Anna of the North - Used to Be
“Now you're spending all your money on the things you don't need
When all that really makes you happy are the things you can't see
Our shit shouldn't be this hard, you know that love is for free.”
Where’s the Meaning?
Anna of the North writes a song which exhibits just how complicated it can be to exist in the world with mental illness. The reality of living with imperfect mental health means that one can all at once be disgusted by life as well as be enchanted by it. And this is where the song ‘Used to be’ resonates with a listener. In her lyrics, Anna of the North paints a picture of the struggle that comes from existing. This comes through most prominently in the lines, “Now you're spending all your money on the things you don't need / When all that really makes you happy are the things you can't see / Our shit shouldn't be this hard, you know that love is for free…” This portion of the song reinforces that happiness is a possibility, but that there are also times when we are simply not able to reach it.
We live in a world in where consumerism and the pursuit of wealth are advertised as the keys to happiness, yet the old adage still proves true; money can’t buy happiness. Money, an expensive lifestyle, fancy objects; none of these things can cure our mental illness. And even though “love is for free,” as the song goes, living with a mental illness can make it appear to be impossible to see the value of love and those invisible things that make life worth living. It is here that living in the world becomes blurred between being a beautiful experience and being a torturous one.
Yet, there is hope in the concept that seeing beauty in life is always a possibility. No matter where we are in our recovery, we can find those invisible things to live for. Anna of the North, in her song, shows that the two realities of living are not mutually exclusive. They can intertwine in confusing ways, and it can be wildly difficult to distinguish them. But varying forms of solace can, at times, be discovered in understanding that reasons for living can always be found. It can start as something small, which can then grow into something larger. It takes time, it is not always an easy path; but the path is still there. It can simply be hard to find.
How does mental illness affect our day-to-day existence? In what ways can we cope with living with mental illness?
How does mental illness shape our view of the world around us?
How does our society promote mental health? How does our society make mental health recovery more difficult? What are the ways to ensure a positive fostering of our mental health throughout our lives?
This organization prides itself as being “your one-stop access to mental health” and offering a variety of educational tools to help visitors of the site better understand mental conditions and the reality of living with mental illnesses. These resources makes it easier to understand different kinds of mental illnesses and what it means to live with them. https://www.mentalhealth.org/
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