When life tries to break me down, only music can make me feel all right. Let me share music's greatest gift through my top playlists!
Songs to Help You Through the Hard Times
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, from 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.
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"'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, on "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, "Waving Through a Window," original Broadway cast of "Dear Evan Hansen"
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 a 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 Illnesses
|Song Title||Artist||Release Year|
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
Questions & Answers
Question: I’m not sure if this is the place to go for this but I'm a college student that struggles with anxiety and depression. The past month or two have been draining. I don’t have any friends, I go to class and I go to work. That’s all I do. I've hit a point where I feel like my life is a constant mental breakdown. What do you recommend for getting myself out of this feeling of constant breakdown? I’ve tried doing things I enjoy but I don’t find enjoyment in anything anymore.
Answer: I am nothing near a mental health professional but I have experienced something like this and is still going through it today. There are so many things I still don't know about how we can heal or get better instantly and I know there's really no quick-fix for what you're we're going through, but what I do know is that it's a great sign that you are trying to look for ways to get better. The best thing I can suggest for you to do is to find someone to talk to. If you don't have friends, you can talk to a family member or a workmate that you know cares about you. And if you are able, please consider reaching out to a professional who would help you handle it better and find the root cause. I wish I was able to. I bet it would have helped me and I wouldn't need to face it all alone. So please, if you are able, ask for help. You can also try to break away a bit from your daily routine. If you have time, you can stroll and visit the nearest park, somewhere quiet and peaceful. Just breathe and try to empty your mind. Watch a movie or read a book. Try to focus your attention on something else. I know it's not as easy as reading a book or walking to a park or exercising but maybe inserting new fresh things in your day-to-day might help you ease the weight a bit. There's a trick I learned somewhere on the internet: when you are heavily anxious, focus on your senses. 3 things you can see, hear, feel, touch and smell. They say it can help you calm down a bit. What I personally do was writing, I don't know how many poems or stories I've written when I was depressed because of my anxiety. It didn't heal it altogether, but it helped me channel those emotions and energy somewhere else. I hope the best for you and I pray that you'll get better soon. Hang in there. It gets better I promise. Just like my favorite saying "This too shall pass."
Question: Can you please help me? I made a boy sad but I will never see him again and he blocked me but I want to say sorry.
Answer: I'm very sorry to hear that. If you really want him to know that you're sorry, you can try to find other ways to tell him. If you know his address, you can send him a letter or an email if you know his email address. You can also figure out if he has other social media accounts that you can DM. If you cannot do any of this, why not try to meet him in person? Or ask his friends or family for help? Just make sure you tell him how sincere your apologies are and promise him that it won't happen again. I hope this helps you and that everything would be better between you and this boy.
Question: Have you ever heard of musical articles Unsteady or Fireflies, and, if so, do you believe that they fit on your list of songs about anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses?
Answer: I have not heard of Unsteady so I checked it out. It is indeed a great song with a beautiful message. It, for sure, fits the list as well as Fireflies which is also a favorite of mine.
Question: I’m scared that if I tell people how I really feel (broken, sad, anxious) they will worry too much or think me weak and leave. Is it ok to show my true emotions?
Answer: Yes. It is okay to let people know exactly what you feel. It won't be easy. Some people won't be able to understand. But please know that your emotions are valid no matter what others think of it. It's okay to be sad and broken and anxious. It's all part of being human. If people leave after knowing your struggles, maybe they'd still need time to understand or maybe it's for the better. People aren't perfect, they will fall short. They will disappoint us sometimes and that is okay. It doesn't mean your weak. I know how hard opening up to other people is and I know for a fact the courage it takes. You are brave. Believe me. I cannot tell you not to worry, because that's what we deal with every day, but keep making steps forward, even how small, even how long it takes. Do things that you know will make you feel better. Share your worries with people, tell them your struggles, help them understand. Worry, be anxious, be scared, but still do it. Do it anyways. I hope you feel better soon. I'm rooting for you. Everything will be okay, some will just take longer than others, but we'll all get there in the end.
© 2018 ThatWallflowerJen
Is there any other songs or advises you can suggest for people who's battling with mental disorders? Please let us know in the comments below.
ThatWallflowerJen (author) from PH on June 21, 2020:
Hi, Alysia. I'm sorry to hear about what you're going through. I know it can be tough but I know you're tougher. I'm happy to hear that you're seeing a professional. Please, please, keep pushing on. Things will get better in time. Your grandpa would love to see you happy and strong. I will pray for you, your grandpa and your family. I hope this list helps you even the tiniest bit. Take care. Stay strong.
