Last night, during a typical 2am, anxiety-overload, my-mind-won’t-turn-off bit, I started thinking about how far I have come since I started sharing my personal story about living with PTSD on social media.
I started thinking about my first blog post and how I vomited twice when I clicked “Publish” after I wrote my post that told the details of my illness. Then I started thinking about all I have accomplished in the last year, and of course, I started becoming giddy over how popular my post on The Mighty had become (“To the Cashier Who Realized I Was Having a Panic Attack”), which by the way, has gotten a second wind when To Write Love on Her Arms shared the article today on their page/twitter! (Thanks guys!)
So, as I’m lied there in bed, listening to Zack and Miesha snore away, and Arty purring next to my head, I realized it was finally 3am and I needed to get up for work in a few hours.
Great, another day of exhaustion and picky customers.
So, using my ol’ faithful playlist on my iPhone dubbed “My Lullaby List,” I was struck with a thought.
Music has played a large part in my healing process over these last five year.
How many times would I blare heavy punk, alternate music to scream out the rage building up in my chest? Or would turn on sappy songs and just bawl into my pillow while my cat looked at me with horrified eyes.
Music has been a great healer for me! Because sometimes, when words fail, music is all that makes sense. Those few short verses or bridges, summarizing my pain or relief when I didn’t have the words to describe my own pain.
Those songs that resonated so deep with me, they helped me express what I couldn’t say.
So, as my writer brain ran on overdrive, and 4am drew closer, I complied a playlist on my phone of all the songs that have helped me deal with the emotions I have suffered through during my battle with my PTSD.
As a result, I have decided to share some of the most important songs (out of the 164 on my playlist) that have helped me battle my inner demons during my worst moments, have helped me during my most depressing moments, or have helped communicated to my loved ones and friends when I wasn’t brave enough to talk about how I was really feeling.
While there is a lot of sad songs, angry songs, punk songs, and hurtful songs on this list, I also share a few songs that depict the brighter side of my PTSD and songs that really help me see through the fog of my illness.
So, I present to you, “Amanda’s PTSD Playlist.”
Forewarning: There will be a lot of Linkin Park songs on this list! Just saying’!
(Side Note: Musical interpretation may vary. Artists’ intents might not match how I perceived the lyrics to be.)
Amanda’s PTSD Playlist
Lullaby – Nickelback
Now, hold on! Before you all groan, “Dear god! She started off this playlist with a Nickelback song? Really, Amanda? Nickelback?!”
While everyone hates on Nickelback, this song is my number one for my playlist. Why? Because when I was first diagnosed, a month before my 20th birthday, the first person I told was my Mom. I told her I had PTSD and that I didn’t want to live anymore. Even though she will never admit it, I knew my confession broke her heart…But fast-forward a few weeks later, when I was really struggling with my new pills and suicidal thoughts were plaguing my mind, my Mom found this song.
“Listen to the lyrics, Mandie, and know that I love you. I’ll always love you.”
My Mom has been my saving grace through a lot of my torment, and when the dark days become unbearable, she reminds me to listen to this song, reminding me to hold on, just a little while long.
So this one’s for you Mommy. Thank you, forever. ❤
“And you can’t tell, I’m scared as hell
‘Cause I can’t get you on the telephone.
So just close your eyes.
Well honey, here comes a lullaby
Your very own lullaby.”
This Song Saved My Life – Simple Plan
(I’m sensing a Canadian Band theme…)
Back in April when I went into a bad depressive episode and I again contemplated suicide, Zack, my very own knight in shining armour, had to put up one hell of a battle to bring be back from the brink. I didn’t think I was going to make it, and I thought I was going to destroy our relationship in the process. No matter how many times I tell him “Thank You,” it will never be enough. He literally helped save my life. And this song is my dedication to him. ❤
“I wanna start letting you know this
Because of you my life has a purpose.
You helped me be who I am today,
I see myself in every word you say
Sometimes it feels like nobody gets me.
Trapped in a world where everyone hates me.
There’s so much that I’m going through.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”
Because of You – Kelly Clarkson
Not many songs have come close to actually being similar to describing my situation with my father, but Kelly Clarkson’s own anguish with her own father comes pretty close. This song has witnessed a lot of my tears over the years.
“Because of you, I try my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you, I don’t know how to let anyone else in
Because of you, I’m ashamed of my life because it’s empty
Because of you, I am afraid.”
Till It Happens to You – Lady Gaga
Praise Lady Gaga, who also recently opened up about her own experiences with PTSD!
