The aftermath of trauma is complex and different for each individual experiencing it. While music cannot “cure” the pain left in the wake of a traumatic incident, for many individuals, music can be a comfort in recovery. Sometimes, songs can meet us right where we are in our struggle and give us hope for the future.
Our partners at The Mighty, wanted to know what songs gave trauma survivors hope, so they asked their community to share what songs helped them in their recovery. (At the bottom, you can view this playlist on Spotify.)
Here’s what they had to say:
1. “Praying” by Kesha
“’Praying’ by Kesha came from her experience with her producer and the trauma as a result of it. It’s full of empowerment and strength, but also grace, because she hopes he finds peace. I only hope that one day I can wish that upon my abuser, because right now I can’t. The song is a beautiful reminder that someday I will be able to though.” — Laura S.
2. “This Is Me” by “The Greatest Showman” Cast
“’This is Me’ from ‘The Greatest Showman.’ Especially that line, ‘There’s nothing I’m not worthy of.’ Reminds you that you’re worthy of recovery and kindness and love.” — Julia W.
3. “Scars” by Allison Iraheta
“It’s kinda unheard of, but it talks a lot about how a lack of a father figure caused severe physical and emotional trauma to a growing young woman. Sadly all too relatable.” — Katie V.
4. “A Little’s Enough” by Angels and Airwaves
“I really enjoy the type of music that’s used, and I really was able to focus on the main point of the song. ‘I’m sorry I have to say it, you look like you’re sad. Your smile is gone, I noticed it bad. The cure is to let in a little more love. I promise you this, a little’s enough.’ It’s true. For me, as long as my heart was open to receiving love, the more secure and safe I felt. Love heals a multitude of wounds, after all.” — Jenn D.
5. “Dig” by Incubus
“Sometimes we let all the garbage from our past experiences, trauma or anything else we went through built a wall, a bubble, a mask, to hide our true self. And only the right people (ourselves included) can dig in, take off and put away all that crap that is covering us.” — Carolina G.
6. “Thank U” by Alanis Morissette
“My therapist played it for me one day during a session and it just resonated with me for some reason. I was finally starting to come to grips with a lot of the trauma I had faced and was overcoming a lot of my issues… and I realized I needed to forgive myself for what had happened and even thank myself for going through everything I did and surviving and becoming who I was that day. I still often listen to it when I need reminding…” — Alexis R.
7. “Don’t Go” by Bring Me the Horizon
“To me it sounds raw and full of emotion and the lyrics hit real close to home, even though it’s full of metaphors. So I guess that’s why it’s such a good one, you can give your own meaning to it. It’s helped me feel like I’m not alone with whatever I was struggling with at the times I’ve listened to it. And it’s always a very comforting thing to know you’re not alone.” — Armandina L.
8. “Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix
“It was played at my friend’s funeral, but it kind of reminds me of his eclectic tastes of music, which is something positive I always thought of during those dark times.” — Guthrie E.
9. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
“The last line of the song is, ‘If I could start again a million miles away I would keep myself I would find a way.’ Right now I don’t know the person who looks back at me in the mirror. I don’t like her. I want to go back to when I was happy before the choices I’ve made created who I am today. Hind sight is 20/20. I guess now the goal is to get there again without jumping back in time.” — Tracy P.
10. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
“As someone who deals with daily trauma (I have fibromyalgia) my go-to song is ‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten. It helps me because it helps me feel strong even when I’m constantly in pain, constantly fatigued. Living with this disease is hell, but that song makes it a tiny bit easier.” — Caiden B.
11. “Why” by Rascal Flatts
“When I’m suicidal, I can listen to this and it reminds me life is worth the fight.” — Toni R.
12. “Come However You Are” by City Harbor
“It told me to come to God because He wanted me even though I was full of sin. I was on the way to (or from I don’t remember) Taekwondo practice and I was bawling in the back.” — Renee P.
13. “Woman, Amen” by Dierks Bentley
“Not necessarily the words, the music is just so uplifting. I can’t listen to that song and still feel bad.” — Nicole B.
14. “Flames” by David Guetta and Sia
“My most recent go-to song when depression is holding me in bed is ‘Flames’ by Sia. I know it’s David Guetta too, but the words really speak to me.” — Kam S.
15. “Rise” by Katy Perry
“I am a survivor of sexual abuse, and that song inspires me to keep fighting depression and anxiety.” — Dani A.
16. “I Choose” by India Arie
“This song acknowledges my pain and gives me some amount of hope.” — Jennifer G.
17. “Not Ready to Make Nice” by Dixie Chicks
“Taught me I don’t have to forgive someone who did something so horrible to me and how I feel is OK.” — Yael G.
18. “Piece by Piece” by Kelly Clarkson
“Singing that song does so much for me. everything just comes pouring out of me.” — Amanda P.
19. “Cry Pretty” by Carrie Underwood
“This song is so powerful and let’s me know it’s OK to cry.” — Liz T.
20. “Over the Rainbow” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
“It’s just generally calming and brought back calming memories of Hawaii.” — Muriel D.
What song would you add?
This article was originally published by our partners at The Mighty.
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