Some songs about mental illness

Recently I posted some songs on Facebook and Twitter, I called them, “The Official Song of Depression”, “The Official Song of Anxiety Disorders”, “The official Song of Bipolar”, and “The Official Song of Schizophrenia”.

Songs speak to us in a way that words alone can not. There are many go-to songs that have helped me when I’ve been manic or depressed over the years. Not all of those songs a actually about mental illness, but they helped with my moods. These songs are all actually about mental illness.

Since then I’ve thought of some changes to my list, plus I wanted to post these in a more permanent location. Note that these songs sometimes get taken down for copyright reasons, hopefully the links are all valid when you read this. Here they are:

The Official Song of Mental Illness in general:

Matchbox 20, “Unwell”.


The Official Song of Depression:

Black Sabbath, “Paranoid”.

Even though the title is “Paranoid”, when you listen you’ll see that it describes clinical depression perfectly. BTW, the last line is, “I tell you to enjoy life, I wish I could, but it’s too late”, “enjoy life” is often heard incorrectly as, “end your life”



The official Song of Bipolar:

Jimi Hendrix, “Manic Depression”.

When this was written, bipolar was called manic depression, a term some people still prefer because it’s more descriptive. “Manic depression is a frustrating mess”.



The Official Song of Anxiety Disorders:

Billy Joel, “Pressure”.

The official Song of Schizophrenia:

Pink Floyd, “Jugband Blues”.

This was Syd Barrett’s last contribution to the band, before his schizophrenia got too bad to continue with his music.

The band’s manager, Peter Jenner, called “Jugband Blues” “an extraordinary song, the ultimate self-diagnosis on a state of schizophrenia, [and] the portrait of a nervous breakdown.”

Do you have any favorite songs either about mental illness, or ones that help you through rough times? Let us all know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Some songs about mental illness

  1. Here are some of my go-to’s for some of the various moods of my anxiety and related depression:

    Blind Melon, “No Rain” – depression
    Billy Joel, “My Life” – anger – when I’m full of second-guessing, and need to assert mentally against others’ opinions of what I “should” be doing
    4 Non Blondes, “What’s Up” – despair/anger
    Annie Lennox, “Dark Road” – depression/feeling isolated
    Annie Lennox, “Walking on Broken Glass” – anxiety
    Peter Gabriel w/ Kate Bush, “Don’t Give Up” – depression/feeling isolate
    Family of the Year – “Hero” – when I need to re-ground myself and re-anchor my self-care


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