The song playing on repeat in my mind and what it means to me.
I’ve never considered myself a Taylor Swift fan.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll tap the steering wheel to the beat of Shake It Off when it comes on the radio, and I can sing Mean with the strongest of Southern drawls, but I always imagined T Swift as someone I could take or leave.
Then came her song Anti-Hero.
I heard Anti-Hero for the first time a few weeks ago, and have been obsessed with it since. If you haven’t heard it yet, here’s the official video.
The song epitomizes all the worst things I feel about myself on the dark bipolar days. From the opening, describing how depression keeps you awake at night and fills your bedroom with all the ghosts of your mistakes, to the repeating chorus.
Yep, me. Me. ME!
When depression sets up camp in my mind, all the ghosts of relationships past come to visit. I promise myself I’ll do better with the next friend I meet, but then I always fall back into the same pattern. Most relationships end and a new ghost takes their place.
The song goes on to describe how I imagine the world views me. Taylor sings about being the monster on the hill, the one endangering your town. People fight to kill it but never succeed.
I know mental illness is a monster that lives inside me, but some days, it feels like that monster is all I am.
The frightened townspeople stab at the beast, but I never die.
Taylor nails the internal turmoil with the chorus:
It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me*
Isn’t that what we always do with bipolar? We blame ourselves for everything that goes wrong, even when there’s no tie to us. Or maybe it’s just me.
I connect so much with Anti-Hero that I keep playing it on repeat. It could be my theme song or eulogy. Maybe my daughter-in-law won’t kill me, but I can relate to the rest of the song.
Bipolar disorder is a cruel companion. Whether you’re a good person or not, the growling monster makes you believe the worst things about yourself. Some days, bipolar is soul crushing.
But then you run across a song that makes you feel a little less alone.
Maybe you’re not the only one who feels that way. If someone else understands, then maybe it means there’s nothing terrible in you. Perhaps you’re not the only monster on the hill.
With the power of validation, you get up, dust yourself off, and fight through another day.
That’s what Anti-Hero is doing for me: giving me strength to fight. I feel like someone understands, and everything is easier when you know someone else has been there.
Of course, I know all of you get it, but it’s nice to have T Swift on the team as well.
The only thing about Anti-Hero I dislike is the missing positive message at the end.
Not every day is dark depression. Ghosts of past friendships rarely fill every night. The monster on the hill sometimes sleeps. Those better days, they’re what we hold on for. They make life worth living and help you escape the pain of the darkest days.
Spend some time this week thinking about a song stuck in your mind. Pull out your journal and explore why you connect to the song and what emotions it evokes. As the week goes on, pick 2-3 more songs, and journal through them as well.
Music can be both a great escape and a way to clarify what you’re thinking and feeling. Examine how each song affects you and see where it takes you.
What song will you use first? Please share in the comments.
Until next time, keep fighting.
Also Read: Chronic Illness Has Turned Me Into a Liar
*Lyric Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jack Michael Antonoff / Taylor Alison Swift
Anti-Hero lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing GroupStart Today!