When the Lyrics Quieted the Noise
**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
By Nicole, a former Emily Program client
As I have grown up and entered the new chapter in my life that has begun my years as a young adult, I have had many obstacles thrown my way before reaching the age of 21. I am happy to say that I am living a happy, healthy, productive, and recovering life in my house up north with my mom and dad. However, it took many years of therapy, medication adjustments, and support from my loved ones to get to where I am today. Things weren’t always promising for me.
I was born with and unknowingly suffered from a generalized and social anxiety disorder, and OCD. I was finally diagnosed at age fifteen. At age sixteen, I developed full-blown anorexia and was also diagnosed with chronic depression. I was admitted to The Emily Program in Cleveland the summer I was going into my senior year of high school. During my senior year, in 2013, I entered my first relationship, which quickly became abusive and ended in me beginning to file for a PFA for my protection.
From twelfth grade up until now, I will admit I have had some relapses but have been able to keep myself overall healthy and safe. Though earlier this year, I was forced to end a serious but toxic relationship with my now ex-boyfriend. That took a huge toll on my mental and physical health, as have all of my past issues.
Many people attribute their success in recovery to loved ones, therapy, and distractions. I can say without a doubt that without the endless support from my loved ones and access to healthcare, I would not be alive today. However, I also owe a big portion of my constant recovery to something a bit unusual, which is music.
Growing up, I was never really into music. However, in the midst of the abusive relationship, I discovered Eminem’s music and my life changed forever. I was very depressed my senior year and kept the abuse hidden from friends. I heard his song, “Love the Way You Lie,” and the lyrics immediately made this cloud of emotions I was feeling make sense. Everything just made sense. I realized that when you actually examine and analyze a good artist’s music, the songs aren’t just a good beat, and rap isn’t just about swearing. I would listen to his music on repeat every single day, and even when I got out of the relationship, my love for his artistry as well as other rap artists exponentially grew. In 2014, I finally saw my hero Eminem front row. Earlier this year, I got that date tattooed on my arm as a reminder that music, especially his, helped save me.
I have a list of songs that I keep stored away in my mind that helped me through everything related to my recovery. Every relapse, bad body image day, and depressive episode. No matter what I am battling, there is always a song I can turn on that I can connect to within the moment. Music has helped me through the tough times, as well as celebrate the good. And for that, I am forever thankful.
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