Singing With A Broken Heart

It’s hard to sing with a broken heart.

If you are really effected by an event in your life that overwhelms you it is possible to lose the ability to sing. Even if your vocal folds are completely normal, you can find it nearly impossible to sing in the normal manner. This can be from something physical like an accident which might have an impact on your body but not directly on your vocal cords. However, I am not speaking about that kind of event, I am speaking here about emotional and psychological trauma,  particularly events that don’t get addressed after the fact in some kind of counseling or therapy.

Physical, sexual or verbal abuse is bad enough, but it is often ignored, with the victim being silenced. If there is no one to hear the story or validate the experience you can feel disempowered.  Sometimes the event can be far in the past and have a lingering effect on singing in the present moment. If no one heard you when you tried to tell your story, your voice was silenced and your experience denied. If you sing and your heart is connected to your song, encountering something in life that is “heart-breaking” will impact your singing, whether you acknowledge it or not.

The thing to do if you find yourself in this situation is first tell yourself the truth about it. Don’t lie, don’t deny, don’t try to make it better or to go away. Mourn the loss without embarrassment and grieve over the trauma, whatever it may be, whether that seems to make sense or not. Then, seek support. If the event was extreme, look for professional counseling. If it was a bad but less obvious problem, perhaps loving friends will do as listeners, but they must allow you to tell your truth without judgment as fully as possible. Then, when you are ready, and with healing as your intention, sing and use the singing as a way to comfort yourself.

What you do not want to do is force yourself to ignore the messages of your body (your heart) and cheer yourself up only on “the outside”. This will just make things worse. Honor the depth of who you are and wait for your heart to once again have a song to sing. It will come back in good time and in the meantime the sounds you make are not for the world, they are just for you.

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