Everybody Hurts by R.E.M

Song of the Week recommended by MIA Staff Reporter Amy Biancolli: “R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” from the album Automatic for the People, was released as a single in April of 1993, a year after my sister Lucy’s suicide. I remember taking some small relief in its words, which acknowledge the isolating pains of life — and the urge to leave it — so plainly, so matter-of-factly, in ways that humanize rather than pathologize.

“When your day is long, And the night —
the night is yours alone,
When you’re sure you’ve had enough,
Of this life, well hang on, Don’t let yourself go,
‘Cause everybody cries,
Everybody hurts sometimes.

I wish Lucy and my other loved ones who died by suicide, my husband included, had made it through their own long nights. But the song sees them — all of us — with a plainspoken empathy that has always felt, to me, as unifying as it was cathartic. In its appeal to hang on, the song doesn’t judge. It doesn’t label. It isn’t aimed at people diagnosed with depression or anything else; it’s aimed at people.

We needn’t be “disordered” to feel, to cry, to hurt. Instead, we need only be alive.”

-Amy Biancolli

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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