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There is a Light, Don’t Let it Go Out

Music has always been an important part of my life. From as early as age 4-5, I remember my mom playing the radio all the time: in the house, in the car, and everywhere, it seemed. When I was in third grade (age 8-9), I began taking piano lessons which I loved and found very exciting. I was making music myself! Incredible! I continued with lessons and played throughout high school. My senior year, however, was my last year of lessons and would be the last time I played the piano in a long time. Why? RA began attacking my hands.

As 12th grade progressed, the pain and swelling in my hands and feet grew steadily worse. I remember thinking, I can’t play the piano like this! I could barely comb my hair or fasten the buttons on my clothes. Giving up the piano was a big loss and I felt sad about it for many years. But even if I couldn’t play music myself anymore, I couldn’t give up on it entirely. Since the day I got my first RA symptoms until today, music has been a crucial and healing form of therapy for me. It’s a lifesaver.

Music is really something magical, I believe. It has the power to inspire, energize, soothe, calm, give hope, communicate love and understanding, and a million other things. I can be upset and in pain but if I switch on a favorite song, I often feel better.

Music: an escape

Listening to music can also provide a much-needed escape: from pain, sorrow, sadness, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, doubt, and regret. Sometimes, if the lyrics and music work together to touch you in a special way, you feel that you’re not so alone. There have been many times when I’ve felt lonely and isolated living with RA, like nobody understands, and listening to music always made me feel a little less alone and hopeless. It’s no substitute for real, human interaction, of course. But it helps a lot.

The following list are a few of my favorite songs with favorite lyrics that help pick me up when I’m feeling down and overwhelmed with RA and life. Or just resonate in a strong way. It’s magic, remember? I can’t completely explain it! I hope you enjoy the songs and please let me know if any of them mean anything to you, too.

1. “Pain” by The War on Drugs (album: A Deeper Understanding)

I’ve been pulling on a wire, but it just won’t break
I’ve been turning up the dial, but I hear no sound
I resist what I cannot change
I want to find what can’t be found

2. “I Get My Beat” by Richard Ashcroft (album: Alone with Everybody)

Take your time
It’s a beautiful thing

3. “The Weight of the World” by Editors (album: An End Has a Start)

Every little piece in your life will add up to one
Every little piece in your life will mean something to someone

4. “Mountain at My Gates” by Foals (album: What Went Down)

I see a mountain at my gates
I see it more and more each day
What I give it takes away
Whether I go or when I stay

Give me some time
Show me the foothold from which I can climb
When I feel low
Show me the sign post for where I should go

5. “Walk On” by U2 (album: Everything You Can’t Leave Behind)

Walk on
What you’ve got, they can’t steal it
No, they can’t even feel it

I know it aches
And your heart
It breaks
You can only take so much

Walk on
Leave it behind
You’ve got to leave it behind

6. “A Song for Someone” by U2 (album: Songs of Innocence)

If there is a light
You can’t always see
And there is a world
We can’t always be

If there is a dark
Within and without
And there is a light
Don’t let it go out

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    7 months ago


    Three Days Grace

    You’re sick of feeling numb
    You’re not the only one
    I’ll take you by the hand
    And I’ll show you a world that you can understand
    This life is filled with hurt
    When happiness doesn’t work
    Trust me, and take my hand
    When the lights go out, you’ll understand

    Pain without love
    Pain, I can’t get enough
    Pain, I like it rough
    ‘Cause I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all

    Pink Floyd

    Comfortably Numb

    Can you show me where it hurts
    I think I know what’s wrong
    A lot people get this way
    Take two of these four times a day
    I’ll drop in when I pass this way again
    There is no pain, you are receding
    A distant ship smoke on the horizon
    You are only coming through in waves
    Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying

    When I was a child I had a fever
    My hands felt just like two balloons
    Now I’ve got that feeling once again
    I can’t explain, you would not understand
    This is not how I am
    I have become comfortably numb

    Nine Inch Nails


    I hurt myself today
    To see if I still feel
    I focus on the pain
    The only thing that’s real

    The needle tears a hole
    The old familiar sting
    Try to kill it all away
    But I remember everything

    I wear this crown of shit
    Upon my liar’s chair
    Full of broken thoughts
    I cannot repair
    Beneath the stain of time
    The feelings disappear
    You are someone else
    I am still right here

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