How music saved me: the Nightmare on Anxiety Street

They say being a writer is daydreaming. It’s not real. It’s a waste of time. They say music is trivial. It’s not a calling. It doesn’t change the world.

They say a lot of things, and let me tell you something, ‘they’ are mostly always wrong.

Imagine this: you sit paralyzed. Almost catatonic. Not because you’re physically unable to move but because here comes anxiety. Unable to catch your breath. You feel like your lungs are going to explode.

And then it all goes black for a moment. Just enough to scare the bejeebers out of you. You break out in cold sweat.

Once the brain starts tilting back to reality, you grasp to that one straw of sanity, to snap out of it before you give yourself a heart attack.

The battle with your thoughts, those treacherous little shits, never ends.

And sometimes, yes, you silently spiral into an endless loop of ‘what ifs’. Panic comes gushing out as if you were out in the pouring rain.

And then you hear the music. Then, at once all is at ease. Like a mother’s soft whisper.

People wiser than you and I have long said that the most important thing you can do with your life is to be — useful.

Now, allow me to tell you a little story.

Just a few months back, I was running my usual 15 km run. A habit I’ve grown very fond of since it keeps the anxiety at bay. I was trying to pick a song on my iPhone when I saw the ambulance rushing to the nearby hospital.

What I saw left me incapacitated. I felt completely and utterly useless just standing there.

You could see through the glass of the ambulance, in those split seconds, that medics were jumping like mad. Doing CPR. Someone was, at that very moment, fighting for his/her life. And I just stood there. Unable to help. My mind was racing.

I’ve always had a fascination with medicine growing up in a family of doctors, and becoming a writer didn’t help much with the ever-present feeling of uselessness when it came to saving lives.

I always tough I could do more. And then it hit me.

You don’t have to be an MD to save lives.

People do incredible things in this world and if you could do just one, make someone smile or feel better about themselves, I think it’s a purpose worth fighting for.

Start with music. Heal people with music. Musicians do it all the time. They do the unimaginable.

I myself have music to thank for being here today. Music saved me. On multiple occasions.

What on earth did I do to deserve such a gift? I listened. Hours on end. I just listened and came to the conclusion that it can do more for your emotional state that any of the miracles of modern medicine could.

Here’s why:

Because at some universal level it connects us all. We all understand it.

And so help me, dare not underestimate the power of a written word or melody.

So, when you find that one song that saved you, find it in your heart to share it with people. Heal their broken thoughts and help them “find that small measure of peace we all seek, and few of us ever find.”

I found my purpose in writing about music.