While dealing with depression and anxiety Sufjan Stevens' new album is the ambient soundtrack I need to get through my day

2020-03-31 12:25
Sufjan Stevens

When you live with depression and anxiety, every day can be a kind of a gamble, in my experience. There are days where I feel so productive that nothing can stop me. Every hindrance to me getting things done, be they necessary activities like taking out the trash or doing the dishes, or more mentally taxing stuff like writing or scheduling, are tiny hurdles that I can leap over.

Then there are other days when the sound of chewing or a phone ringing can derail my whole day. Trying to get dressed in the morning can take me twice as long because it feels like I'm swimming in mud that no one else can see. It's like I'm always fighting this massive shadow monster who just wants me to go sleep or stare into nothing for hours on end. Inability to concentrate and exhaustion are known symptoms of the disease.

That's where ambient music comes in for me. I put in my headphones and focus on my screen and soon it's all that I can see. Like when you let your head sink beneath the water in a bath, and all the sounds get distorted into vague, less sharp versions of what they usually are. Sometimes it's a lo-fi playlist, sometimes it's instrumental that plays on a loop. It doesn't usually matter as long as it's not loud or disarming and flows smoothly.

*Here it is imperative to add that my environment and music are only a part of how I practice self-care, I also take medicine and speak to a medical professional. *

Recent Spotify data shows that I'm not the only one. In a time when the world has been thrown into uncertainty following the outbreak of Covid-19, more and more people are turning to ambient or chill playlists.This is why I think indie-darling Sufjan Stevens has chosen to release Aporia now, a little bit ahead of its original release date.

It's a collection of songs made with his stepdad Lowell Brams. What makes it different from anything Sufjan has done before is that it hardly features his famous voice at all. Instead, it's almost all instrumental.

I must admit, when I first heard the album, not hearing Sufjan's voice threw me off. But when I listened again, I realised the best part of this project is that because it doesn't have words or pop-leaning alternative beats, it blends into the background perfectly.

It drowns out the annoying or ugly sounds of the world. And for my forgetful, anxious and easily distracted mind, this is fantastic.

In a very self-referential way putting this album on in the background helped me wrangle my thoughts into this review about this album. So I would say, if you feel like I sometimes do, Aporia might be helpful to press play on and let the one task you've set yourself for whatever time you have, be the only thing you're focusing on.


Read more on:    sufjan stevens  |  music  |  lockdown lifestyle

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