rap for example. However, whatever the preference of music, there are certain songs and melodies within the world of music that we can identify with and that conveys the emotional state that we are in, in that exact moment in time.
Melodies and the rhythms of pieces of music, for example, can inspire us to move our bodies in which words cannot. However, as a writer and a person that loves words, I often find myself listening to the words of songs, and the story that it’s sharing with the world. Sometimes, I even relate to the lyrics; feeling that my story and emotions are being shared through the words of the song. By sharing with others, our favourite songs or pieces of music that affect us in some capacity is giving a glimpse into who we are as individuals.
So, I was thinking of those songs, that has resonated with me over the years, and especially those that I can relate to as someone living with a neurological condition. And so I thought I would share them in a blog post, so here is the soundtrack of a life with chronic illness…
‘Chains’ by Tina Arena
I pretend I can always leave
Free to go whenever I please
But then the sound of my desperate calls
Echo off these dungeon walls
This hit song from the early 90s tell the story of someone trapped inside a loveless relationship, but in my opinion, it also eerily describes the isolation and vulnerability that comes from living with a chronic condition.
Not only are we physically trapped within our fragile and uncooperative bodies but we are also a prisoner to the same surroundings for the majority of our time; the longest of our time away from home is very often the number of appointments that we have to attend. It often feels that I am at the mercy of my symptoms, especially since given the severity of the dizziness and the weakness in my legs, I am unable to leave the house by myself, resulting in being isolated within the same four walls for days on end. It may not be an actual dungeon or prison, but if very often feels that I am kept a prisoner by a neurological condition and perhaps why I relate to this song and specifically these lyrics as much as I do.
‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everythingWhat have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
Anyone living with chronic pain is no stranger to the word hurt. Chronic pain has unfortunately become a constant in my daily life, and all my legs seem to do is indeed hurt. Chronic pain often becomes all-encompassing; the only reality at that particular moment we can focus on and which is the only thing that feels real (“I focus on the pain/The only thing that’s real”).
But the song does not only delve into the realities of living with chronic pain, but we can relate to its lyrics that discusses one such consequence of living with a chronic illness which is the breakdown of relationships, such as friendships. Another repercussion of life dealing with severe symptoms is we very often need to cancel plans, often at short notice. Although those friends at the time are understanding and concerned, when we cancel plans more and more, those friends stop their invitations and seemingly walk out of our lives leaving us more isolated and lonely than ever.
The consequence of living with chronic pain is not only physical hurt but can also lead to emotional hurt also.
‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking but I
Gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held highThere’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
I want to hide the truth
I want to shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hideNo matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom comeWhen you feel my heatLook into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide