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Substance abuse playlist - escapism series

82% of Gen Z and Millennials use music to alter their mood. The escapism series creates playlists to resonate with various mental health conditions. Experiencing substance abuse whether personally or vicariously through a loved one can be isolating. Welcome to the escapism series, a collection of art created by Gen Z.

TW: Today's playlist relates to substance abuse. It is posted on Youtube here. Help is available at these links.

**Please note: This theme is my interpretation of lyrics - It is not meant to imply diagnoses, lived experiences, or any other associations between artist and mental health condition **

Track #1: "NOT SOBER" - Kid Laroi

“I feel better when I’m not sober” - Need I say more? Kicking us off is 19 y/o Australian singer-songwriter Kid Laroi

The National Institute of Mental Health Substance defines substance use disorder as "a treatable mental disorder that affects a person's brain and behavior, leading to their inability to control their use of substances like legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications."

Track #2: "xanny" - Billie Eilish

This song breaks my heart ;( “I can’t afford to love someone / who isn’t dying by mistake in silver lake / what is it about them? / i must be missing something."

a pile of blue colored prescription medications

Track #3: "Escapism." - RAYE

"I don't wanna feel so I'll stick to sippin." Substance use often arises as a way to self-medicate, or numb out, from symptoms caused by mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. When the high wears off, the person feels worse, and turns to back to the substances in a seemingly inescapable negative feedback loop.

Track #4: "Anxiety" - Coi Leray

The National Institute Drug Abuse reports people with anxiety are twice as likely to develop a substance use disorder than people without. "Been gettin' high to kill the pain / Yeah, yeah, yeah / Wish I could make it go away / I still got anxiety, that's why I keep it on me."

Track #5: "u love u" - Coi Leray (ft. Tate McRae)

"Heart is froze, I don't feel nothing / Drinkin' and drugs just to feel somethin'"

Shouting out our Millennial and Gen X artistssss

Track #6: "UNSTABLE" - Justin Bieber (ft. Kid Laroi)

Continuing on with the negative feedback loop, we're bringing back Kid Laroi for this collab with Justin Bieber. “Sometimes I start to overthink / And I think I feel anxiety”

Track #7: "this is me trying" - Taylor Swift

“They told me all my cages were mental, so I got wasted like my potential."

Track #8: “XO Tour Llif3" - Lil Uzi Vert

"Please, Xanny, make it go away / I’m committed, not addicted, but it keep control of me.”

I don't have a substance use disorder, but in my eating disorder recovery my psychologist often compared my illness to the thought patterns in addictions. Those with any form of addiction can be cognisant of the harm our behaviors are causing to ourselves or others. And we know we cannot stop using. That's because the mental illness has all the control.

Track #9: "Tennis Court" - Lorde

"Getting pumped up on the little bright things I bought / But I know they'll never own me." Echoing the sentiment above... Denial, denial, denial. Let's acknowledge Lorde was 16 years old when this album, titled Pure Heroin, came out.

Track #10: "it ain't me" - Kygo (ft. Selena Gomez)

"Who's wakin' up to drive you home when you're drunk and all alone?"

Track #11a/b: "drunk" or "The A Team" - Ed Sheeran

Who else has "The A Team" auto-blast every time their phone connects to the car's stereo?

Two of the classics that got Ed to where he is today, with his newly released Subtract, his sixth studio album, fully acoustic.

Track #12: "Sober" - P!NK

"Please don't tell me that we had that conversation / I won't remember, save your breath 'cause what's the use?" This lyric connotes hopelessness but substance use disorders ARE treatable and recovery is worth the healing pain.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health concluded that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The statistics prove it. In the U.S. in 2019 -

What are your songs in this escapism series? Find the playlist here.

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