27 Songs About PTSD

1.1 Would’ve Could’ve, Should’ve by Taylor Swift

Song Year: 2022

This is yet another song by Taylor Swift that grapples with PTSD. But “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” uses poetic imagery to tackle its theme.

The lyrics explore how many people with PTSD find themselves in loops imagining how, had they changed one little detail, they could have escaped the cause of their trauma.

Swift also sings about being plagued by ghosts and how dangerous her memories are.

All these sensations resonate with anyone who has PTSD, though they may not discuss their problems lyrically.

12. Recovery by James Arthur

Song Year: 2013

James’ Arthur’s song “Recovery” doesn’t specifically target PTSD. But the metaphors he uses when discussing his ongoing issues are broadly applicable to PTSD.

He also does excellent work highlighting the overlooked subject of men’s mental health in a way people with PTSD find accessible.

The other thing “Recovery” does well is remind people to hold onto the things they love. Whether you battle addiction, depression, PTSD, or a dizzying combination of all three, Arthur believes those things you love can help get you through your darkest hours. 

13. Not Ready To Make Nice by The Dixie Chicks

Song Year: 2006

Conversely, The Dixie Chicks’ song “Not Ready to Make Nice” is textually a song about PTSD.

It stands out from other songs on the subject because it recognizes how angry and reactionary PTSD can make people. More than that, they say those feelings are allowed.

PTSD is difficult enough without people pressuring you to forgive anyone sooner than you’re ready to. You may never be ready. And the Dixie Chicks believe that’s fine.

14. Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson

Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson

Song Year: 2007

“Keep Breathing” is another song about PTSD with a military theme. But that hasn’t stopped other people from finding it compelling.

It powerfully reminds listeners that when the world feels overwhelming all you can do is keep breathing. Don’t worry about anything else. Focus on deep breaths that keep you tethered.

15. Brave by Sarah Bareilles

Song Year: 2013

“Brave” frequently gets billed as a song about self-acceptance and that makes sense since it began life as a song in support of LGBTQIA+ people everywhere.

But it evolved beyond that. Many people with PTSD also view it as a song they can relate to. Partly, that’s because there’s a strong correlation between trauma, PTSD, and the emotional upheaval of coming out, even today.

But it’s also because the turbulent picture painted by the lyrics feels familiar to people with PTSD.

16. Silence by Marshmello

Song Year: 2007

“Silence” is primarily about childhood trauma but it’s also a song about PTSD. Not just because one can lead to the other, but because both are significant issues people don’t talk about.

Our failure to discuss these things makes people already feel isolated and vulnerable even more so. Marshmello’s song breaks down those barriers and helps facilitate necessary discussions about mental health.

17. Unwell by Matchbox Twenty

Song Year: 2003

The alternative rock band Matchbox Twenty also wrote a memorable song about PTSD.

“Unwell” tackles subjects like isolation and depression. It also explores the struggle faced by many to persuade their relatives they aren’t mad or sectionable so much as unwell. The problem is exacerbated for the speaker by how little we talked about mental health back when Matchbox Twenty released the song.

Luckily, that’s one thing that has changed since 2003.

18. Because of You by Kelly Clarkson

Song Year: 2004

Clarkson didn’t write “Because of You” to be a song about PTSD. Instead, it began as an outlet for her to explore her childhood feelings about her parents’ divorce.

The result was a mellow and thoughtful song about change, upheaval, and emotional conflict. Consequently, many people with PTSD find it relatable. And the even tempo and melodic harmony line make it extremely easy listening, perfect for recovering after a difficult flashback experience.

19. Better Place by Rachel Platten

Song Year: 2016

“Better Place” is one of the most upbeat and optimistic songs on this list of songs about PTSD.

In contrast to compositions like “Unwell,” its message is hopeful. Instead of focusing on the challenges of PTSD, it reminds listeners that whatever they have endured, they are loved.

It also emphasizes the way people transform our lives. Loved and being loved to make the world a demonstrably better, safer place. In turn, that makes PTSD feel easier to survive. 

20. Whataya Want From Me by Pink

Song Year: 2009

Several artists have recorded versions of this song about PTSD. But one of the best-known is by the artist Pink.

It’s a song that begs the people around you to show patience and compassion. It also explores the often contradictory feelings that plague people with PTSD.

Notably, Pink tweaks the lyrics to make it explicitly about male-perpetrated violence. But That’s not a factor in Lambert’s original composition.

The lyrics as written convey the confusion of being pulled in several different emotional directions simultaneously. There’s no explicit abuse suggestion, only the speaker’s demons.

Both versions of the song are memorable, compelling, and relatable to people with PTSD.

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