At the end of each year, I often like to think about how far I've come, how much more I can grow, and what else I can do that I haven't done or haven't been doing enough of.
Throughout 2019, 2 words have been popping up very frequently, either in things that I read or in conversations that I have with people. The words are: Music Therapy.
At several points in my own life, I had relied heavily on music and singing to help me get through very difficult circumstances, especially when I was suffering from severe anxiety and depression from 2009 to 2015. I wrote a lot of songs to help me channel my negative emotions and thoughts. During that time, I didn't realise that the music-making was helping to keep me afloat and preventing me from entertaining suicidal thoughts I occasionally had. It was just something I was very lucky to be able to instinctively rely on thanks to the musical skills I acquired from a young age.
After I got into teaching, even though I was never formally trained in Music Therapy and didn't advertise my services as a form of therapy, I somehow kept receiving a good number of clients that were going through what I went through, and was hoping that singing lessons could help alleviate their mental and emotional pain. And I'm grateful that I was/am able to use my own experiences, both in my own struggles and my singing abilities, to help them.
Early this month, just before the beginning of all the cheerful festive celebrations and meaningful reflections on the ending year, someone I used to work with in Singapore decided to end her life. She was about 24.
Back when we were working together in a musical troupe, she was the chirpiest person in the group with the brightest smile. She would bring tonnes of positive energy to our group when spirits were low, sing silly songs and say funny things to cheer us all up.
I simply cannot fathom that she, of all people, would be the one that would go through so much emotional pain to the point of not wanting to live anymore. Just trying to imagine how tormented she must have been feeling before making that fateful decision makes me feel indescribably sad and sorry.
I know how it feels like to suffer from depression. For days on end, you feel constantly submerged in an invisible sea of heaviness. You can breathe, but the breathing does not feel light and easy. You can see, but nothing has colour. Your motor functions work as normal, but you don't know why you go from Point A to Point B, you don't know why you do what you do, you don't know why you live.
I was so lucky to have music constantly by my side, like a rope tied round my waist as I treaded precariously on the line between sanity and insanity, subconsciously reminding me that if I were to fall, the rope would hold on to me.
It hurts me to think about those who do not have the same privilege as I did.
So like I mentioned in the beginning, the end of the year is the time for me to reflect on how much more I can do in the years to come.
I would like to invite anyone who might be struggling with depression, anxiety, or any form of mental exhaustion to sing with me for an hour each week. I will not charge any regular fee for these sessions and will keep it donation-based. You give however much you can afford. And even if you can't afford anything at all at the moment, it's perfectly fine. We will still sing together and turn our woes into songs. Simply email or WhatsApp me to schedule an appointment if this is something for you. <3