We’d like to thank Riikka for contributing this story and playlist about how heavy metal music helps her to manage low mood, rapid emotional shifts and ADHD:

I first got into metal because I have a melancholic personality! I’ve experienced bad depression phases and heavy music has helped me to cope with feelings.  I have ADHD so I’m pretty passionate, quick, impulsive, and emotional.  I also have recurrent, pretty bad depression.  I had ECT treatment which was a hard thing to go through, but my depression has not been as bad in the 4 years since I had it.  

There are loads of bands I like but the ones I most listen to are Tool, Megadeth, Alice in Chains, Gojira, Metallica (old albums), Sonata Arctica, Sentenced, Amorphis,  and Rage Against the Machine.

I find lyrics to be the most important thing to me and I feel them deeply.  Tool’s lyrics touch me,  like Sentenced’s do too.  I’ve always felt that heavy music is the music that calms me, and my ADHD a lot. Because of my ADHD I get these rage kinda states, or my emotions go overboard and heavy music helps to calm me.  ADHD is hard to explain, its like your brain is in constant motion, war, fast, full of information and heavy metal gives me or allows me to go through these states better.  I think it is important for people with ADHD to go through rage, frustration, and large emotions through music, instead of through drugs or other ways of coping that may not help in the long term.  Impulsivity is also a problem, and music helps me get though that too.  I like the loud almost roar in a man’s singing voice.  It feels like I can live my rage, impulsivity, and passion through it.  I like to listen to fast lyrics like Rage Against the Machine when my brain is going fast, I also like Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor is a genius.

Without heavy music I think my life could have taken a different path and I could be a criminal, or have turned to drugs. ADHD is a pretty difficult thing to cope with. You need kicks to give your brain stimulation, and that’s why some people with ADHD might take a bad road, to find those kicks, which I get through music.  My emotional mood can change very fast, and heavy music helps with that too for me. I change the songs repeatedly to others to get the  kick I need from them.

I find different bands help me for managing different challenges:

Meditation music – Rage Against the Machine, Living Colour

Depression – Nine inch Nails, Pusciver, a Perfect Circle, Children of Bodum

Dark Thoughts – Sentenced (I can go through my emotions when I listen to it), CMX, Linkin Park

Calming Down – Dead can Dance, Tool, Nine Inch Nails

Because Riikka suggested so many great songs she loves, we have put them into a playlist for you.  She says that Alice in Chain’s Nutshell is her anthem as it has saved her many times, so we will start with that one – lots of belters in here!