What does Unwell mean?

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Matchbox 20: Unwell Meaning

Song Released: 2003


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Unwell Lyrics

All day
Staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night
Hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something
Hold on
I'm feeling like I'm headed for a
Breakdown
I...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 31st 2012 report

    This song means so much to me, and it's for so many reasons.
    As I child I would listen to this song all the time, and it would make me think of all the good times. Something about that mandolin really touched me. In my opinion, it was my favourite song of my childhood- I would smile whenever I heard it on the radio, recorded the song on a cassette. I did everything just to hear it.

    Little did I know that in a few years time, it would be the song I could not listen to any more.
    When I turned 17, I witnessed my younger brother going through a a very complicated state of mind. He had, some sort of a combination of bipolar, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder. It made him so different to what he was as a child. It pains me to say this, but my brother actually became, someone I hated. He would ruin everyday with his awful personality - fighting to himself, screaming at my mother and father. In many ways, he was unwell.

    Now whenever I hear that song, I could never listen to it the whole way through. The lyrics can only relate to one thing- my brother. Listening to unwell now just breaks me to tears. That mandolin which I loved as a child only brings nothing but awful memories of that past. Isn't it amazing what music, or just a single song, can do?

    To the meaning of this song, I believe it could be interpretated as anything to anyone. One might think it might talk of somebody who feels isolated and just wants understanding. But to me, this song touches a very sensitive topic- one more sensitive and harder to go through then death. That's mental illness.

    And to sum it up, mental illness is something that should never be ignored.
    We got help for our brother, and now he is doing better than we thought he would.
    Once you see the signs, never leave it to the last minute. Because, I'm telling you. It leaves scars.

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    tyculbert
    click a star to vote
    Apr 27th 2008 report

    "The song is about a person who claims to not be crazy even though they're suffering from various occurrences that could lead them to be labeled as such. Rob Thomas states on the live DVD Show: A Night in the Life of Matchbox Twenty that he wrote the song to be a metaphor for humanity in general, a song for people who are "fucked up and feel alone like that. We all feel a little fucked up sometimes... you're not alone.""

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unwell

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    faithforfuture
    click a star to vote
    Nov 5th 2008 report

    My son is diagnosed with schizophrenia. He hears voices, has a disease, he's a little unwell and a little impaired but he's not crazy. That's my interpretation. A theme song for those who have conditions in which voices and shadows are present in their lives.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 7th 2018 report

    Ummmmmm, from an interview with Rob Thomas

    Thomas also spoke on “Unwell,” off the group’s third album, More Than You Think You Are. In addition to great lyrics—which center on Thomas coming to terms with how uncomfortable he felt as a rock star—“Unwell" features some unexpected banjo playing suggested by Matchbox Twenty multi-instrumentalist Paul Doucette.

    https://genius.com/a/rob-thomas-breaks-down-the-meaning-behind-your-favorite-matchbox-twenty-songs

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 5th 2017 report

    This can really be about so many things people go through. Growing up, being a little different, odd and querky like I was talking to myself, people talking about me and life honestly getting me down. Depression, causing mood swings, lack of sleep, loneliness, lack of interest in things you use to do. Anxiety, can do all sorts of messed up stuff to you and you can feel so alone when you really need someone there to talk you down. Autism, sensitivity syndrome, OCD, have a whole range of characteristics that are addressed in this song. My son has chronic tic disorder like Turrets, with odd bodily movements and sounds, and kids think he's quite odd, he's very sensitive in multiple ways, plus he's very imaginative and tells lots of stories which feed into kids thinking he's odd. That has worn on him and now he's feeling depressed. He's not crazy, just a little unwell, much like we all are at times. There really are so many little issues and bigger issues this could deal with, many that deal with the brain or moods but aren't really crazy, that with the proper help get better and lead us to normalcy.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 7th 2013 report

    (depression)all day staring at the ceiling; (visual hallucination)making friends with shadows on my wall; (auditory hallucination)all night hearing voices; (command hallucination)that i should go to sleep; (somatic illness) hold on, feeling like i'm headed for a breakdown; (denial{one of the defense mechanism} but i'm not crazy i'm just a little unwell; (bipolar{mania to depression} but stay awhile and then maybe you'll see the different kind of me; (denial)i'm not crazy i'm just a little impaired; (bipolar) but soon enough you gonna think of me how i used to be; (psychosis)i'm talking myself in public; (visual hallucination)dodging glances on the train; (paranoid) l know they've all been talking about me; (psychosis)iv'e been talking in my sleep; (paranoid)pretty soon they'll come to get me, they're taking me away....

    for me this is the meaning of each stanza according to a psychiatric book,. our clinical instructor ask the class to look for the meaning of this song, and for me the guy in the song is suffering from a schizophrenia bipolar type..iv'e experienced to have a patient like this..

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 15th 2012 report

    My idea is a guy who is schizophrenic because he explains that he hears shadows and theirs a girl that he likes to somewere in the song. but i think its mainly about some one who is schizophrenic with just how he explains his problems in the song and how he says i have been talking in my sleep of how their coming to get me and im guessing the whatevers trying to get him are the voices he hears.

