• Devin Gackle

Songblog: Phantom Limb


"Phantom Limb" written by Devin Gackle, March 2018

This song was inspired by all the misconceptions about depression I've heard over the years. Namely things like, "depression is a choice." (It's not, by the way.)

Depression is sometimes really hard to describe, but I hope this song at least somewhat helps to convey how I feel about it. The phrase "phantom limb" kept coming to me - the idea that you feel something even when it isn't there, or that it's a part of you even when you don't feel it.

It's like static surrounding you, and doing its best to drown out all the positive energy. Like your emotions don't have any room to breathe, and they get stuck.

I've been fortunate enough to have a good support system. I've been fortunate enough, especially in recent years, not to have dumb things like "it's all in your head," or "just let it go," or "maybe you just need to spend some time outside," said to me. I hope no one ever says anything like that to me, and I don't know how I'd respond if someone ever does say something like that to me.

Because all those words are examples of what you should not say to someone with depression. Those are not assuring words; they're hurtful words that minimize someone's experiences and feelings. And sometimes, even if you mean well, that person might get the message you don't care enough about them to really listen to them, and you just give them some half-hearted "advice" instead.

So I suppose I wrote this song for those moments, when someone (even well-meaning people) says something like that to you, and you don't know how to tell them how wrong they are.

It's hard to describe, hard to understand. Often for all parties involved. I guess I'm hoping this song will be an avenue of discussion - one that helps people who need an ear to open up, and those who need to listen not just listen, but hear.

It may be hard to talk about, too. But you've got to start somewhere.


Lyrics:

You tell me to get over it, let it go

You say I can choose to be happy, don't I know

But I can't get out of my head

I can't choose anything, don't you understand

I'm trying to hear through all of the noise

I'm trying to find a way to raise my voice

I wouldn't live like this if I had a choice

You make it worse when you say I should enjoy

You tell me to get some air, there's a world outside

You say my pain isn't real, it's just my mind

You say you're on my side, you'll always be there

But I feel like you're not really listening, like you don't care

I'm trying to reach through all of the static

I'm trying to breathe through all the plastic

I don't do it on purpose, it's just my fabric

You seem to think it can be fixed like magic

I feel it like a phantom limb

I'm trying so hard to let you in

I'm waiting for an arm and an ear

Maybe you just don't want to hear

I'm trying to reach through all of the static

I'm trying to breathe through all the plastic

I don't do it on purpose, it's just my fabric

You seem to think it can be fixed like magic

I'm trying to hear through all of the noise

I'm trying to find a way to raise my voice

I wouldn't live like this if I had a choice

You make it worse when you say I should enjoy