In this day and age, Mental Illnesses and the priority for a healthy mind have begun taking center stage in conversations and activism. It’s not hard to find mentions of Depression, Anxiety, or any other Mental Illnesses anymore.
For those of us who are actively working to shatter the stigma, this is great news! It’s a lifelong dream for all of us to see Mentally Ill men, women, and children begin receiving the proper treatment that they deserve.
Unfortunately, as with anything, there’s always an uphill battle to be fought. How does our world respond to Mental Health? Is there truly a stigma? What can we do to better educate our culture?
These are all questions that myself, and many others, seek to answer daily. Part of answering those questions comes by bluntly addressing the topic as it is presented in our culture through movies, television, music, and writing.
“Mental Health in Movies/Television/Music” will become a regular subsection of Confessions, where I plan to review, critique, or praise any effort to erase, or enable, the stigma surrounding Mental Health.
We hope you are enlightened, educated, and encouraged as we shatter the stigma of Mental Illness one story at a time.
“Praying” by Kesha
After 4 years of being stuck in “musical prison” due to legal issues, Kesha has returned with her latest, emotional ballad named, “Praying.”
I don’t often listen to Kesha, nor was initially interested in her new song until I began seeing articles address her depression and eating disorders. Obviously, this news grabbed my attention. I pulled the song up on my Youtube and took a few moments to listen.
This song is centered around the idea of “release.” Obviously, Kesha has experienced a great level of pain in her life. Her music video opens with these lines:
“Am I dead? Or is this one of those dreams? Those horrible dreams that seem like they last forever. If I am alive, why? Why? If there is a God, or whatever…why have I been abandoned by everything I’ve ever known…ever loved?…God, I can’t do this anymore. Just let me die.”
The music video opens with Kesha, adorned by brightly colored clothing, laying in what seems to be her deathbed, surrounded by two men wearing eerily realistic pig heads. With these words, death bells, and the subtle sound of a noose swinging, it paints an incredibly dark picture of where her heart is.
A piano fades into the foreground and Kesha begins singing of an individual who spoke of her as though she were the entire universe, but ultimately ended up being a liar. This person abandoned her, but Kesha’s tone quickly turns when she says,
Oh, and after everything you’ve done/I can thank you for how strong I’ve become
This singular line sets the tone for what is a moving ballad of letting go of her pain. She often speaks of praying for this individual. Praying that they would see their mistakes, praying that they would change. It seems as time passed, she grew past her sorrow and ultimately found herself pitying this person.
Strength often comes after time heals the heart. Time allows perspective to creep in and seep directly into the heart. Kesha, in whatever way, found a way to find strength despite her obvious struggles with Depression and an Eating Disorder. So much so that this song bleeds forgiveness, even though she says in one of the lines,
…Some things, only God can forgive…
Overall, the lyrics are incredibly powerful, and the music video is an artistic expression of her finding freedom. I feel as though this will be a salve to bind the wounds of the hurting. This kind of honesty is refreshing to the soul, even if it is coming from a place that doesn’t have all of the answers.
When I first heard this song, the raw nature of the composition took me off guard. It doesn’t seem like the editing was a primary concern, which I believe was a proper choice.
You can’t experience the deep emotion and hurt that she portrays through a mixing board. The producers made a great choice by giving her the freedom to be herself.
The song starts slow, but as the emotion builds, so do the instruments. At one point, I found myself stirred by the blend of piano, drums, and choir voices echoing in the background. Sometimes simple is best.
Having not been a huge fan of Kesha before this song, I can say that I’ve gained a relative level of respect for her. It takes a huge amount of courage to open your soul in such a way that she has, especially given the level of exposure she deals with daily.
This is a phenomenal opportunity for her, and many other artists, to openly share about their hurts and pains in a real, honest way. Many times, the music culture masks their true identities by catchy choruses and overdubbed vocals. Maybe it’s time to take music back a step?
Maybe what we’re really needing from artists is not so much the “feel-good” hit of the summer, but rather a song that speaks to the soul. A song that provides healing instead of promoting provocative garbage.
I believe that we need artists to step up, be real, and be willing to talk about these issues. Mental Health is important, and it needs to be spoken of. These issues need to be brought to light.
These performers have an incredible opportunity to do that, and so do you. Wherever you are, whoever you’re becoming, speak up for the voiceless, the broken, and the hurting.
You never know what kind of difference you’ll make.
What movies, songs, or television shows do you think we should review next? Leave a comment for us and we’ll take a look! Make sure you subscribe to keep up with all of the latest Confessions’ news!
You can find me on social media by using the icons located on the sidebar on the right of the page!
Want to be a part of our monthly newsletter mailing? Subscribe here! Subscribe!
You are loved.
You are valued.