PTSD is one of the most difficult mental health challenges a person can experience. And as someone who battled it 11 months after a sexual trauma, I know how big of a role music played in helping me through the difficult time. I want to warn you that some of these songs may trigger you (some triggered me too). You don’t have to listen to any of these songs if you don’t want to. I tried adding a few positive songs to help you heal as well and I’ll make a note on those songs about PTSD if you’d rather focus on a more positive playlist.
PTSD songs can help you feel like you’re not the only person struggling. Some of these lyrics may pin point the exact emotions you’re feeling. Some of the music might describe the emotions you’re feeling. Here are 15 songs about PTSD that’ll help you overcome it.
15 Relatable Songs About PTSD That’ll Help You Overcome It
#1. Safe and Sound – Taylor Swift
This song came out the year I was raped and even though it was from the Hunger Games soundtrack it haunted me as I listened to it on my way to my “safe place.” I played this song on repeat a lot. The lyrics “you and I will be safe and sound” accurately describe what you want to feel when you’re struggling with PTSD: a sense of safety. I found the lyrics “when all your shadows almost killed your light, I remember you said don’t leave me here alone” accurately described the fear of living alone while struggling with PTSD. The music for this song is haunting so trigger warning if you don’t really like dark music. This song isn’t a typical Taylor Swift song. But if you’re currently suffering from PTSD for the first time, you might find this song about PTSD accurately taps into what emotions you’re feeling.
#2. Runaway – Kanye West
This album was a gift my rapist gave to me before the assault. This song basically sounds like a song about an abusive relationship from the perspective of the attacker. It’s still hard to listen to, sometimes I can’t even listen to it in its entirety. The lyrics “I-I-I-I did it, all right, all right, I admit it. Now pick your best move you could leave or live with it” are particularly triggering for rape victims. And even though it’s hard to listen to, I found I was able to gain closure and let go. The traumatizer will never apologize to you even if they say they will. This PTSD song is the next best thing for getting an apology and closure about a trauma so you can heal and move on.
#3. Discombobulate – Hans Zimmer
This song has no lyrics but the music accurately depicts what PTSD feels like. The song is particularly triggering. It’s intense, creepy, and dark. If you’re constantly waking up from nightmares you probably don’t want to listen to this song about PTSD. I don’t know why but I always picture creepy clowns when I hear this. This is a good song to listen to when you’ve already battled PTSD and you’re a bit stable and you want to trigger yourself to gain strength in yourself.
#4. Survivor – Destiny’s Child
This PTSD song is ideal for people looking to gain confidence in their decision to leave an abusive relationship. It’s basically the ultimate power song for victims to recognize that they’re strong and they made the right decision. The lyrics “Thought I would self-destruct, but I’m still here” are really powerful lyrics for people battling suicidal thoughts as they struggle with PTSD. This is a positive song with minimal triggers you can add to a positive playlist to help you heal with your PTSD. Ultimately, the message focuses on the fact that you’re not a victim, you’re a survivor and that message can help you gain more strength in yourself.
#5. You Gotta Be -Des’ree
Another positive song about PTSD is You Gotta Be. The lyrics “you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger, you gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together” might be the hardest thing to do as you battle your demons, but the lyrics act as a positive mantra that you can repeat to yourself as you heal. This might be a good PTSD song to listen to as you approach the end of the PTSD challenges. Maybe you’re having fewer nightmares or you find you’re leaving your house again. This can be a powerful mantra song to listen to.
#6. Jesus Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood
Some people experience PTSD after traumatic car accidents. This song can help you recover from your trauma by putting your faith in a religious figure instead. While not everyone believes in the same faith, you can interpret the lyrics as putting your faith in the universe, your own spirtual leaders, or just letting life run its course. The lyrics “I’m letting go, so give me one more chance” can be powerful for people who are ready to let go of their trauma and go back to facing their fears and living the life they want to so that they can be saved from “the road I’m on.”
#7. Zombie – The Cranberries
A song about PTSD for people in the military is the song Zombie by the Cranberries. It can be triggering as it talks about war. The lyrics “in your head, they are fighting, with their tanks, and their bombs, and their bombs, and their guns, in your head, in your head, they are crying.” Fighting in a war and killing civilians can be particularly difficult with images running through your head. The lyrics may play while you experience flashbacks. If you’re struggling with flashbacks, this song may make you feel worse. But it may also feel relatable. If you listen to this song, try to listen to it with a therapist in the room or with a friend as it can be difficult to listen to alone.
