35 Best Hit Songs About Anxiety, Depression, and Other Mental Illnesses
Some would think that celebrities live a beautiful and perfect life, but some of us don't realize that they are human and feel how we all do. This is why there are a lot of sad songs that are made by singers who are personally experiencing hardships in their lives. Even to this day, there are issues that people tend to shy away from like mental health and how serious it is. They give voice to those who might fear speaking up. These great artists opened their hearts and gave us songs that get real about mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
Here's a list of 35 amazingly heartfelt and incredibly honest songs that could help us understand anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. These songs give us the strength to live with our own daily battles with mental health.
1. "In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes
Artist: Shawn Mendes
Album: Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes is one of the youngest, most popular, and most talented male singers of this generation. He has written chart-topping songs and albums. Still, he is not safe from the struggles of being human. He recently made his experience with anxiety known when he released his song "In My Blood."
This song makes us more aware of the struggles people with anxiety are going through. If you are someone diagnosed with anxiety disorder or someone who is feeling down and anxious, music can help us realize that we may be feeling this way. These songs remind us that we'll get through it and that there is always someone who can understand.
It was kind of something that hit me last year. Growing up, I was a pretty calm kid. I knew people who suffered from anxiety, found it kind of hard to understand, and then when it hits you, you’re like, Oh my god, this is crazy. When I play that song, I go ‘Just so you know I’m okay. The best thing about it is that it’s not all down. The whole reason I wrote the song was to be like, at the very end, ‘It’s not in my blood to do that.’— Shawn Mendes (during an interview with Zane Lowe)
Laying on the bathroom floor,
I'm overwhelmed and insecure,
give me something
I could take to ease my mind slowly
Just have a drink and you'll feel better
Just take her home and you'll feel better
Keep telling me that it gets better
Does it ever?— Shawn Mendes (In My Blood)
2. "Breathin" by Ariana Grande
Artist: Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande could not explain it any better when she was asked about one of her songs called "Breathin" on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.
'Breathin' is about breathing...when you're anxious. It's about anxiety and feeling like you can't get a full breath. It's like the worst feeling in the whole world. It's a song about that feeling...I was having lots of [anxiety attacks]. We were in the studio, we were writing and I was like, 'Ugh I can't breathe.' And they were like, 'We're going to write this song.' And I was like, 'Okay, I still can't breathe, but we'll write it.'— Ariana Grande (The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon)
This song explains how you can still be anxious while doing something you've always done before. Ariana has been doing music for years now and she still can have anxiety attacks while doing what she loves to do. The thing about anxiety is that it can happen to you at any moment, in any situation, doesn't matter if there's a reason for it or not.
Some days, things just take
way too much of my energy
I look up and the whole room's spinning
You take my cares away
I can so over-complicate,
people tell me to medicate— Ariana Grande (Breathin)
3. "Sober" by Demi Lovato
Artist: Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato basically grew up in front of our eyes. From her teen shows and movies on Disney Channel to her successful career in music, Demi inspired many young girls and guys alike. But with everything happening in her life as she was growing up, it's really hard not to fall into things that could affect her life in the long run. She even released a documentary on her YouTube channel that shows us the struggles she had with substance abuse. She was also known to went through bullying and self-harm when she's younger. The documentary shows her continuous progress with battling addiction. But just recently she released a song called "Sober" that seemed to serve as a confession of her relapse after being sober for five years.
Lovato called the song "My truth..." in a tweet as she shared a clip of the music video for the song "Sober." It is a song that is so direct and honest. It is her message of apology to all the people who saw and follow her battles with mental health, including her family, friends, and fans. It showcases what she is still going through and how hard it is for her knowing that a lot of people are rooting for her. Demi is no doubt one of the strongest artists I know. She holds on and fights for the better after a very difficult and long battle with her mental health.
Call me when it's over
'Cause I'm dying inside
Wake me when the shakes are gone
And the cold sweats disappear
Call me when it's over
And myself has reappeared— Demi Lovato (Sober)
4. "Save Myself" by Ed Sheeran
Artist: Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran has created some of the most beautiful love songs of this generation. But this song, in particular, is more sad and emotional. It is about giving so much to other people and into the world and forgetting about yourself in the process. It is a beautiful song that can help us realize that in this world which, sometimes, can try to bring us down and ask so much of us, we also need to take care of ourselves and prioritize our own happiness. People with depression feel like they are not enough and they don't matter. They would feel less important and usually focus on other people while ignoring the weight that they have themselves. It is a wonderful thing that this song exists because it will help us understand people in this situation. This song also makes us recognize our own mental state and, hopefully, treat ourselves a little bit better.
Life can get you down
so I just numb the way it feels
I drown it with a drink
and out-of-date prescription pills
And all the ones that love me
they just left me on the shelf
So before I save someone else,
I've got to save myself— Ed Sheeran (Save Myself)
5. "Perfect" by Anne-Marie
Album: Speak Your Mind
In this day and age, people tend to give so much attention to physical appearances because of how easy it is to compare each other on social media. We often feel bad about how we're not meeting society's standard of beauty. We tend to feel like we're never going to be enough for the world that we live in. This could create a mindset that would do more harm than good. Body-shaming is one negative act that we may experience and definitely affects our self-confidence. It may cause us to be depressed and have other mental issues. That is why this song can really help us realize that we can love ourselves and our bodies no matter what other people say.
