Music has an effect on people, plain and simple. More so, it has an effect on me. I managed to hold on to music when everything else felt out of my control and became hopeless; it proved to me that hope is real. Music has helped me to discover that I’m not alone. Others feel the same way that I do and we connect through our love of music and it erases the pain we feel. And to top it off, I’m not even sure how it manages to calm me down when I’m hyperventilating or having an anxiety attack, but it does. It’s that breath of fresh air we need when the world begins to spin.
About two months ago, I scrolled through my Instagram feed and saw the most beautiful post I could have ever imagined I’d see. Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low posted an image of the band in London when they recently released the music video for their song “Missing You.” It made such an impact on me. Though the band’s live shows are full of inappropriate jokes, don’t let that fool you. Sincerity is something they pride themselves on and their fans are the loves of their lives – aside from their significant others, of course.
This social media post made me think about how many people think about suicide and ending their lives, as depressing as that is. It’s a harsh topic to think about, I know, but it’s real. All Time Low put into perspective that their fans are the reason that they make music and they truly care about each and every one of us.
During many shows, Gaskarth said, “I want you to fucking pinky promise me you won’t do it. No fan of mine will kill themselves. Don’t do it; for me. I love you.” These words tend to introduce “Therapy,” a song dedicated to anyone who has felt a hardship in life and managed to live through it. With lyrics like “Give me therapy/I’m a walking travesty/But I’m smiling at everything,” the song hits the feels hard, breaking anyone who understands the song on a deep level.
And thus, All Time Low made me realize that music therapy is a thing, a big thing. In an article written for Psychology Today, Dr. Catherine Ulbricht said, “music is often linked to mood, where a certain song can make us feel happy, sad, energetic, or relaxed. With this, different types of music differ in the types of neurological stimulation they evoke. For example, classical music has been found to cause comfort and relaxation while rock music may lead to discomfort.”
As music therapy is becoming huge in the medical industry, the nonprofit movement, To Write Love On Her Arms, dedicates itself to presenting hope and finding help for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Their main goal, according to their website, is to believe that a better life is possible and TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest in treatment and recovery.
One of the most inspirational events I could have attended was meeting the founder of TWLOHA, Jamie Tworkowski. He came to my college, Kutztown University, to speak to us about how he started the organization and how it’s escalated and grown into something so immense and beautiful. He opened with live music. His friend, Eric, came out with only an acoustic guitar and sang. The reason Tworkowski began his talk like this is because he believed music is a way to get in touch with audiences and he couldn’t be more right. It made me realize that I’m not alone and I will never be alone.
Tworkowski ended with something he wrote on the website: “We believe: You were created to love and be loved. People need other people. Your story is important. Better days are ahead. Hope and help are real.”
The most important thing I could ever learn from music is that it makes a difference. Music never fails to help me in some way and a million other people as well. So, here’s what you do: show others the music that helps you through tough times and never be ashamed of what you’re passionate about. Someone will appreciate it.
I’m not sure if my words could affect you like Alex Gaskarth’s has, but remember you are worth it. You’re worth more than you imagine. I’m still learning that myself, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I truly hope you all do too.
Below are two videos of All Time Low. The first is the amazing introduction Alex Gaskarth does for “Therapy” and the second is the “Missing You” music video.