Karaoke for Recovery

I am not a good singer. I can safely say I never was and in everyday life that never really stopped me from doing it. Many years ago, I found myself having a lengthy stay in a mental hospital and at the time I could not speak. There was plenty going on brain-wise, but my verbal ability had left me.

I remember that it was near Christmas time, and the hospital had a holiday party. One of the things that was available to patients was Karaoke.

There was such a struggle going on within me. So much inside that wanted to come out but my ability to express it was stuck. But I do know a few Christmas carols. I took that microphone and ever so delicately my voice was not loud or booming instead it felt like a whisper coming from deep within, but I made WORDS, coherent speech emanated forth.

I don’t know how long I had not been able to be verbal, it seemed far too long. Christmas songs felt safe and something I remembered. To hear my own voice, coherent and coming from ME, had such incredible meaning. It might take a while, but I was going to get better, it was a moment where I tapped into my inner strength. It genuinely felt miraculous.

Trillium’s Executive Director, Cynthia Dudley, is always looking for ways to help people that have mental health issues. She found out about my karaoke set up and asked me about it.

I told her about my time at that hospital which got her to thinking that Karaoke might work for some people at the center. It became one of our activities, before the days of Covid. Not to encourage perfect pitch, on the contrary I loved Trillium Karaoke because it was a chance to let loose, in a non-judgmental environment that, as always, feels safe. It encouraged bravery because stepping up in front of people requires it. One did not need to be a good singer. It was pure fun.

This is karaoke for recovery. When a person hears their own voice out loud, it is a different sound than the inner voice that dare I say is pretty much always going, ‘Nah, nah, nah,’ in our minds. Our outer voice communicates with other people and it is mighty important. It’s nice to know that even if one loses the ability for something so important, it can come back.

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