Don't feel like putting make-up on my cheeks
Do what I wanna
Love every single part of my body
Top to the bottom
I'm not a supermodel from a magazine
I'm okay with not being perfect
'Cause that's perfect to me— Anne-Marie (Perfect)
6. "Waving Through a Window" From the Dear Evan Hansen Original Broadway Cast Recording
Artists: Ben Platt, Original Broadway Cast of Dear Evan Hansen
Play: Dear Evan Hansen
When you have anxiety, dealing with other people can be very difficult. Sometimes, you feel like a push-over and that you're always left out. It feels like no one sees or hears you. You would feel like your voice doesn't matter and no matter what you do, there is still this wall that blocks you off from the rest of the world. I usually feel this way, and it can be pretty hard and frustrating. One of the songs that I listen to whenever I feel anxious and depressed is "Waving Through the Window" from the musical Dear Evan Hansen. It has a beautiful melody, but the lyrics are the most important part for me. It is about someone who is struggling to feel included and heard. It also shows us that even in the moments when we feel that we don't belong and that we're always less than what we should be, there still someone that could understand and that we are not alone. We can still be found.
When you're falling in a forest
and there's nobody around
Do you ever really crash,
or even make a sound?
Did I even make a sound?
Did I even make a sound?
It's like I never made a sound
Will I ever make a sound?— Ben Platt, Original Broadway Cast of Dear Evan Hansen (Waving Through a Window)
7. "Save My Soul" by JoJo
Sometimes, life can be so cruel. Some situations can even cause us pain and suffering. Sometimes, we can even fall for things that can ruin us. It makes us feel like there is nothing we can do about our pain. This song from Jojo is a song that is about addiction (whether it is about addiction to bad love or, literally, to substance). It is about being stuck, hopeless, and feeling like there's no one that could save us anymore.
'Save My Soul' is about addiction. Of all kinds. I wanted to convey the feeling of powerlessness I’ve felt in my life in an uncomplicated way and show a range of what it might look like for others who’ve been there.— Jojo (on her YouTube channel)
You've got your chains
wrapped around me so tight
Give me enough just to keep me alive
I try to run but it hurts every time, I try
Lord I try and I can't say no
Lord I try and I can't say no— JoJo (Save My Soul)
8. "Fake Happy" by Paramore
Album: After Laughter
Genres: New wave, Pop rock, Electropop
"After Laughter" might be Paramore's most honest and emotional album to date. The songs in the album are more about emotions and thoughts that we may not usually hear from mainstream music. Just like some of the songs on this album, "Fake Happy" is sad, deep, and kind of depressing. Nevertheless, it is wrapped beautifully with a happy upbeat melody. The song starts off with a few lines of sad slow tune that expresses the emotion of the song directly and continues to the first verse with the upbeat dance tune. It is one of my most favorite songs that relate to depression and how we try to hide our sadness to the world. One of the most beautiful points in the song is when the lyrics explain that we are all somehow going through the same thing. It reminds us that it may not be a good thing to play pretend. Life can be cruel and sad, but there is no other way to deal with the world without expressing your true emotions.
I hate phoniness. It’s not fun to be around, it’s not fun to do yourself. But then there are these moments in your life where you’re professional and you have to have grace with yourself, you have to have grace with other people and work hard, but it’s that self-preservation thing.— Hayley Williams (from their Beats 1 interview)
I been doing a good job of makin' 'em think
I'm quite alright
But I hope I don't blink
You see its easy when I'm stomping on a beat
But no one sees me when I crawl back underneath— Paramore (Fake Happy)
9. "Head Above Water" by Avril Lavigne
Artist: Avril Lavigne
It is no wonder that Avril Lavigne is an icon to this generation. Most of us grew up hearing her music and loving her style. But one of the things that not many of her listeners know is that she's been battling with Lyme Disease, an infectious disease caused by a bacteria named Borrelia. She revealed this during one of her magazine interviews back in 2015. This incredibly raw and honest song details her struggle and how she's praying for strength to manage in the midst of her painful situation. Avril now uses this song to raise awareness about her disease and also to raise funds to help people that are going through the same thing. It is now deemed one of the most inspiring songs of 2018 and can be one of the songs we listen to when we lose hope to whatever we are going through in life.
Yeah, my life is what I'm fighting for
Can’t part the sea, can't reach the shore
And my voice becomes the driving force
I won't let this pull me overboard— Avril Lavigne (Head Above Water)
10. "1-800-273-8255" by Logic ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid
Featured artists: Khalid, Alessia Cara
In life, a lot of things will try to break us down and sometimes, it would take all of our strength and guts to keep standing. Everyone has their ups and downs and, sometimes, we find ourselves in very hard situations where we feel hopeless and helpless. During these times, it is important to remember that we are not alone and there are people that can help. There will always be people that understand where we are and what we're going through. It will be hard and it will be moments we'd be close to giving up but always remember that we'd get through everything for as long as we keep holding on. Let this wonderful song help us realize that life is precious and we are precious. If you are struggling from depression and other mental illness and feels like losing hope, please reach out. There are people who love you and want you in their lives. There are a lot of hotlines you can call through these times and I hope we all realize that we matter. We always matter.
I've been on the low
I been taking my time
I feel like I'm out of my mind
It feel like my life ain't mine
I don't wanna be alive
I don't wanna be alive
I just wanna die today— Logic (1-800-273-8255) ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid
11. "26" by Paramore
Album: After Laughter
12. "Heavy" by Linkin Park
Artist: Linkin Park
Album: One More Light
13. "Fix You" by Coldplay
Genre: Alternative rock, Post-Britpop
14. "The Village" by Wrabel
Album: The Village
15. "Human" by Christina Perri
Artist: Christina Perri
Album: Head or Heart
20 More Hit Songs About Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Illness
16. Who You Are
19. Let Your Tears Fall
20. Breathe Me
21. Smoke & Mirrors
22. Hard Times
23. The Doctor Said
25. The Lonely
26. How to Save a Life
28. Nobody's Home
30. Safe and Sound
31. Fake Smiles
32. Lost In the Moment
33. Give Me Love
Lia Marie Johnson
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