Alysia Jensen on June 14, 2020:
Honestly, hopefully these songs will snap me out of my ways, I feel so lonely, I have bad anxiety and that progressed to depression, I could lose my grandfather to pneumonia, I found out the news earlier I was crying so hard life isn’t fair.... I cry to much, I need to chill out but I can’t, even when there isn’t anything to cry about I cry, I try my hardest not to cry in school, it hard, I hate life and it sucks, I am seeing a physiologist, it’s working a little but I’m always on the verge of just crying and screaming my pain, no one knows how I feel, sometimes I wish I could just die.... I’m smiling on the outside but inside I’m dying and crying
Alex Grey on February 09, 2020:
Pretending by Alec Benjamin-
This song is about how we pretend everything is fine even while you are falling apart and even when you say you will make everything better and you will stop taking part in whatever the problem is or start doing something that will make it better.
Paper Crown by Alec Benjamin-
This song is about how people can push others away and won't let people get to know them and always keep their distance and as a result, they get hurt when they realize that no one is there for them because they pushed everyone away.
Annabelle's Homework by Alec Benjamin-
This song is about how sometimes you try so hard to please others and make others approve of you that you are constantly trying to make others happy that you end up getting hurt when you think the other person or people just think it's nothing and you have put in so much effort for the result you didn't want.
Demons by Alec Benjamin-
This song is about how many people hide their insecurities and take the people who know and try to help you for granted.
Mind is a Prison by alec benjamin-
This song is about how some people let anxiety and depression and fear control them and they trap themselves and limit the things they do because they are scared of the outcome.
LaustCawz on December 06, 2019:
"In The End"--Linkin Park
LaustCawz on December 04, 2019:
Flourish Anyway & anyone else reading--What's really frightening is that the vast majority of "mental health" workers (psychiatrists, psychologists & various others) often cause much more harm than healing. They also are anxious to label anything they can as a mental illness. Something to keep in mind: "mental illnesses" & whether they qualify to be included in the official mental health manual (whatever the latest edition is of the DSM) are actually voted on, rather than fitting a medical definition. Homosexuality was once officially considered a mental illness & it took a riot at the Stonewall pub to change that. It's looking like it may take another one to get people to rethink their stigmatizing attitudes towards autists/Aspergians (the worst offenders include Autism Speaks--ask the autistic/Aspergian community). In any case, the mental health profession requires massive reform for it to be of help to anyone. Anyone skeptical about that should research the issue (look up the Rosenhan Experiment, listen to the song "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies--look up the lyrics separately if you can't understand them all--& remember a quotation from the Oscar-winning film, "Ordinary People"--which comes from a psychiatrist character who's VERY different from real-life psychiatrists: "Feelings are scary & sometimes, they're painful & if you can't feel pain, then you're not gonna feel anything else, either."
ThatWallflowerJen (author) from PH on August 18, 2019:
Hi, Alex! Thank you for your great recommendation.
Alex on August 15, 2019:
Therapy by All Time Low is a great song that helps
ThatWallflowerJen (author) from PH on July 16, 2019:
Hi, Kenz! D'you mean Unsteady by X Ambassadors? It would be my first time to hear it. Fireflies by Owl City is a favorite of mine and my brother. Thank you so much for sharing :)
Kenz on July 14, 2019:
My songs that I am suggesting is Unsteady and Fireflies
ThatWallflowerJen (author) from PH on April 26, 2019:
Hi, Chloe. I first heard about NF when I was researching for this article and I'm really glad I came across his songs. They've helped me a lot. Thank you very much for sharing.
Chloe Beining on April 24, 2019:
I love this article so much! Some other songs that I listen to that talk about anxiety, depression, and other mental illness are "Paralyzed" by NF, "Therapy Session", also by NF, "Be Alright" by Dean Lewis (which has a clean version and a non-clean one.) Honestly, I can say that all of NF's songs are the best about Depression and what it's like to go through this stuff in life.
ThatWallflowerJen (author) from PH on March 07, 2019:
Hi. Thank you very much for sharing. I appreciate it. I will surely check those out and put them on my playlist. Thank you.
Juliet Meakin from London UK on March 07, 2019:
Great article. Just heard Scream Please by The Used Notes, really relevant to this topic. In terms of mental state, The Instrumental by Lupe Fiasco is also on topic in a more 'effects of modern society' way.
ThatWallflowerJen (author) from PH on February 09, 2019:
I'll surely add that to my personal list. Thank you so much for sharing.
Christinamellxx on February 09, 2019:
Michael In The Bathroom by Be More Chill is one of the songs that relates to me and is about anxiety.
Beautiful by Christina Aguilera is a good song to help you when you feel unsure of yourself.
ThatWallflowerJen (author) from PH on January 26, 2019:
I'd surely check out these bands for sure. I always try to find songs to listen to when I'm experiencing these things, so thank you so much for sharing.
Isabelle on January 25, 2019:
Songs by Twenty One Pilots, Linking Park, and NF are some of the best musical artists that have helped my depression and anxiety
they talk about depression and anxiety frequently and are very honest about stuff in their songs