“The Songs that Saved Your Life”


British psychologist Jay Watts explores the impacts of spontaneous recollections of songs and poems on people struggling with different types of mental distress in an essay published in The Lancet Psychiatry. “We need only think of the importance of lullabies, the adolescent’s compulsive repeated listening to a pop song, and the power of song in dementia care to see how words that combine language and musicality stabilise us at pivotal moments,” writes Watts. She also discusses how shared artistic experiences can help marginalized people re-connect with those around them.

“Culture provides a terrain to place one’s own psychodrama into shared cultural experience, so as to weaken its grip and render it less intensely our own,” writes Watts. “This experience might be especially important for patients with psychosis, who often develop anxieties that the type of intrusive experiences we all have must be madness.”

The Songs that Saved Your Life (Watts, Jay. The Lancet Psychiatry, V.1, Issue 2, July 2014 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61345-8)

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Dr. Jay Watts


  1. Jay-

    This subject is of interest to me. Because after I’d been weaned off of some medically unnecessary given drug cocktails (mandated, according to all my medical records, to cover up easily recognized and controversial iatrogenesis by my ex-PCP and her husband, and child abuse that occurred at my ex-pastor’s best friend’s house and his church). I suffered from what I now understand was a drug withdrawal induce manic psychosis. This was my first actual “psychosis.”

    It took the form of what many on the internet are describing as a spiritual awakening or spiritual emergency. But, in my case, music played a very key role. Because I realized, as I was going through what seemed like a mid-life reflection of all the wonderful people I’d met in my life (as opposed to the opinions of the evil psychiatrists, whose records I was at the time, deciphering). I was awakened to the fact that I could tell the story of relationships with people, throughout my entire life, in the lyrics of music. The story of my life and unconscious or dreams took the form of a lyrical libretto, playing out on the radio.

    It’s great makings for a book, and ironically, I was initially medicated for believing God could inspire a story (and for belief in the Holy Spirit). But, I will concede, it is a tale of how Western “mental health” services are no more scientifically valid or beneficial to humanity, than were the belief systems of the Salem witch hunters, or the Nazi psychiatrists. It is, however, also a beautiful love story between a man who “comes in the night like a thief” “killing me softly with his song, singing my life with his words” and a lyrical libretto amongst everyone else – a symphony of the collective soul.

    I’ll conclude with a song of thanks for the “Amazing Grace” of all those who were kind enough to save this “wretched soul” (actually, I’m not a bad person at all, really):


    “Who knows? ….”

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    • Actually, I should correct something. I suffered my very first “psychosis” two weeks after being prescribed Risperdal. But I was quickly put on massive drug cocktails to cover up that “Foul up” (ADR). So the initial terrifying “psychosis” fairly quickly turned into obnoxious and incessant “voices,” until I was finally weaned off the anticholinergic intoxication inducing major drug interaction laden drug cocktails.

      Pardon, I want to be accurate. And, unfortunately, part of being accurate is to mention that the psychiatric drugs can CAUSE the psychiatric symptoms in people who did not previously have any psychiatric symptoms. And sadly, I know that the medical research proved this, prior to my being drugged. And now, millions of children are being railroaded and harmed via the exact same iatrogenic pathway that made me sick, merely for profit. I wish it would stop, it’s pure evil.

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