This. Song. Is. EVERYTHING!
“‘Till your world burns and crashes
‘Till you’re at the end, the end of your rope
‘Till you’re standing in my shoes, I don’t wanna hear nothing from you
From you, from you, ’cause you don’t know.”
Paradise – Coldplay
This song is always a pick-me-up for when I’m feeling really down. And inspires hope for a better day.
“In the night, the stormy night
She’ll close her eyes
In the night, the stormy night
Away she’d fly.”
The Messenger – Linkin Park
The first LP song on the list. Another hopeful song that helps when I’m stuck in the dark place. The soothing, acoustics also helps relax my mind and my heart.
“When life leaves us blind, love keeps us kind.”
Heaven (Little by Little) – Theory of a Deadman
“The fact that you keep trying
Is what sets you apart.
Help me find the reason
And I’ll help you find the way
To get rid of all your pain
Little by little, day by day.”
Be As You Are – Mike Posner
“There are moments when you fall to the ground,
But you are stronger than you feel you are now.
You don’t always have to speak so loud, no
Just be as you are.”
Believe – Mumford and Sons
“So open up my eyes
Tell me I’m alive
This is never gonna go our way
If I’m gonna have to guess what’s on your mind.
‘Cause I don’t even know if I believe.”
Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father) – Lindsey Lohan
“And I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.
A family in crisis that only grows older.”
Pieces – Rob Thomas
This song makes me cry even just thinking about it, but I absolutely love it. ❤
“Didn’t I tell you you were gonna break down
Didn’t I warn you, didn’t I warn you
Better take it easy, try to find a way out
Better start believing in yourself.”
Lost in the Echo – Linkin Park
Mike Shinoda’s hard raps, Chester Bennington’s remorseful screams. This song lets out a lot of pent up anger and frustration my PTSD causes.
“Then sorrow, then sickness
Then the shock when you flip it on me
So hollow, so vicious
So afraid I couldn’t let myself see.”
Sam Hall – The Fables
Newfoundland tribute! (And the lead singer use to help babysit me! 😉 )
“Oh me name it is Sam Hall and I hate ye’s one and all
You’re a bunch of muggers all, damn your eyes, damn your eyes
You’re a bunch of muggers all, damn your eyes.”
Nothing to Lose – Billy Talent
“But the days don’t seem to change
There’s nothing to lose
My notebook will explain
There’s nothing to gain
And I can’t fight the pain.”
Innocent – Our Lady Peace
A universal song that almost everyone can belt out the lyrics to! A sad but hopeful message!
“I remember feeling low
I remember losing hope
I remember all the feelings
And the day they stopped.”
Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of) – Backstreet Boys
BSB will always be my favourite. 90’s kid for life! I’m glad they made a comeback and this heartfelt song filled with courage and hope has really gotten me through some tough days and has helped encourage me to keep sharing my story, no matter how hard it is.
“Gloves are off, ready to fight
Like a lion I will survive.
Will I? Will I?
You gotta stand for something
Even if you stand alone, don’t be afraid
It’s gonna be alright.”
Never Too Late – Three Days Grace
Adam Goutier has had his own battles with drug addiction and depression and Three Days Grace’s album “One X” has many painful songs that reflect those struggles. Angry and edgy, this song resonated the most with me.
“Even if I say
It’ll be alright
Still I hear you say
You want to end your life
Now and again we try
To just stay alive
Maybe we’ll turn it all around
‘Cause it’s not too late
It’s never too late.”
Oh Mother – Christina Aguilera
No explanation needed. All I have to say is: “Thank you, Mom.” ❤
“All of your life you have spent
Burying hurt and regret
But, mama, he’ll never touch us again
For every time he tried to break you down
Just remember who’s still around
It’s over, and we’re stronger
And we’ll never have to go back again.”
Piece by Piece – Kelly Clarkson
While I love the pop version more, let’s all be honest. The Idol version made EVERYONE burst into tears, watching Kelly sing (and cry) as she lamented about the hurt her father caused her. If this song doesn’t give you goosebumps, then you’re not listening closely enough.
Off the ground, where you abandoned things and
Piece by piece, he filled the holes that you burned in me
At six years old and you know
He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
‘Cause he loves me
Piece by piece, he restored my faith
That a man can be kind and a father could, stay.”
Father & Son – Cat Stevens
One of my favourite songs of all time. And my favourite memory as a camp counsellor. This song is nothing but love.
“All the times that I cried
Keeping all the things I knew inside
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it
If they were right, I’d agree
But it’s them they know not me
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go.”
