The Avett Brothers' "Emotionalism": Truth for Helping People with Anxiety


The Avett Brothers' 2007 album, "Emotionalism," was made for people who experience anxiety.

Well, I haven't asked the band for comment, but I'm pretty sure I can read their minds in this case. ;)

Here's why I care: I also struggle with anxiety, in addition to my battle with depression that I discussed Sunday. I just received an anxiety disorder diagnosis this morning, and the doctor put me on short-term and long-term medications for it. I also plan to explore it more at my next therapy session.

This isn't really a surprise. I have always known I tend to be a worrier. I feel anxious in crowds. My skin breaks out in hives when I have to speak in front of a large group — I'm so thankful for turtleneck shirts! — and I sometimes have panic attacks when I feel overwhelmed.

Like this morning, for instance. I contacted my therapist and a good friend who also experiences anxiety, and they both recommended I see my doctor and get a prescription.

If you can relate to any of the above, and if you also happen to like folksy/bluegrass/rock music, I strongly recommend you listen to The Avett Brothers' "Emotionalism" album.

Maybe don't listen to it right in the middle of a panic attack. For that situation, I recommend hymns. Or total silence. But once you are feeling stabilized, listened to "Emotionalism."

It seems almost every song on the record extends honesty and compassion toward folks who struggle with anxiety.

One song rises to the top: "Paranoia in B♭ Major." With a humorous, swinging tempo and witty lyrics, it perfectly captures my own experience with anxiety: The stress dreams, the worry about what other people are thinking of me, the sometimes debilitating tunnel vision that threatens to beat me up.

(Don't worry, anxious readers! It hasn't beat me to this day. :)

Have a listen, scan the lyrics below, and, please, feel blessed that someone gets you:

"Paranoia in B♭ Major," by The Avett Brothers

I keep tellin' myself that it'll be fine
You can't make everybody happy all of the time
I found myself in a place that I never been
A place that I thought that I would never be
There's people looking back at me

I keep having this dream; I'm at a party
There's people throwing drinks and screaming telling me that I don't belong
Lately life's been the same I find this comfortable place
With all my friends then my friends start telling me that I've always been wrong
And I'm so tired of being wrong

There was a time I could move there was a time I could breathe
The crowded spaces filled with angry faces
It didn't once cross my mind
With paranoia on my heels; Will you love me still
when we awake and you find that the sanity has gone from my eyes?

I got secrets from you, you got secrets from me
Because you're so worried about what I'm gonna think,
Baby I'm worried, too
But if love is a game, girl, then you're gonna win
I'll spend the rest of my life bringing victory in
If you want me to

I am so happy I discovered this song just recently. Everything about it — from the lead vocalist's irritable tone, to the melody that steps downward each bar, then spins back up unexpectedly, to the falsetto "la la la" antics at the song's end — speaks to the inner life of a person with anxiety.

How is it that songwriters and performers can breathe such honesty and fun into such a dark topic? I don't know; I'm not a songwriter. But I know good art when I see it. And this is good art.

Connect with The Avett Brothers

If you'd like to learn more about the band, peruse their tour schedule or buy their albums, visit their website, "Like" their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter

Does this music speak to you?

If you liked this song, I'd love to hear from you. You don't have to spill your guts if you don't feel comfortable doing that. I'd be happy with a "hey, I liked this song" or "no, I didn't really get it." Either is cool, or invent a variation. But don't let paranoia — in B♭ Major — hold you back. ;)

Read more of my blog posts about music.

You may also like

No comments: