I have always loved music: playing it, singing it, and listening to it. Emotionally, of all my pastimes, I have found music the most evocative in terms of conjuring memory. When I was growing up I was selectively mute for many years. Music became the way that I expressed myself. It helped me to survive. I just didn’t speak to adults. I had one friend in school who spoke for me. After my first year at school, aged 5, my friend was taken from me as they put us in different classes. Due to my non communication I was labelled as “remedial,” requiring “special help.”
Listening mindfully is an excellent practice, simply because music is all around us and could become a problem, with songs evoking flashbacks and unwanted feelings and thoughts in all sorts of environments. It has taken me some time to extricate my emotional memory from music and learn to enjoy it as it is in each moment. Equally, music can express emotions effectively so that it can soothe, or change emotion, or help us to ‘sit with’ painful emotions. For me the important factor is about ‘when’ I am feeling the emotions: am I ripping the plaster off painful feelings from the past, or am I experiencing sadness, grief etc. in the here and now? In which case, music becomes an aid to observe, describe and then let go.
How does music affect your recovery?
I look forward to your thoughts.
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