My PP Journey Playlist

I heard a tune on the radio recently that took me on a trip down memory lane. I was instantly transported back to Easter 2006 & the very beginning of my PP ‘journey’. The track was number one in my list below. This made me realise I could track my entire PP experience through the music that was around at the time of each phase. Before getting ill I really enjoyed music & watching bands live, but throughout my illness I didn't actively choose to listen to any - music was just another thing that I couldn't enjoy as I did before. I wonder if this was why I vividly remember the bits I that I did hear during that time? I also wonder if the extreme highs of my psychosis & the lows of my depression afterwards heightened my senses so that I was affected far more by what I heard?

I guess we all occasionally get these reminders even for years afterwards; the reminders of the extreme times, the fear, the sadness, the loss, the recovery & the joy, that hit you out of the blue. Music is such a personal choice & the tunes I've listed below will probably mean very little to other PP women, but I’m really interested to hear if other people have ‘PP tunes’ too & if so, why they chose them.

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Here’s my playlist in chronological order.

1. ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley:

This track was number one in the charts when my eagerly awaited, first son was born. Yes, really!! (If I could, I’d rename it to ‘Temporarily Crazy’).

“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind

There was something so pleasant about that place.

Even your emotions had an echo…in so much space”

“And when you're out there without care,

Yeah, I was out of touch

But it wasn't because I didn't know enough

I just knew too much.”

“Does that make me crazy?”

Hearing this track I was instantly transported back to a time when my mind exploded & my world & everything as I knew it ended (for a short time). I remembered the kaleidoscope of random disjointed thoughts, nightmares & images from past & present, the terror & the confusion all mixed up together with the joy of having a wonderful, healthy new son. I remember watching my mind spiraling & being aware even at that time, that I had the fight of my life on my hands - but it’s a fight that I along with many others have overcome. Every time I hear this track it’s really emotional & poignant & yet actually, really comforting - it reminds of how far we've come & how good things are now.

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2.‘All Sparks’ by the Editors:

A few days after I’d been diagnosed with PP I was still manic, euphoric; I felt my brain ‘sparking’ & I couldn't focus on TV, books or anything at all even for a few minutes. I was listening to the hospital radio on headphones & heard this track as I lay back on the bed, sinking & melting into it, blissfully turning into liquid. Wow! I was sent to exhilarating new, magnificent heights. I’d always thought the medication had done that, but now I realise it was PP itself. I was deeply affected by this track & in my lucid moments I took comfort in the lyrics – I thought the music was a message just for me & was being played only to help me.

“You're answering questions that have not yet been asked

All sparks will burn out in the end

You burn like a bouncing cigarette on the road

All sparks will burn out in the end

You're casting opinions at people who need them

All sparks will burn out in the end

Well be careful angel, this life is just too long

All sparks will burn out in the end”

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3. ‘Monster’ by The Automatic:

This is the next track on my playlist & it’s one I really can’t bear to listen to. I remember hearing it & as I was being driven to Sunday lunch at my mother-in-laws – normally a cheerful event. I was glad of the distraction but felt like a zombie, not a woman or a human being, estranged & a soulless shell of what I used to be. I didn't know who or what I was, no-one understood. I was the monster.

“Confused, mind bruised, it seeps out

It seeps out, face down, hometown looks so grey

Looks so grey, looks so grey.”

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4. ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol:

I remember hearing this track on the radio when I was seeking refuge under the covers. I was at the bottom of a deep, dark pit (literally!) of depression without the willpower, strength or energy to claw my way out. I never wanted to leave my sanctuary & simply wanted to sleep & not wake up. This is probably the hardest one for me to listen to as it was an incredibly dark time, but I saw Snow Patrol in concert two years later & it hearing it then was again poignant & yet comforting. I was back to my normal self, fit, healthy & happy - closure I guess they call it!

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5. Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls:

“And I don't want the world to see me

'Cause I don't think that they'd understand

When everything's meant to be broken

I just want you to know who I am”

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6. ‘Roads’ by Portishead:

This is the track I chose for the first part of my montage (below), the part showing the struggle, as I feel it shows such emotion & gives a sense of sadness & loss but strength too.

“Ohh, can't anybody see

We've got a war to fight

Never found our way

Regardless of what they say

How can it feel, this wrong

From this moment

How can it feel, this wrong

Storm.. in the morning light I feel

No more can I say, frozen to myself”

Montage:

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7. ‘Extreme Ways’ by Moby:

I still love this track. It reminds me that PP is so extreme; it’s a real fight to get through but heroes survive & win in the end!