#8. A Little Bit Stronger – Sara Evans
A PTSD song about recovery is this Sara Evans song. The lyrics “But I brushed my teeth anyway, Got dressed through the mess and put a smile on my face I got a little bit stronger” are perfect for celebrating the little wins as you recover from PTSD. Even a little bit of self care can help you recover from PTSD. Getting a little bit stronger is all you have to do. Always aim to do one tiny thing that makes you a little bit better each day. You’ll still have challenges to face tomorrow but those baby steps make a world of difference when overcoming PTSD.
#9. Not Ready to Make Nice – Dixie Chicks
This song about PTSD is unlike any other ptsd song on this list. It’s the ultimate song for people experiencing anger as they battle PTSD. The song’s lyrics “I’m not ready to make nice, I’m not ready to back down, I’m still mad as hell and I don’t have time to go round and round and round” are ideal for people who been in abusive relationships. Maybe this is the song you listen to before going to trial against an ex or an attacker. It encourages forgiveness but shows that you don’t have to back down just because you’ve forgiven someone.
#10. Brave – Sara Bareilles
After a rape, doctors and social workers often tell you horror stories so you don’t report the crime to police. I wished this song was out after my trauma. The song is about being brave enough to tell your story. This is a perfect song for people struggling with PTSD who act brave by seeking professional help. Or a victim of a trauma who decides to press charges against their attacker and speak up about the issue. The lyrics “Sometimes a shadow wins but I wonder what would happen if you say what you wanna say and let the words fall out honestly I wanna see you be brave.” Sara Bareilles almost acts like your friend in the song encouraging you to be brave and stand up for yourself. So if you feel like no one is on your side and you’re scared of being brave, this song about PTSD can help encourage you to finally speak up.
#11. Praying – Kesha
This song about trauma is Kesha’s song about rape after she experienced it herself. This song is about the aftermath of a rape when a person has begun to heal. The lyrics “No more monsters, I can breathe again” are especially relatable to those who’ve suffered trauma. Another set of powerful lyrics are “you brought the flames and you put me through hell, I had to learn how to fight for myself” are quite telling. An attacker doesn’t realize the damage they do with their behavior. PTSD really does feel like hell. And to overcome it, you need to learn how to fight. And to stand up against someone who did that kind of damage, you need to master standing up for yourself.
#12. Whataya Want From Me – P!nk
This song about PTSD has versions by both Adam Lambert and P!nk. You can hear Adam Lambert’s version as well if you like. The lyrics are probably some of the most relatable lyrics on this list. “Just don’t give up, I’m working it out, please don’t give in, I won’t let you down, It messed me up, Need a second to breathe, just keep coming around, whataya want from me?” This basically sums up the main conversation a person with PTSD has with those close to them. When battling PTSD you’re literally struggling to keep yourself around you just need time to ‘breathe’ and heal. This is a song about begging for patience from those you love. The Pink version changes the lyrics to ‘he messed me up’ which changes the lyrics to make it more about an abusive relationship.
#13. Keep Breathing – Ingrid Michaelson
Keep Breathing is a great example of a PTSD song for a war veteran. The lyrics “people are dying, I close my blinds” talks about how difficult it is to watch people die but you’re forced to pretend like it doesn’t affect you. The most powerful part of the song though is when the lyrics “All we can do is keep breathing” is repeated in the song. Even I’ve cried to this song while going through especially difficult PTSD moments. It’s a great song that reminds you that all you can do is stay alive and focus on the little things like breathing as you go through the “storm.”
14. Silence – Marshello feat. Khalid
Silence is a powerful PTSD song for those who’ve suffered in an abusive relationship. The lyrics “I found peace in your violence, can’t tell me there’s no point in trying, I’m at one and I’ve been quiet for too long” are especially powerful. It’s also a positive message that you may one day find peace after being in an abusive relationship. And when that day comes you’ll finally be strong enough to speak up instead of being quiet. This song is very relatable to people who tried to be loving but always felt like a “burden.”
15. Til It Happens To You – Lady Gaga
This PTSD song is about being a rape survivor. The lyrics are about how people always tell you you’ll be fine but in the moment you’re struggling. But the challenge is that the people telling you to be strong have never been through what you’ve been through. Lady Gaga shares powerful lyrics, “’Til you’re standing in my shoes, I don’t wanna hear nothing from you, from you, from you, ’cause you don’t know.”
Songs about PTSD can help alleviate some of the frustrations we experience during the aftermath of a trauma. These relatable songs can help remind you that you aren’t alone in your struggles. If some songs prove to be too difficult to listen to, feel free to follow along to one of our guided meditations to help lower your stress levels. You might also want to seek professional help if your PTSD symptoms prove too much to bear. May you find peace from your trauma soon.