Taylor Swift’s Midnights made us feel a lot of things. However, “Anti-Hero,” by far, hit us in the gut where it hurts. The entire Midnights album is amazing, but this song is especially cutting, as it delves deeply into Taylor Swift’s insecurities—and some we can relate to all too well (see what I did there?).
Here are the eight best lines from this awesome song that scream depression:
1. “I have this thing where I get older, but just never wiser.”
We often associate age with wisdom, but the truth is age doesn’t always equal wisdom. And it can feel like you’re making the same mistakes even as you age. Feeling stuck in this mindset is unfortunately very relatable.
2. “Midnights become my afternoons.”
Not only is this line a perfect nod to the Midnights album title, but it also speaks as an all-too accurate metaphor for insomnia and depression (which often go hand-in-hand). Am I unable to sleep because I’m thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made, or am I thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made because I’m unable to sleep? Who knows!
3. “When my depression works the graveyard shifts, all of the people I’ve ghosted stand there in the room.”
Anyone who’s had depression can feel this where it hurts, and it makes you withdraw from people. Ghosting is often associated with romantic relationships, but it can happen to friendships too.
And while it’s not justified, it’s easy to believe when you’re depressed that everyone would be better without you. You see isolation as a way to help other people since you think you’re a bad person.
4. “I should not be left to my own devices; they come with prices and vices; I end up in crisis.”
Anyone who’s had intrusive thoughts or anxiety can relate to this. When you’re depressed, your thoughts keep spiraling. Left alone and isolated, your brain runs wild and brings up all your bad memories as if to remind you “hey, remember when this happened?” or “remember when you screwed this up?”
5. “I wake up screaming from dreaming one day I’ll watch as you’re leaving.”
This screams insecurity issues. The first line ends with “‘cause you got tired of my scheming” which hits hard. The second time this line comes around after the chorus, it ends with “and life will lose all its meaning.” Both these last lines hit hard.
6. “I’m a monster on the hill.”
How often have we felt like this at one point or another? This line hits too close to home, especially if you have depression. Depression tells you you’re worthless and a bad person, which we often associate with monsters.
7. “Did you hear my covert narcissism I disguise as altruism like some kind of congressman?”
This line is so awesome, not just for its meaning, but for its wordplay. I mean, rhyming “narcissism” with “altruism” and “congressman?” Not to mention the context of this line is painting a picture yet again of someone who thinks they’re a manipulative, awful person.
8. “I’m the problem; it’s me.”
This perfectly sums up how insecurity feels. Feeling like you’re the problem, something’s wrong with you, and that you just screw up, in general, is something we all can relate to. We’ve all experienced this feeling at one point or another.
9. “I’ll stare directly at the sun, but never in the mirror.”
Taking self-destruction over facing your inner demons is so relatable that I feel personally attacked by this line. That’s a general sentiment I have when I experience depression. Many of us would rather stay in a painful place than confront ourselves.
10. “It must be exhausting, always rooting for the anti-hero.”
This one just makes me cry a little. You really do feel like a villain, or at least not a hero, when you’re depressed. And when people help you, you feel like you’re burdening them. It’s the vicious cycle of depression.
This whole song is heartbreaking and a giant punch in the gut. It’s Taylor’s insecurities on full display, but also ours because a lot of these lyrics are so damn relatable. If you ever need to explain what depression looks like, point people to this song. And don’t forget to bring tissues.
Featured Image is a Screen Shot from Taylor Swifts “Anti-Hero” music video.