Extreme songs that told me

They helped me down every night

I didn't have much to say

I didn't get above the light

I closed my eyes and closed myself

And closed my world and never opened

Up to anything

That could get me along

I had to close down everything

I had to close down my mind

Too many things to cover me

Too much can make me blind

I've seen so much in so many places

So many heartaches, so many faces

So many dirty things

You couldn't even believe

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8. ‘MLK’ by U2:

This is such a beautiful track for me. It was the first song I sang to my baby after years of feeling nothing but numbness towards him. Although I was fiercely protective of him it took such a long time to feel the expected motherly love. When it happened naturally, all on it’s own, I was overwhelmed. I sang this to him every night as his goodnight song – he still loves it to this day, so do I! It always reminds me of how wonderful he is & how special our time is together & that no matter how tough the times, we’ll always get through them.

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9.‘You’re Amazing’ by Janelle:

I chose this track for the second part of my montage to represent the recovery, healing, the ‘coming alive’ & how I felt about my gorgeous boy.

“You came like crashing thunder

breaking through these walls of stone

You came with wide eyed wonder

into all this great unknown.

Hush now don't you be afraid

I promise you I'll always stay

I'll never be that far away

I'm right here with you.

You're so amazing you shine like the stars

You're so amazing the beauty you are

You came blazing right into my heart

You're so amazing you are...”

Montage:

10. ‘Papillon’ by the Editors:

Just hang in there. Keep going one step at a time. Don’t stop & you will get there!

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11. Goodnight Moon by Shivaree:

Well, why not? I’m back to my old self, oh yeah! :-)

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12. ‘Watermark’ by Enya:

And for me, to finish it has to be something beautiful…just like all PP survivors are.

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10 Replies

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  • What a great idea, to make a playlist! I really enjoyed reading about your choices to get a glimps into someone elses perception of music, although I can't say I enjoyed listening to all the choices! I liked the Portishead one, and of course Crazy - I loved that at the time as he has a really soulful voice, and I loved that it got to number one because it made me think there must be a lot of people out there who connect with the lyrics. I've been making my own playlist, but mine is of uplifting songs to play or sing for my daughter. It's got My Baby Just Cares for Me, it's got Put Your Records On, and I'm adding some songs for those moments when you're feeling uptight and you need to loosen up, like Satisfaction (Rolling Stones, not that other one with the same name and the degrading video!) and Kelis's "Cought Out There", more commonly known as I Hate You So Much Right Now.

  • 'My Baby Just Cares for Me' such a classic! :-)

  • Really great idea to make a playlist! I`ve not got a playlist but one that strikes a chord with me is Think Twice by Cleline Dion. This was a hit at the time I became unwell with PP. I loved the song and my ex husband bought it for me when i was discharged from the Psychiatric hospital. It has always symbolised my escape from there and my freedom. It is also something I told my ex husband to listen to when we split up as the words were very meaning ful. One of those songs I love but at the same time I always cry when I hear it.

    Another that sticks in my head is lifted by the lighthouse family. When I started having extreme highs and lows following PP I used to sing this at the top of my voice when I came out of a deep depression and went to the other extreme. It was like a weight that had lifted off my mind!

    Another one is losing my religion by REM, I used to sing this loudly in the lounge of the Psychiatric ward when listening to headphones belonging to another patient.

    The other one associate with when I was unwell is You`re gorgeous by baby bird. It reminds me of a very sad time. When I experienced extreme highs and lows following PP I was admitted to hospital for five weeks when I started on Lithium. Eventually i was allowed to go home for a weekend. When my ex husband took me back to hospital I really didn`t want to go back and got upset about going back. When my ex husband took me back this song was on the radio in the car. If I hear it now It upsets me to the point that I switch it off because I can`t listen to it.

    Very interesting to hear of other peoples experiences of music x

  • 'Think Twice' aaaw, such an emotional track for such emotional times! 'Losing my Religion, REM', I love this track but it must be so difficult to listen to if it reminds you of being so ill. x

  • What a great idea Andrea, I think music is such a part of lives and our memories, I didn’t have a mix of music when my wife was in the MBU just one solitary album had just come out – Paulo Nutini “These Streets” I had it in my car just as my wife was finally given a place in an MBU, at the time I felt everything was falling to pieces and I felt I had lost my best friend and my new born; I absolutely love the album and although all the songs and the lyrics written mean something completely different, there were parts of them that just hit a chord with me in some very desperate times. Here’s four from a great album…

    ‘Last Request’ – things were so hectic and my wife was all over the place, racing thoughts, depression, etc. and just a few of the lines just said how it was, “remember how it used to be”…

    "Slow down, Lie down,

    Remember it's just you and me.

