Playlists: Mental Health Week

Will Holtforster

In light of mental health awareness week at UCC, here comes a playlist from people who have suffered from mental illness and their creative works that have come out of it.

Monch 1

Day 1

Fallin’ – Macklemore (from The Unplanned Mixtape)




Believe it or not, Macklemore has more than two songs and surprisingly enough I was set in his direction by the seemingly least sensitive and biggest stone at UCC Mr.Verboom two summers ago during the SAS summer program when all we played for three weeks straight was Macklemore. I investigated some more of Mack’s works and more specifically his earlier ones from when he was suffering from substance abuse, alcoholism, and depression – which is an interesting story that you can learn about from an array of interviews.

I could spend the time here to annotate every lyric, but I think it would be better to listen to it and have your own interpretations. In case thinking for yourself is too difficult, I have attached the annotations. This track might not be for everyone, but if you did enjoy it check out Otherside (original or remixed), Neon Cathedral, or Starting Over

Day 2

Time2 (Time Squared) – Pharaohe Monch (from PTSD)




Before you write off Pharaohe for being a nobody, listen to this song. Kool Mo Dee considers Pharaohe to be 26th on his list of greatest MCs of all time. He has worked with Kanye, Nate Dogg, Busta Ryhmes, and Talib Kweli, along with previously being produced by SRC Records (who’ve produced albums for Wu Tang and Akon). “I ask, are we comatose or unconscious?” My favourite line in all of music. He’s wondering about society and their views on mental illness. Are we knocked out or are we in a coma when it comes to mental health? Either way we’re not awake or open to talking about it, yet.

“Perhaps it’s just a chemical reaction with my Zoloft and acidophilus.” That’s when it hit me for real; this 43 year-old rapper from Queen’s, NY, that I’ve never met before gets me. He’s on Zoloft too. He gets me. He feels like he can’t speak clearly either. He gets me. This is possibly the greatest feeling one can experience and it made me want to tell everyone. This is what made life seem so much more bearable: I had someone who gets me.

Day 3

Hold Your Head Up (feat. Chug & Xperience) – Macklemore (from The Language of My




Another even earlier Mack song from when his career was failing and he was living with his parents pre-sobriety. This song has some witty wordplay and some good lessons and addresses a lot of the cliché, meaningless, and annoying phrases people with mental illness are told by those who mean to be supportive but actually have no idea that it makes them feel worse.

My 3 Least Favourite “Supportive” sayings:

 “Stay/be strong.”

 “This too shall pass.”

 Anything comparing it to an uphill battle/war.

My Favourite Saying:

“Luctor et Emergo,” which means “I Struggle yet I survive” (also my favourite


Day 4

Riser – Dierks Bentley (from Riser)




This may not be explicitly about mental health, but Dierks did go through a difficult stage when his close friend and father passed away a few months before the song was written. The song is written to his first son who was born not long after his father died.

Day 5

Compass – Lady Antebellum (single)




TBH, I have a pretty passionate dislike for Lady A, but this song gets me. It’s upbeat, it’s cheery, and it relates in a lot of ways to depression. (However, I understand the feeling of wanting to beat up every person who is happy and has the ability to laugh and smile.) Like suffering from depression, it often feels like there is nowhere to go, like you have “lost the compass where self is” to quote some more Macklemore, and are alone in the dark. It is terrifying. It makes everything else terrifying too, even little things like the sound of cars driving by or thunder. It is a scary time. It probably seems like it will never end. That 3 to 6 weeks for your Zoloft to “possibly begin to work” seems like a lifetime. Or maybe that night (aka every night) you can’t sleep will never turn into daytime, but it will, I promise.