the voice and the mind……..heal yourself through singing!

bird sings storm

Hello lovely people.

So todays story is from the most lovely Elaine. Its super inspiring because Elaine suffered with depression and found that singing in her local SUPERCHOIR transformed how she felt about herself. Elaine is such a bubbly person that you’d have no clue about her story from the way she behaves and interacts with other people. She’s a true inspiration.

Here’s the story!

I have suffered with depression for a number of years and this was controlled with a steady dose of Citalopram 40mg each day. 

Unfortunately, having taken the drug for a number of years I had to come off in August due to the fact it was no longer agreeing with me. 

I managed for a while but steadily the old feelings began to creep back in, low self-esteem and wanting to isolate myself were beginning to overwhelm me once again and I could no longer rely on medication to overcome these feelings. 

When you suffer with depression it’s so easy to isolate yourself and forget what you want out of life….I was spending long periods of time sat inside my home staring into space whilst trying to gather some kind of steady thought process again.  It was even becoming a problem to go to work because I could not function properly. 

During a rare moment of clarity, I realised that when I was younger I loved to sing and when I was happy I would often sing along to my favourite music.  It occurred to me that perhaps singing with other people instead of by myself may be a good thing for me and because I wanted to stay off of anti depressants and take control of my own feelings I knew if I wanted to help myself, then instead of just thinking about doing something positive I should go ahead and do something about it.  

I had come across the name ‘Sing and Inspire’ before, so I looked them up and found that indeed they offered not only Company choirs but a ‘Superchoir’ for those who did not have a choir at work but who liked to get together and sing.  

I went for my first session in November.   I was immediately put at ease by Patrick and the other members who went out of their way to welcome me.   After three weeks with the choir I felt changes in myself in that I had something to look forward to, there was a purpose to Wednesday evening.  People in the choir had said to me it didn’t matter how ill they were they’d always try and make it to choir, such was the ‘rush’ they experienced during the sessions.  If I’m honest I was sceptical about this at first but then realised one evening when I was out in the pouring rain on my way to choir practice that ordinarily I’d be making an excuse to stay home in front of the television and nothing could get me out of the door, yet here I was. 

Without wanting to sound clichéd, being in the choir has changed my life in a more positive way then I could ever have imagined.  Patrick, the choirmaster has a palpable energy that you just seem to absorb whenever you watch him and as I sing with my friends and hear beautiful sounds come together I can’t describe to anyone the amazing feeling I have inside.    I figured out after a very short period of time that if choirs were on the NHS less people would need medication because it brings people together and takes away the isolating lonely feelings that depression instils. 

When we did our first gig all I saw were smiling faces, people dancing around us and really enjoying what we were doing and that was just the best natural high I’d ever experienced.  

People in the choir are usually members of other choirs and it’s not hard to see why – one choir session is never really enough.   

I would say to anyone suffering with depression or in fact, any illness, join a choir, give it a chance.  You will meet new people, you’ll get out and about it can change your life.  Music is my medicine – give it a try.

Here’s the lovely Elaine just so you can put a face to the words – check out that smile!

elaine pic

And, here’s another quote for you for today that I feel is relevant.

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A few years ago one of our choirs took part in a medical study with Cardiff University regarding the health benefits of singing regularly – this was conducted with Tenovus cancer charity and the results were ground breaking. Here’s the link for those of you who would like to delve further http://www.tenovus.org.uk/research/in-the-community/tenovus-sing-for-life-research-study/

The headline results were as follows

“After only three months the choir members in the study experiences significant and measurable improvements in  vitality, social functions and mental health as well as reduction in bodily pain. There were also indications that the choir alleviated anxiety and depression in members who reported these symptoms before the choir started”

School of Healthcare Studies – Cardiff University

The endorphin reaction in our bodies to singing is very similar to that of exercise, when we feel happier, our bodies are more resilient to pain and disease – so there you have it! Get singing and feel better! Its official :) I love it!

 

How many of YOU, use singing as a form of self medication – its amazing how singing can change our frequency up, shift our feelings and make us feel good. Whether you’re someone who sings regularly or just someone who sings with their children or ‘closet’ sings in the car or the shower,  I’d love to hear your experiences so please comment below and share your stories about how singing makes you feel.

Here’s the link to my voice & singing pinterest page which I source a lot of my quotes and voice pictures from for this blog, you’ll also see my own #voicequotes and #voicetips suite that I’ve just created. Enjoy…………..

http://www.pinterest.com/andreacallanan/voice-singing/

the next post will be up on Friday – so look out for it……until then…..

 

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