    Don't sell out, bow out,

    Remember how this used to be.

    I just want you closer,

    Is that alright?"

    ‘Rewind’ – again just certain lines taken from the song and in some ways, this one because at times I felt angry at the uncertain situation I faced and I wanted to go back to how it was before…

    "Picking up the pieces

    Of the wreck you went and left

    And I'm dealing with dilemmas

    In my now so stressful life

    No sleeping at night

    But I'm going from bar to bar

    Why can't we just rewind

    Why can't we just rewind

    Why can't we just rewind"

    ‘Million Faces’ – I sat in town one day just wondering what was happening, loads of people just walking by in their normal routines…

    "Oh a million faces pass my way

    Oh they're all the same, nothing seems to change anytime I look around

    Oh who knows just what the future holds

    All I want to know is if it's with you

    We're distracted by the hard times, and the troubles that we make

    Let us throw them in the ocean, let it wash our cares away

    Oh the phone you know it never stops, it's the last thing I hear at night

    And the first thing in the morning"

    And finally

    ‘New Shoes’ – it just had one line in it that stuck in my head, it’s an upbeat song and I used to play it loud whilst driving home :o)...

    "Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right"

    I still love the album, it does take me back to those memories but of course we’re out the other side so can look back on them differently ;o)

  • Ooo I love the 'New Shoes' one!

  • Wow, thank you KatieKrinklebum, Sarah & Zapple, there're some really great tracks there & I'm going to have a really good listen later! Thanks for sharing the tunes that are so poignant to you & what you went through. There are some really powerful lyrics there & I think they tell so much about how we felt at that time - probably far more than if you tried explaining it.

    I do like the idea of an uplifting playlist too KatieKrinklebum, it really helps me if I'm down to listen to upbeat stuff. The tracks I put on my playlist weren't ones I chose though, as I couldn't listen to music like I did before I was ill, so they were tunes that I just heard on the off chance & stuck. Yes Zapple, you're right that we can look at them differently now we're out the other side. Even so, like Sarah, there are ones I still can't bear to listen to because of the memories they provoke. In a way though I think the music helped me deal with some of the things I wouldn't let myself think about - so it was very healing really!

  • Hi Andrea, I don't have a PP playlist as such although I love music and how certain tunes can take me way back when ....... It wasn't until I met Dr Jones by chance years after my children were born that I realised I had PP in the 70's and 80's.

    One of my all time favourites is "Something Inside So Strong" by Labi Siffre which is a great 'pick me up' tune. I also like "Search for the Hero" by M People. "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley is great, the lyrics just capture everything I felt all those years ago but couldn't make people understand!! I also like 'Secret' by Seal in a different context to the scenario in the video. I relate it to a traumatic time in my childhood and also to my PP 'secret' carried for so many years.

    Quite a sad note to end on ..................... now where did I put my Labi Siffre CD ......!!

  • Love reading everyone`s experiences of music. Amazing how powerful music can be and so healing. Also amazing like Andrea you mentioned about some things we can`t bear to listen to because of the difficult memories they provoke.

    Also Zapple I like the track `rewind` that you mentioned, the lyrics are so meaningful and fitting. I kept wishing I could rewind and feel how i used to feel. The words are so appropriate.

  • It's really interesting to read this post. I've just discovered this forum and just to hear people expressing what I went through also is wonderful I wish I had discovered it earlier. I don't have a playlist as such like Andrea when I was ill I just lost interest in everything though I had absolutely loved music before. However wheni was just getting out of the psychosis in the mother and baby unit I put my iPod on and listened to Bruce Springsteen who I absolutely love and have seen in concert many times. I remember listening and it was weird the music kept slowing down in my head so I just started singing along to it loudly so it wouldn't slow down. A member of staff was sitting at my door and I remember him smiling at me and giving me the thumbs up. It was the first time I felt joy again and a bit of my old self and made me know for the first time the purely healing power of music. I just sang along really loudly and joyfully. The song was 'cover me' which has some very apt lyrics "times are tough just keep getting tougher, world is rough keeps getting rougher...cover me wrap your arms around me cover me"

    Recently I went to see Sinead o'connor in concert. It's so wonderful to love music again. She sang 'three babies' all about being a mum and I nearly cried. I have been listening to her 'universal mother' album and its very special. She expresses so well the amazingness of motherhood and how much I love my beautiful boy.

    Thanks so much for starting this post!

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