Heaven Knows – Five for Fighting
I recently discovered this song and I’ve been listening to it on repeat for weeks now. Take time to listen to it. You can’t go wrong with Five for Fighting.
“Smile darling don’t be sad
Stars are going to shine tonight.”
You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up) – Josh Groban
The Light – Distrubed
I love screamy-punk music. And I love Disturbed. And this song!
“When you think all is forsaken
Listen to me now (All is not forsaken)
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness can show you the light.”
Thank You, Mom – Good Charlotte
Another tribute to my Mom, for being the strongest fighter I know. And for helping saving my sister and me! ❤
“You were my mom, you were my dad
The only thing I ever had was you, it’s true
And even when the times got hard you were there
To let us know that we’d get through.”❤
Better Than I Know Myself – Adam Lambert
“I get kind of dark
Let it go to far
I can be obnoxious at times
But try and see my heart.”
S.O.S (Anything But Love) – Apocalyptica ft. Cristina Scabbia
Lots of screaming. Lots of anger. This is what it was like when I was in “survival mode” when I was being abused.
“So go on and fight me
Go on and scare me to death
Tell me I asked for it
Tell me I’ll never forget
You could give me anything but love
Anything but love.”
She Talks to Angels – Black Crows
“Yeah, she gives me a smile when the pain comes.
The pain gonna make everything alright.”
Trouble is a Friend – Lenka
I really liked this song in the sense that I related my PTSD to “Trouble.” It seemed really fitting.
“He’s there in the dark,
He’s there in my heart,
He waits in the winds,
He’s gotta play a part.
Trouble is a friend
Yeah, trouble is a friend of mine.”
Figure.09 – Linkin Park
I know, I know! There is a lot of Linkin Park! But it can’t be helped! LP channels a lot of intense anger into this song and I relate to it because it’s exactly how I feel when I’m triggered or I’m frustrated when my PTSD flashbacks win another battle.
“Hearing your name the memories come back again
I remember when it started happening
I see you n’ every thought I had and then
The thoughts slowly found words attached to them
And I knew as they escaped away
I was committing myself to ’em n’ everyday
I regret saying those things ’cause now I see that I
Took what I hated and made it a part of me.”
Lost in You – Throwing Gravity
“You’re just a victim of the war in my head
And I’m not letting go of the words that we said
You’re holding on, I’m holding out. It’s not the end.”
Anxiety – Black Eyed Peas
The sane and the insane rivalry
Paranoia’s brought me to my knees
Lord please, please, please
Take away my anxiety.”
History Maker – Dean Fujioka
Ok, this one is a little bit embarrassing. From my recent anime binge, I came across Yuri! On Ice and I fell crazy in love with the show…Anyway, the point is the main character struggles with his own self-doubts and the theme to the series is hopeful and uplifting. Despite the struggles, things do get better!
“Can you hear my heartbeat?
Tired of feeling never enough
I close my eyes and tell myself that my dreams will come true
There’ll be no more darkness
When you believe in yourself.
You are unstoppable.”
Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (ft. Mary Lambert)
This song has a lot of meaning to me this year. Late last year, I very quietly came out as bisexual, to which a lot people either ignored, made comments, or pretend they didn’t hear me. It’s not fine, but the situation is what it is. This song has helped me come to turns with my recent sexuality but has also helped me when I feel like my pain and hurt from my PTSD is diminished or criticized by those who don’t understand it.
I am a bisexual living with PTSD. There, I said it.
“And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to.”
Brave – Josh Groban
“When you stand up and hold out your hand
In the face of what I don’t understand
My reason to be brave.”
Two Beds and a Coffee Machine – Savage Garden
To the dear, old friend from high school who use to sing this to me when I was struggling through the mayhem of my parents’ nasty divorce and my father’s abuse. Thank you. ❤
“Wonder how they’ll ever make it
Through this living nightmare
But the mind is an amazing thing
Full of candy dreams and new toys
And another cheap hotel
Two beds and a coffee machine.”
Save You – Simple Plan
This song is a bit of a double whammy. My Mom was diagnosed with cancer the same time I was diagnosed with PTSD. Therefore, this song has a double meaning for me; it’s me fighting for my mom while she’s battling cancer; it’s my mom telling me she’s fighting for me too.
“If you fall, stumble down, I’ll pick you up off the ground
If you lose faith in you, I’ll give you strength to pull through
Tell me you won’t give up,
‘Cause I’ll be waiting if you fall
You know I’ll be there for you.”
