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18 Songs That Were Written About Chronic Illness

Thursday 6 June 2019


From The Mighty:


Dan Reynolds, Trip Lee, Avril Lavigne
(Left to Right) Dan Reynolds, Trip Lee, and Avril Lavigne.

18 Songs That Were Written About Chronic Illness

By Paige Wyant
June 5, 2019
© Copyright 2019 The Mighty.

Music is often a source of comfort and emotional healing. Many people with chronic illness in particular find that certain songs or genres can be powerful in helping distract them from symptoms and cope with all the stresses and frustrations of life with a health condition.

For Mighty contributor Samantha Moss, music is an important form of distraction therapy. She said the chronic pain from her rare disease can lead to anxiety and stress, but music “makes everything better.” In her essay, “The One Thing That Helps Distract Me From My Pain,” she explained:

As soon as I play my favorite songs, I begin singing. My mind becomes focused on the music and the words of the song.

I still feel my pain. Each step causes sharp shocks through my body, but it’s not at the forefront of my mind. That small change of allowing the music to flood my mind, allows me to complete the task I want to do. The music brings me joy and that reduces stress, which in turn helps reduce my sense of pain.

While there are countless songs out there that have helped people through difficult health moments, there’s something extra special about songs inspired by the ups and downs of living with a health condition.

Below, we rounded up 18 songs that were written about an individual’s experience with chronic illness — whether that person is the songwriter, a band member, a friend or a loved one.

Hearing these artists speak (er, sing) out about illness is not only important for raising awareness of these various conditions, but it’s also a heartening reminder for any chronically ill listeners that you are not alone.

If you’re looking for songs you can relate to as someone with chronic illness, check out the list below:


8. “Sweet Victory” by Trip Lee

In “Sweet Victory,” Christian rapper Trip Lee opens up about his struggles with ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, formerly called chronic fatigue syndrome). ME/CFS is a chronic and debilitating disease that causes post-exertional malaise (PEM), meaning extreme exhaustion that’s made worse by even minor physical or mental effort. However, it can cause many other symptoms too, such as sleep problems, cognitive issues (including brain fog), chronic pain and light/sound sensitivity.

Though he struggles with his health, Lee said he finds hope and encouragement in his faith. “Things may look bad, but I always know it’s going to end with a victory,” he explained. “That’s what life is like. There are a lot of ups and downs. It might look like I’m losing, but I always have hope. That song is very close to my heart.”


17. “Nobody’s Empire” by Belle & Sebastian

When Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch was attending college in the 1980s, he developed ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, formerly known as chronic fatigue syndrome). Murdoch says he was incapacitated for two years and spent five years recovering.

A relapse of the condition led Murdoch to write “Nobody’s Empire,” which was released in 2015. “There’s a year of my life bottled into every line,” he told The Guardian, adding:

When I wrote it I was fighting the same demons. I wrote the song to cheer myself up. I wanted to write my own ‘glorious,’ in inverted commas, history. I want to walk out of this room and be a normal person. I want to go on tour with the band. All of this is a day-to-day battle so it was absolutely real for me, writing that song.


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