  8. anonymous
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    Sep 8th 2012 report

    I can really relate to this song. It's a powerful song and I love the lyrics. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 a while ago. I was feeling paranoid and couldn't get sleep. I've never had depression, but I had a manic episode. I was in the hospital for a month and a few weeks. I got the help I needed and am doing so much better. I have thankfully off two medicines and am doing really well. Healthier than before I was sick. My nutrition is helping a lot with the situation and I thank God everyday! I am so blessed to be feeling well and am praying for others in need. Reading these comments makes me know that I am not alone.

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 3rd 2012 report

    I think this song can be interpreted by any person who's suffering from any degree of any disease. Even someone like me, who just went through some chronic sadness - I looked unhappy all the time, and I think my classmates picked up on it and they thought I was crazy. After all, who gets depressed at my age? And I wanted more than anything to tell them that I wasn't crazy, just a little unwell.

  10. FrederickCrosby777
    click a star to vote
    Dec 9th 2011 report

    My son was diagnosed with Bipoler(Manic depressant).This illness is devastating and misunderstood. It is like a living hell.He listened to this song several times and knew he could relate to it. Nothing felt important to him and no one could understand what he was going through. He felt like everything people said was about him. He had very bad mood swings from mania to depression.He suffered from delusions and heard voices or whispers in his sleep."Hearing voices telling me
    That I should get some sleep Because tomorrow might be good for something Hold On". My wife said this song was for our son. He took his own life. No more voices, sleep or tomorrow. When my wife and I listen to this song,he is well and will see tomorrow.

  11. anonymous
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    Dec 8th 2011 report

    This song really relates to my son. He was diagnosed as Bipolor (Manic Depressent). A very deep depression that is unbelieveable.
    He had severe episodes of delusions,voices or whispers in his sleep and very bad mood swings. "Hearing voices telling me That I should get some sleep Because tomorrow might be good for something" My wife said this song was for our son.No more voices, sleep or tomorrow. Our son took his own life.He died in 2003 when the song was released.No more suffering or grief. When we listen to this song we see his tomorrow.

  12. anonymous
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    Dec 8th 2011 report

    Our son listened to this song many times. My wife and I heard it and she said it was our son. We felt there was something wrong and took him to a doctor. My son was diagnosed with Bipolar (Manic Depressant). Doctor said there are medications for this type of illness. My son read the side effects of the medication.One side effect is if you have thoughts of suicide,stop taking the medication. You tell me which one doesn't. It is like a living hell. Things were not important to my son and he was alone. No one would understand him or even try to. What people said or did would be towards him. He would hear whispers in his sleep and not know why. He knew he wasn't crazy, but mentally ill, trying to deal with it by himself. He tried to commit suicide several times but his friends stopped him. They knew about his illness and admitted him in the hospital. We were there every time and begged him to stay but he said no. We knew what he would do but wouldn't be there to stop him.He committed suicide with a 357 magnum pistol on July 21,2003.His name was Jason (Hebrew: The Healer). Born the 7th of May, weighed 7 pounds,7 ounces and the 7th grandchild. July is the 7th month, 21(3 7s).Our son was gifted. There is know more suffering and grief because we knew he was ill. If you know someone or loveones who have this illness, PLEASE SEEK HELP,NO MATTER WHAT THE COST. A LOVEONE OR SOMEONE WILL DEPEND ON IT. Please, please look up "Bipolor(Manic Depressent) and read as much as you can.WE ARE WELL. Miss You Jason With Love

  13. anonymous
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    Aug 6th 2011 report

    I have bipolar, and really relate to this song. But I dont think the line, "you'll think of me, and how I used to be" refers to the way I was pre-illness, I've always seen it as when I'm recovering from the illness, and my friends and family look at how I was when I was sick, and think of how well I am doing now. My dad told me the other day that he never expected me to be doing as well as I am now, considering the state I was in only 2 years ago :-) this song was always a song of hope for me, and always reminds me how far I've come :-)

  14. anonymous
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    Jun 29th 2011 report

    Its about the lost love which the singer hopes to get back someday and the song expresses how and what he used to be and the painfull condition he is passing through the present which feels like a crazy guy even though not. Happens to all True lovers who have lost their love without any reason.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
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    Mar 6th 2011 report

    I feel very connected to this song. Being bipolar, awake for days, I sometimes lose myself in the walls, ceiling, mirrors, etc. for hours at a time seeing things that aren't there. saying and acting a way that is completely unusual for me. Im not crazy, im jyst a little unwell explains it entirely. Most of the time im fine and people just need to see how I used to be. This song and video describe mania to a t.

  16. anonymous
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    Jan 22nd 2011 report

    To me I think it has to do with depression by not having any friends just by talking to himself feeling lonely. I can relate to this song because i suffer from depression so I know how it feels not to have anyone in your life.

  17. Kimba
    click a star to vote
    Sep 15th 2010 report

    This song reminds me of when i was addicted to amphetamines.
    All night staring at the ceiling, This song also mentions travelling on trains and thinking people are talking to you. I use to travel alot around sydney be train and feelinhg like i was being tstared at and talked about. Good dose of paranoia is not much fun. so glad those days are gone, but still love the song.

  18. bonjovifan1994
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    Jun 18th 2010 report

    A VERY well written song! I've been reading about different interpretations, and if its about a disease or condition or just being lonely, I think its a good song about life and how people always judge certain people, and never get to know them.

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