Easier to Run – Linkin Park
“Sometimes I remember
The darkness of my past
Bringing back these memories
I wish I didn’t have
Sometimes I think of letting go
And never looking back
And never moving forward so
There’d never be a past.”
This is Gospel – Panic! At the Disco (Piano Cover)
I’m a huge P!ATD fan. Always have and always will be. I have blared “This is Gospel” so many times, Zack now rolls his eyes when he hears it. This is why I settled for the piano cover for my post. (Sorry Zack, but you’ll have to listen to it one more time!)
“If you love me let me go
‘Cause these words are knives that often leave scars
The fear of falling apart
And truth be told, I never was yours
The fear, the fear of falling apart.”
Fix You – Coldplay
GET YOUR BOX OF TISSUES READY! The song that makes EVERYBODY cry! Of course it was on my list!
“Tears come streaming down your face
I promise you I will learn from all my mistakes
Tears come streaming down your face
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.”
Numb – Linkin Park
A LP classic that I have been blaring in my headphones since I was in middle school. This song has gotten me through many battles during the last decade! It’s my top pick!
“I’m tired of being what you want me to be
Feeling so faithless, lost under the surface
I don’t know what you’re expecting of me
Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes.”
Patience – Take That
I love this song so much, it was even used as an ode in a blog post! Press play + repeat.
“I’ll try to be strong, believe me.
I’m trying to move on.
It’s complicated but understand me
My heart is numb, has no feeling
So while I’m still healing
And have little patience.”
All You Wanted – Michelle Branch
“I’m sinking slowly
So hurry hold me
Your hand is all I have to keep me hanging on.”
Leave Out All the Rest – Linkin Park
Last one! I promise!
“Forgetting all the hurt inside you’ve learned to hide so well
Pretending someone else can come and save me from myself
I can’t be who you are.”
Life Support – RENT (The Movie)
“Because reason says I should have died three years ago.”
Revolution – The Beatles
“Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright?”
Look After You – The Fray
“If I don’t say this now, I will surely break
As I’m leaving the one I want to take
Forgive the urgency, but hurry up and wait
My heart has started to separate.”
And of course… How to Save a Life – The Fray
(The Grey’s Anatomy cover is also A-MAZING!)
“Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you’ve told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
And I pray to God he hears you.”
Today Has Been OK – Sleeping at Last
“This life has been insane but
Today has been ok.”
These Broken Hands of Mine – Joe Brooks
“Take a breath
I close my eyes
I am lost, but try to find
What it is in this life
That gives me strength enough to fight
For something more.”
Just Feel Better – Carlos Santana ft. Steven Tyler
Steven Tyler’s raspy voice. *Sigh*
“You’re the only one who knows me
And who doesn’t ignore
That my soul is weeping.”
4am – Our Lady Peace
To this day, there are days I can’t listen to this song, but it’s on the list.
We hardly talked
I never thought I would forget this hate
Then a phone call made me realize
I’ve loved you all along.”
I Don’t Care – Apocalyptica ft. Adam Gontier
During the early years of my PTSD, I carried around a lot of hate and anger with me. This song really helped me get that swell of anger off my chest. Blare my headphones and scream at the top of my lungs.
“If you were dead or still alive
I don’t care, I don’t care
Just go and leave this all behind
Cause I swear (I swear) I don’t care.”
Hurt – Johnny Cash (Cover)
“I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real.”
Demons – Imagine Dragons
“When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide.”
Adam’s Song – Blink-182
“Please tell mom this is not her fault.”
And some final songs that always bring me hope and make me feel unstoppable!
Carry On – FUN
“Cause we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
So we’ll come, we will find our way home
If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground and
Rise – Katy Perry
“I won’t just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can’t write my story
I’m beyond the archetype
I won’t just conform
No matter how you shake my core
‘Cause my roots, they run deep, oh.”
F***in’ Perfect – Pink
“You’re so mean when you talk about yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head make them like you instead
So complicated, look happy, you’ll make it.”
‘Cause your fucking perfect to me!”<3
And as always,
Fight the good fight.
3 thoughts on “When Words Fail, Music Speaks”
Mandie another awesome read!! Lullaby is on my favs list not just because I like but it reminds me of you. When I don’t hear from you for a few days & wondering if your stuggling (or just very busy) I’m hoping that you remember I’m only a phone call or text away! Love you always, Mom xo 💜
You are a beautiful young woman with so much strength it amazes me. Be proud of yourself and keep fighting. It’s a great play list and a great read as are all your posts.