MC, Day 3: Surprise song playing in my head

Joshua tree night sky

At 15 years old, I experienced the first major mental breakdown of my life. I won’t go into it in detail here, but I will say that it was bad enough that my public school recommended that my parents switch me to a nearby alternative private school. I had gone through the gamut in terms of major mood fluctuation, a somewhat traumatic event. I was pressured to quit ballet after years of serious study. The love of my teenage life! Now without the rigors and routine of ballet classes, I felt that I lost my identity and lost my way.

The private school I went to was an almost 180 degree change from my old public high school. It was very liberal and laid back. It had a campus-like setting and all of the teachers asked students to call them by their first names. For the first time in my life, I started to focus on school work a lot more, but I was still angry from what I had recently been through. I was known to argue with teachers and leave classes in tirades. I’d spend evenings and Saturday mornings at the school in suspension. It gave me a lot of time to think, while sweeping leaves.

Young Bono
Young Bono of the band U2

When I quit ballet, I quit everything about it. It was too devastating to have reminders. I stopped listening to classical music. I fell away from ballet friends. I then started focusing on more modern music. At the time it was 1988. My junior year. U2 was the hot band. They had recently released their very popular album The Joshua Tree. I loved the hint of traditional Irish elements, but it was the lyrics that I most became attached to. As Bono sang I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, I felt like he was speaking for me. I was a 17 year old girl who lost her dream, wondering what my new dream should be. The following lyrics were particularly relatable:

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.
I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.
I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one.
But yes, I’m still running.


But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.

The above song played through my mind for years as I tried to find my path in life, and struggled to reach my career goals. I suppose you could say that I’m still searching for “it” to this day, over 20 years later, but during the last few years I’ve grown comfortable in the now. What is on the horizon is yet to be determined. I don’t ruminate on it as much.

There are, of course, some important things I HAVE found in life. I’ve found the love of my husband, the comfort of my home, the support of people around me, and the ability to get pleasure from the small things in life. But what the “big discovery” or destination will be, I still don’t know. Will I ever know and find “it”?

As an aside, there was a brief period of about four years in my illness when I stopped listening to all music. That was when I was maybe 36-40 years old. In depression, I found that music became a source of stress and agitation. I became ultra-sensitive to all kinds of things. I’d often have sensory overload.

In August 2011, something very peculiar started happening to me. I started to hear the faint sound of music. At first it would last only a minute or so. I found it odd that I couldn’t find its source. I checked everywhere, inside and out. It was as if it was coming from the microwave, heater vents, turned off TV or the like. It wasn’t from the neighbors’ homes.

music in my head
Musical hallucinations

The music I heard was completely original. The style varied from classical, to jazz, to rock, to even Indian Pow Wow music. I told my therapist at the time, and he made a joke about it. He said to “Write it down. Maybe you could have a hit!” To that I felt like whacking him. It wasn’t funny at all! These musical hallucinations continued for several months, growing in frequency and length. They started to disturb me greatly. Then one day, for the first time, I recognized a bit of the music I heard. It was the introduction to U2’s song Where the Streets Have No Name, also from The Joshua Tree album. It was just the instrumental part. I hadn’t heard that song in months, or even years. This introduction repeated again and again for weeks. It was driving me crazy! I complained about these auditory hallucinations to my psychiatrist. He, unlike the therapist, took them seriously. To my surprise, he suspected that it was seizure activity. Seizure activity? He recommended that I see a neurologist.

I eventually saw the neurologist my doctor suggested, and was diagnosed with Simple Partial seizures (psychic and sensory types). Coincidentally, my psychiatrist put me on a medication for bipolar disorder that the neurologist suggested for my seizures. It took some time, but when I eventually made it up to 1, 400 mg of Tegretol XR, the musical hallucinations finally stopped, for good. Relief!

I must confess that though I still love U2’s music, I steer clear of The Joshua Tree album. Can you blame me?

The video starts with the instrumentals to Where the Streets Have No Name. Just imagine hearing that instrumental introduction on constant repeat for periods of up to one hour.

I hope you will also visit my other Music Challenge posts:

5-Day Music Challenge, Day 1: Jazz music of all sorts

5-Day Music Challenge, Day 2: I can dance to anything

5-Day Music Challenge, Day 4: Pump up the Jam

5-Day Music Challenge, Day 5: Beethoven’s flight of ideas

Thanks go to Robert Matthew Goldstein of Art by Rob Goldstein for nominating me for the Five-Day Music challenge.









14 thoughts on “MC, Day 3: Surprise song playing in my head

  1. updownflight April 13, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    I accidentally deleted a comment from a member who wanted to reblog this post. I’m so sorry I did that. If you notice, please resend the request. I’d be thankful for this to be reblogged.


    • updownflight April 19, 2017 / 7:05 pm

      yuhublogger, thank you for your sweet comment about my Music Challenge, Day 3 post (about the surprise song playing in my head).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thebipolarswing May 1, 2017 / 10:35 pm

    U2?? Yes! I love them. They were great to see in concert. I can’t blame you for not wanting to listen to the album after the hallucinations though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 2, 2017 / 12:26 pm

      Yes, I haven’t listened to the Joshua Tree album in a very long time. I do listen to their other albums, though. I was also lucky (like you) that I saw them in concert once.


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