A Hopeful Message Through Music and Social Media

Isn’t music just great? No really, it is amazing. I believe that in a sense music is magic, a theme with imagination, a journey of a story. It is true though that everyone shares a different opinion of music. Some people love it, others like it, and then there are also some people that don’t care too much for music in general.

What about social media sites? There are many, I know. I believe that social media sites are great, but still they do have there flaws. I believe it is great how people can connect with each other and interact throughout the web. Find old friends, make new friends, learn new information, help give information to someone, quick way to message, videos, web chats and such, music, organization, marketing, advertising, and so much more. It can be mind blowing if you think about it to much! I think it is interesting how there is a sense of connection throughout social media. It is amazing and also interesting how sometimes people can end up accidentally making something great through some online site like Myspace, Facebook, or Youtube, etc.

 Now what about this; is music, television, video games, and/or getting on your favorite social media website just an escape? Do you engulf your life with time on the internet to escape from the real world? It is possible. It could happen, but let’s not think about that right now.

Something I believe is that there is a time in everyone’s life where they feel alone. Sometimes in life people tend to go through rough times. The kind of time that can lead them into depression, sometimes ultimate depression. The type of depression that might could lead you to a path of self destruction or even to the point of not wanting to live anymore. Depression is a very powerful thing and is something hard to come out of or maybe never get out of; it’s just something you have to learn to control to not be overcome.

People are interesting. Everyone has a story. I’ve realized more and more how there are so many people out there battling depression. I have battled depression. Out of personal experience I found that music helped me take control of most of my depression. The new friends that I made and still have to this day were also a help to me taking control, even though they did not know anything about it at the time.

Ever since my own experiences I’ve always tired to make sure I could try and help others. In the phrase “misery loves company” be the friend to help out misery. I also try to make friends with anyone I meet. I will try to be there for anyone if they need me. Minus sketchy creepers and stalkers.

Okay so what does music, social media, friends, stories, depression, opinions, and all the other things that have randomly been mentioned so far mean? Well nothing at all of course! Actually that was a lie, all of the previous information is just leading into the next part to make this blog seem to make a little more sense. Maybe. And there is a point to all this too. Maybe

I want people to understand that you can make change and you can help people online through a social media website. And one of the most perfect examples of this is To Write Love on Her Arms.

Back in 2007 while I was checking out this band on Myspace I seen a banner with the phrase “To Write Love on Her Arms” and under the banner was a picture of a singer in a shirt with the same phrase as well. In all honesty when I first looked at it I thought it was probably the name of some “Emo” band. Out of curiosity I went and tried searching a band called that but did not have any luck. That is when my curiosity got serious. So I went to Google. It was then that I learned what it really was after visiting their website.

“To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. It exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.”

 The video below is a report on NBC’s Nightly News. It gives a brief story of the start of when TWLOHA started.

To Write Love on Her Arms(TWLOHA) started in 2006 on Myspace. A group of friends got together and tried getting donations, all so they could get help and treatment for their friend Renee. It was then that people starting sharing their own stories and/or battles that they have had with depression, drug addictions, and/or suicide on the TWLOHA Myspace. Later TWLOHA grew and is spreading their word of hope all over the world. There are even music groups who support TWLOHA and try promoting it, like at Warped Tour.

 Here is a little bit of the message they are trying to send out. “Over the last two and a half years, we’ve responded to 80,000 messages from people in 40 different countries. We’ve had the opportunity to bring this conversation, and a message of hope and help, to concerts, universities, festivals and churches.  We’ve learned that these are not American issues, not white issues or “emo” issues.  These are issues of humanity, problems of pain that affect millions of people around the world. We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments.  You need to know that you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck. You were created to love and be loved.  You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story.  You need to know that your life matters. The vision is hope, and hope is real. You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.” You can read more and all about TWLOHA on their website and can also read about some of the “facts“.

