27 Songs About PTSD

21. Hallelujah (I’m Not Dead) by Citizen Soldier

Song Year: 2021

“Hallelujah (I’m Not Dead)” blends rock music with metal and Christian music. There are several ways to interpret Citizen Soldier’s piece, but PTSD is a popular reading of the lyrics.

The speaker is uncannily familiar with death. But whether they got this way from battling chronic illness, their mental health, or something else isn’t specified. That said, the blend of anxiety, fear, and pain that is physical as well as internalized is one people with prolonged PTSD can sympathize with.

Crucially, the speaker says, they have suffered all of this and are still alive. If you’re listening, so are you. And sometimes that’s more of a triumph than we realize. 

22. Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch

Song Year: 2013

Five Finger Death Punch decided to write “Wrong Side of Heaven” after realizing how many returning veterans faced homelessness.

Their vagrant state was a significant contributing factor behind PTSD, and the song wrestles with both issues delicately.

Don’t be fooled by the bombast of the instrumentation. The sound doesn’t pull its punches, but it handles complicated issues with nuance and emotional depth that will resonate with listeners everywhere.

23. Heavy by Linkin Park

Song Year: 2017

Linkin Park has the distinction of appearing several times on this list of songs about PTSD.

Chester Bennington, who used to sing in the band, developed a reputation as a prominent mental health advocate. The songs he sang reflected the complexities of PTSD and depression in ways that resonated with listeners.

Despite his death, his work continues to do the advocacy work that made him so beloved. It’s also a source of comfort and support to people struggling with their mental health.

24. A Soldier’s Memoir by Joe Bachman

Song Year: 2013

One of the most distinctive features of Joe Bachman’s ballad about PTSD is its twelve-string banjo. It hearkens back to the folk tradition of America when artists championed important causes through music.

Joe Bachman’s cause is veterans with PTSD. The song opens with several veterans introducing themselves and their struggles and becomes more musical as it goes on.

You might expect it to be a jaunty song. Banjo pieces often are. This one is slow, thoughtful, and a heartfelt tribute to anyone who battles PTSD, whether they served in the army or not.

25. Trauma by NF

Song Year: 2019

Rapper NF is no stranger to difficult subject matter. What’s surprising about “Trauma” isn’t that it’s a song about PTSD. It’s that it’s slower and more melodic than many of NF’s most familiar songs.

There’s a tenderness to “Trauma” that makes it incredibly moving. It grapples with themes of loneliness, depression, and isolation. At its heart is a powerful petition for help from a reluctant loved one. It’s a feeling all too familiar to people with PTSD.

26. Mind Playing Tricks on Me by The Geto Boys

Song Year: 1991

Written and released in the early 1990s, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” is one of the older songs about PTSD on this list.

The song debuted on the album We Can’t Be Stopped. It was an optimistic title and listeners were surprised by this anthem for mental health. People hadn’t learned how to cogently discuss issues like PTSD, and that wasn’t the only issue prominently featured in “Mind Playing Tricks On Me.”

This heartfelt examination of the PTSD caused by inter-city living also tackled issues like:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychosis
  • Depression

It’s a devastating song. What makes it so powerful over thirty years later is the sincerity behind the lyrics. These were issues the band knew intimately. By bringing them to the foreground of their music, they allowed people to start discussing them openly.

27. Stress by Organized Konfusion

Song Year: 1994

We end our list of songs about PTSD with one that tackles the topic so comprehensively that it features in the title.

“Stress” has short, repetitive lyrics that beautifully capture the tunnel vision many people with PTSD experience. Its percussive rhythm reinforces the emotional claustrophobia on display.

What’s particularly interesting about “Stress” is that its genesis wasn’t military careers or city life but the pressure of hip-hop performances. That’s not to say it should be taken lightly. It’s one of the most effective portrayals of PTSD especially on young black people that music ever produced.

The song was never widely popular. But it did tremendous work to reshape how people talked about their mental health, and it’s a legacy that’s still felt today.

Popular Songs About PTSD, Final Thoughts

Songs about PTSD aren’t always easy to listen to. Sometimes they are so well done that people find them triggering to listen to.

But they can also be a source of comfort. They remind listeners that they aren’t alone, and their experience, while unique, doesn’t have to be as isolated as it feels.

The other wonderful thing about songs about PTSD is that they help people discuss important issues. Sometimes it can feel daunting to explain your personal manifestations of PTSD symptoms. Music creates a neutral, safe space to have those discussions. It may even offer valuable insights for the people around you.

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