Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Medicine Cabinet #16

by Nayt Housman

Music is my medicine. Is it yours? I ask the public six golden questions to find out if and how they use music to feed the soul.

'Elliot' by Nayt Housman

Here in the Medicine Cabinet Clinic we invite anyone and everyone for a probing and to share their ills and pills when it comes to musical relief. Tonight I nabbed young 17yo Elliot, who when not strumming on his guitar is out doing a spot of photography which fills the position of being his life passion. Let’s see who fills his heart with music shall we? Yes, we shall.

Thinking of music as medicine:

Who are at least three musicians or groups flick your switch and turn up the volume?

Elliot: Okay! Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction, Northlane.

Why are they the pills that cure your ills?

Elliot: I guess because I play a lot of guitar, and I like to play the stuff I listen to which is fast and loud and sometimes technical. I also like doing covers.

What kind of high do they give you?

Elliot: Hmmmmm…

Good question! I don't know if I'd call it a high. I guess I would say, they bring me up from however I am at that time. If I feel shit, then I feel less shit. If I'm feeling awesome, I feel more awesome. Cha feel?

So they're basically a mood improver? Maybe an like an upper?

Elliot: An upper indeedy.

When do you find yourself craving musical relief?

Elliot: I listen to music mostly on the train or driving, but I'm practically always listening.

Where does music take you?

Elliot: Usually a really good place of solitude, where I can immerse myself in the lyrics, beat, etc.

So it's all about the internal places it takes you?

Elliot: I guess it's a good time for thinking, or not; sometimes just a good place to be brain dead.

How do you share your music love?

Elliot: I don't know a whole lot of people who share my particular taste in music, so I mostly keep it to myself. But it's fun to pick up the guitar and play for people every now and again.


Elliot is the kind of guy who likes to just live day by day and see what gets thrown at him. I tell you what, if Elliot’s ears can handle this kind of hardcore on a regular basis then hot dang I’m sure he can handle ANY ding dang diddly old thing. Props to you boy, you got some ears of steel!

It’s perhaps not surprising that like for myself and many millions of us human beings out there, Elliot finds his escape in music. It’s that momentary disconnect from the surroundings and happenings going on directly in front of us. Like, “Oops I almost got hit by a car!” No problem, music had my back. Or, “Oh crap I just severed a toe!” No biggie, I’ve got music to distract me until the ambulance arrives “Oooh Pethidine!” Sometimes that escape can effectively emphasize our emotions and other times it can provide the numbing agent for everything we want to drown out.

I shall dub this “The Analgesic Effect”. Did you know around 50% of the human population experience chills when listening to their favourite music and this reaction signals the release of dopamine in to the part of your brain that is activated by addiction, motivation and reward? It’s true! This is why music has such a powerful effect on so many of us and it doesn’t matter what type of music it is. What ever it is that floats your boat gives the same reaction no matter who you are. That’s probably why when I go without listening to music for any extended period of time I start feeling so agitated.

Doctor Nayt’s prescription this week is only for you music junkies. You know who you are. Don’t bother trying to cure this addiction; I encourage you to develop it further. So wherever you are at any time of the day, I want you to find a way to include music in that moment. If you’re commuting to work, put on the radio, put in your earphones and allow yourself to disappear. While you’re at work, if the radio isn’t already playing, put on your iPod in the office, hum a tune. While you’re out with friends, make them see a band with you, share an earphone and escape together. Let that dopamine flood your striatum, allow your eyes to roll back in your head and let the addiction take control. 

*Note! I do not endorse any kind of addictive behaviour stimulated by any means other than music*

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