Anxiety in the Ears and on the Minds of Youth
From pop or Top 40 music…
"All my friends, they don't know what it's like, what it's like
They don't understand why I can't sleep through the nightAnxiety by Julia Michaels
I've been told that I could take something to fix it
I wish it was that simple."
"Feel my blood runnin', swear the sky's fallin'Breathin by Ariana Grande
I keep on breathin'
Time goes by and I can't control my mind
I keep on breathin'"
From alternative rock…
"wish my mind would turn offOver My Head by Judah & The Lion
But here in the dark, everything off
I start to think
It gets hard to breathe
I'm in over my head
All these thoughts
Are an ocean I'm drowning in."
"Up at night, feeling down, and I'm all aloneThe New Great Depression by The Moth and the Flame
Hide away from it all, in a stranger's home. Is it me? Is it you?
Can I trust myself? I need somehow
I'm fine don't ask
The truth is. The nightmares underneath, it's useless
Oh well, who cares? The truth is the monster in my head is ruthless."
From country music…
"I'm sorry, but I'm just a girlCry Pretty by Carrie Underwood
Not usually the kind to show my heart to the world
I'm pretty good at keeping it together
I hold my composure, for worse or for better
So I apologize if you don't like what you see
But sometimes my emotions get the best of me
And falling apart is as human as it gets
You can't hide it, you can't fight what the truth is."
This theme can also be found in contemporary Christian music…
"keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enoughWhat You Say by Lauren Daigle
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know."
In May of 2018, the bishops of California released a pastoral letter called "Hope and Healing: On Caring for those who Suffer from Mental Illness." In their letter they say, "we are deeply concerned with the heartbreaking prevalence of mental illness in our society and are taking action to address this tragic form of misery and sorrow. Though not as apparent and familiar as general medical problems, mental illness is equally important and is uniquely challenging and burdensome." They go on to say, "These disturbing trends seriously impact individuals, families and our communities.These crises of our time represent an urgent call to all Catholics. We must respond."
If you do not personally suffer from anxiety or depression, there is no way to know what it really feels like. You can, however, follow Jesus' example and show compassion by both understanding another's pain and having the desire to somehow lessen that pain. For those of you who are ministering with young people, open your eyes and ears and look for the signs that your young people are showing you. It's hard for us to say we didn't know so many young people were hurting when the music that is defining their generation is filled with such pain.