It is amazing how something can expand like that. TWLOHA was created on a social media site to try and get help for a friend and ended up expanding because it made a connection with young people. Currently on Twitter it has 102,120 followers. 14,297 people are subscribed to their Youtube page. On Facebook they have 644,670 friends. On Myspace they have 345,901 friends.

Now let’s change topics for a bit. Let’s now take another look back into music

About 2 years ago I did some research about music and depression. I wanted to see other peoples views on it, so I went around and did many interviews. Just about everyone I interviewed in some way or another said that music did help them in some way.

Just for proof/examples here are two of those interviews:

I talked to this senior in high school about music and depression. I asked her about depression and if she ever experienced it in her life and she said, “Yeah, I was always alone and I felt alone a lot also. Back when I was in 8th grade was when it was going on. My mom was going through a divorce and was depressed herself. I guess you could say I was in need for attention, a need for friends, just to get out, and for my mom to some what be home. Some nights she wouldn’t come home till the next day just to take me to school. I did feel as if everything was going wrong I was even failing all my classes.”

When asked if she believed music could help save a life or get you out of depression and she said, “It did. In a way though, it could kind of put me there to. Not because it was the wrong type of music or because it was bad music, but because it was about what I was feeling inside. The band Shine Down had a song that I listened to a lot called Forty Five, and that song talks about suicide. You tend to listen to the type of music your feeling and I felt down, depressed, and didn’t want to be here so at first I listened to a lot of music like that since that was what I was feeling.

But I know for a fact music saved my life. One night I was lying on the bathroom floor, the lights were off, and I was listening to the radio. I was crying and there by myself. I think I had a bottle of pills. Then this song came on the radio called I Dare You to Move, by a band called Switchfoot. There was this one part in the lyrics that said I dare you to lift yourself off the floor. Coincidence? I think not. I guess you could say it opened my eyes, plus to add on to that Switchfoot is a Christian band.

After that night I clung on to this band called Blink-182 that I had started listening to after my sister bought the CD. That band became the air that I breathe; I couldn’t go a day without it. When I would be playing a video game I would mute the TV and play their CD. Listening to them just made me not feel alone anymore. I don’t know how to describe it. It was just the feeling you get while listening to it, the way they sound, the way the interments sounds, it just all fit. I believe music could help anyone who is going through a tough time if you just find the right stuff that works for them.”

Then finally I asked her if it changed her life any and she simply said, “It did, it did a lot. I mean all my friends that know me now call me bubbly, outgoing , and crazy but back then I would always look at people like that and think they were stupid for trying to be outgoing, because what was in this life beside death and the end? When I came out of being depressed was when I realized that’s why you need to be so outgoing, because other then heaven, after that this is all you got and you better live it up while you can and Blink-182 helped me realize that.”

I got a short interview from a girl who is a Junior at UTC, about music and depression. She said, “Yeah I went through a lot of depression when I was in middle school and some what through high school. I lost my mother to cancer and I had a hard time with it. Not having a mother was something I had never experienced before and it really hurt me inside. I mainly started to listen to rock, pop punk, and alternative music. I would listen to bands like Simple Plan, but I mostly listened to Fall Out Boy. It just made you feel better when you knew you weren’t the only one hurting. In the end it did change me, I mean it did in a sense make me more out going because then I started high school and became a cheerleader. It was cool though because I listened to different music then all the other people on the cheerleading squad. I was like an individual, but still I was accepted”.

Music is amazing isn’t it? 

That’s 2 different forms of media that are out there helping people. You have music making its connection and then social media sites being able to make their own connections to people online. Just saying, anything is possible. Don’t ever think you cannot get your word out, because you can. And help is out there, everywhere.

And remember always keep a watchful eye out for your friends, because they aren’t always going to tell you if something is wrong. Most people that I have spoken with about depression said that they kept it to themselves and didn’t tell anyone (I’m talking about depression, not someone whining about having a bad week or something). If music wouldn’t have spoke to them first before something awful could have happened, would we understand? Music saves and love saves. Just listen.

-tuning out, brittany craig….


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