I'm a hummer. At home, work, no matter what I'm doing, I hum or sing a tune without realizing it half the time.
Up until recently, I never gave this habit much thought. It has always been a part of who I am and I considered it a normal occurence in everyone's life.
Last week however, a co-worker was speaking to me about how depression ran in her family. Her son was recently diagnosed with depression and was put on some medication to treat it. After several trials and errors, the right medication and right dose was discovered for him. He told his mom one day that he had a rather odd side effect. He often woke up in the morning with a song running through his head and several songs would just arbitrarily "pop up" throughout the day. He found this to be a unique and delightful addition in his life.
Then she stopped and said, "You always seem to be humming. Do you hear music too?"
"All the time," I said. "Ever since I was a kid. I don't recall NOT hearing music."
She smiled. "Really? You don't take antidepressants...it is just something normal for you?"
"I guess so. Up until now, I just assumed that everyone heard music."
She shook her head. "No, I think it is a sign of a healthy and happy mind. You don't ever get depressed?"
"Yeah, I get a little down once in awhile, just like everyone. In fact, I went through a lot of depression years ago. I sometimes had to force the music then, or hear it on tape rather than in my head. It was the only way I could get myself out of the funk I was in." I thought hard for a moment. "You know, if I didn't have that ability, I think my life would be pretty miserable. It is no wonder that your son is so delighted by it."
She and I left the conversation at that for the time because we had to get back to work. Then, again today, I was just getting off work and she said something that reminded me of a song (practically everything does, you know) and I started singing a little chorus to an old sixties motown song without realizing it. She laughed and said, "There you go again. I'm amazed at all the songs in your head. I counted today how many songs you hummed that I recognized, must've been at least twenty in the last couple hours." She shook her head and smiled, "Amazing...how you do that."
I shrugged. "Habit I think. When things aren't looking their best...I always think of a song to cheer me up. I know that sounds an awful lot like 'The Sound of Music' but it really does work."
"I'm going to have to get into that habit, then," she said as we left the building together to go home.
Music in my head...something I've always had and taken for granted. I will no longer take it for granted anymore. I now realize what a precious gift it really is. Not everyone has this ability and I am so grateful for this gift.
Oh, and the picture of the sleeping chihuahua? I'm certain he hears music in his sleep. I think all dogs do. They are always so darn happy all the time.