Mental Health is a Silent Duel

from Duel (1971 Universal)

Watch Steven Spielberg’s silent wonder Duel while listening to classic John Williams score Duel of the Fates, from that seminal masterpiece Star Wars Ep 1: The Phantom Menace. See how the score bristles the imagery into life and how Williams really echoes the plight of David, the businessman.

In this week’s exciting episode I shall let you in on an enormous secret that you must promise not to divulge to anyone within, or outside, of your circle. This is for you and you alone. Why?

Because you are a unique and amazing Sunnava Gun. Yes, you, I’m not pointing to the guy behind you wearing the trilby, I’m looking right at you. 

Do you have depression – anxiety etc and so forth? Do you want to find a balance in yourself which is not medication related? Do you find meditation interesting but feel you have no time to divulge into such a luxurious extravagance of time? Do you love Art and would you like to use it to make yourself feel better, increase your drive and passion and open your imagination to your wonderful possibilities?

Then this is what you have been looking for.

I’m talking about 80s movie soundtracks this week baby. Where better to start than with my most favourite track to meditate to, yes, step forwards Shirley Bassey as she belts out Moonraker.

Movie soundtracks have long been a passion of mine. The very first piece of music that I bought for myself was in 1982, and was the theme for E.T. Since then I have had more than a burning interest in movie music, and how it can allow your mind to wander, or replay the movie in your head. 

Because sometimes you need to open your imagination.

Sometimes you don’t, but you can watch the movie in your car while you drive and if you are a geek like me you can say the dialogue. 

I’m not just a John Williams fan; although if you look at my collection, the Oscar winning composer takes up a sizable chunk of my CD shelf. No, I also enjoy the music of John Barry and Hans Zimmer. I mean, Inception music! That is so cool!

Fave soundtracks for me are The Empire Strikes Back; Raiders of the Lost Ark; Live and Let Die (70’s and George Martin, but hey); Inception (not 80’s) and then popular 80’s collections like Ghostbusters and Beverly Hills Cop.

You also have the genius that was Jerry Goldsmith; the creepy synths of John Carpenter or the scope of Alan Silvestri; and then the mix tapes of Ferris Bueller or that 1987 Michael J Fox classic The Secret of My Success.

You see, the 1980’s was a great time for creativity within film; and with all the teen movies and love stories you needed an up to the minute and memorable soundtrack. That’s why movies and soundtracks were sold together. That’s also why we got so many themes from that decade which stick in your mind like an unwanted jockey boy at a D&D party.

The Lost Boys – Top Gun – Beverly Hills Cop II – Dirty Dancing – Good Morning Vietnam – Platoon…all had hit soundtracks to go with the film. The Goonies had Cyndi Lauper doing their theme tune; Peter Cetera was all over the Karate Kid; Billy Ocean was getting tough with Douglas, Turner and DeVito. TV shows like Moonlighting produced an album for goodness sake. It was a cool time for music. 

Yeah, I know, calm down already; but why is a mental health blog talking about 80’s soundtracks?

Simples, my dear reader, because it is through the listening of something familiar that allows your mind to wander.

Plugging in some wonderful slices of music gives your mind space to breathe; it is mindful listening, and because it is a movie soundtrack you can pick the  style straight from something you know and delights your mind with beautiful imagery.

Giving our minds space is so important when it comes to balancing our mental health. We cannot stop thoughts, it is impossible, but we shouldn’t allow the bad shit to grow and manifest, we should be able to let it go. Meditation plays an important role in that, and music can help you meditate.

The trouble I found with counselling way back then was that I was encouraged to find blame for the bad thoughts, but I didn’t want to blame anyone for what I was thinking. It was me thinking about suicide, about harm, about injury and about depression. I was the one doing it, why dig shit up when all I actually wanted to do was to find a place to leave it and let it go. Counselling was not for me. It might work for you, I am open to all forms of dialogue and resources. But find something that you connect with and don’t be afraid to say when something isn’t. It’s your world you are talking about.

From my failure through counselling I found mindfulness, and from mindfulness I found my own way into my imagination and into my world. I reconnected with who I am, who I was and who I should be. I did that by listening to music from my past that made me happy. I then discovered that by meditating while listening to that music, I could see who I actually wanted to be and that those thoughts, while real, were mine, I owned them and by owning them I also controlled them. I am my thoughts, good and bad; I now accept that the bad stuff exists, but I no longer feel guilty when I sense it there…

…you know, when it is on your shoulder; or in the background; whispering in your ear; or just out of reach so you can’t grab it. 

Now, you may not be a child of the 80’s, so you might have other cool stuff that reconnects back to your time of innocence. It is exactly going back to your childhood, that’s what it is, no shame there. Yet, I felt that I needed to do that to remind me who I was. I was not the adult struck down with fear and guilt and lack of anything. In actual fact I had talent and I had purpose and I needed to find that again. 

It hasn’t cured my depression, but it has given me strength and confidence. That goes some way towards fighting off the demons when they emerge. 

Music that connects with you is a wonderful way to find a meditative spot in your day; and it is timed, you can pick a 4 or 3 or 5 or 10 minute track, it is up to you.

My go to tracks are the Moonraker theme, as mentioned; Rescue from Cloud City; Cable Car and Snake Fight; In the Jungle; Time and John Dunbar’s Theme. John Barry, John Williams and Hans Zimmer.

Give it a go my friend, and let me know how you feel in the comments below. 

Stay fresh, and never mind the bollocks. Signing off with cheese bags. 

Published by zacthrav

writer - performer and general lover...that doesn't mean I love generals...of movies and pop culture. Tackling Mental Health using my super powers.

2 thoughts on “Mental Health is a Silent Duel

  1. The James Bond opening song has always had an iconic status about it throughout the series, but I couldn’t tell you what one’s I remember off the top of my head.

    I can’t really remember any 80s soundtracks either off the top of my head. Music does have a great ability to enhance and change our moods though, so I guess you can get the same benefits you get from 80s soundtracks from any genres, as long as you personally like the track.

    So your 80s movie soundtrack might be my 90s nu-metal song

    Liked by 1 person

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