Anna is a very talented 20 year old young woman who recently performed on America’s Got Talent 2014. Her singing was just beautiful and you could hear the raw emotion in her voice.
Being on this big stage was quite something for her – she’s been suffering from anxiety and depression since she was 16. A few months ago she was bedridden and having panic attacks. She said: “my mind had given up on me. I didn’t see a future. I didn’t want to be here anymore and I felt so bad about myself.”
She was able to turn things around dramatically with therapy and music.
During her audition, judge Howie Mandel shared: “I also suffer from an anxiety disorder – I have OCD.” He also said: “There isn’t anyone alive who doesn’t need help at some time and the world is here for you.” After her song, Howie was very kind and went and hugged her. He also said this: “life is filled with peaks and valleys, you have experienced a lot of valleys. Tonight, young lady, you are on a peak.”
I would have to agree and I’d like to say “bravo Anna!” Watch her performance here….
I’ve got three other comments on this: the stigma of mental health, the wonderful effects of music for mood and encouragement to look in to the powerful effects of food and nutrients.
The stigma of mental health
I commend her for being open about her anxiety and depression. There is a great deal of stigma around mental illness but I had no idea how bad it was. I was very surprised to see all the cruel and insensitive comments on the youtube video. Here is one example:
Couldn’t leave her bed? What a joke. You didn’t see this kind this stuff 50 years ago. It was called responsibility and accountability. She was obviously validated and enabled by her parents. Society today substantiates this crap. It’s called life, and everybody has challenges and feeling they need to overcome, get over it. I bet she’s drawing a nice little social security disability check, too. Its pretty sad that she has such self pity. She is very attractive, talented, not overweight, racially advantaged, has loving parents. She needs to visit a children’s cancer ward or burn ward and get a grip as to how truly blessed she is.
I say this to Anna: “Just ignore these naysayers. You did good and the more of us who talk about it the more awareness we’ll bring.”
The wonderful effects of music for mood
A 10-week group music therapy project was designed to determine whether music therapy influenced quality of life and social anxiety for people with a severe and enduring mental illness living in the community. Ten one-hour weekly sessions including song singing, song writing and improvisation, culminated in each group recording original song/s in a professional studio.
This is what they found:
music therapy gave joy and pleasure, working as a team was beneficial, participants were pleasantly surprised at their creativity, and they took pride in their song.
A 2014 study called Possible benefits of singing to the mental and physical condition of the elderly, reported that the study participants felt:
refreshed, comfortable, light-hearted, relieved, and relaxed, they felt less tense and confused and their mood improved. The level of cortisol, a salivary stress marker, decreased after singing. The same tendencies were shown regardless of whether or not the subjects liked singing ! (this is my exclamation point)
I say this to Anna: “Good for you for finding music! I wish you all the best in AGT 2014!”
The powerful effects of food and nutrients
I would also like to encourage Anna and anyone with anxiety and depression to look in to the powerful effects of food and nutrients. Here are just a few of the topics we covered on the recent Anxiety Summit:
- Dr. Felice Jacka – Principal Research Fellow at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia: “The research: food for the treatment and prevention of anxiety and depression?”
- Julie Matthews – Certified Nutrition Consultant and author of award winning book, Nourishing Hope for Autism: “BioIndividual Nutrition for Anxiety: How special diets and avoiding certain foods can Support individuals with anxiety.”
- Mira Dessy – Certified Nutrition Educator, Real Food Advocate, and author of The Pantry Principle: “How additives in your food can make you anxious.”
- Amanda Swart – Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Stellenbosch University, South Africa: “Rooibos: a functional food in the management of stress“
- Julia Ross, MFT – Pioneer in the field of Neuro-nutrient Therapy and the author of the best sellers The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure: “Eliminating Anxiety: Amino Acid Therapy and Adrenal Balancing.”
I say this to Anna: “I’d like to encourage you explore these and other biochemical approaches – so you can have zero anxiety and depression.”
And I say this to Howie: “I’d like to encourage you to also explore these and other biochemical approaches for eliminating your OCD.” In this blog post about Charlize Theron I talk about how GABA, tryptophan, 5-HTP and/or inositol can end OCD and obsessive thoughts and behaviors.
I am musically “challenged” and can’t sing to save my life so while this is all very interesting to me, it’s not something I have experienced first hand. I’d love to hear from you.
Do you sing or play a musical instrument? How does it make you feel? Does it help with anxiety, depression, stress?