How I use music & creativity to process trauma without re-traumatising myself. Painting, art, PTSD.



My name is Xanthe Wyse & I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type 1) & post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) & social anxiety disorder.

I am on meds to reduce the severity of bipolar disorder and I am finally seeing a trauma psychologist. I have been processing trauma mostly in creative ways for over 3 years now. Along the way, I have been expressing myself creatively, transforming the trauma into something different. Mostly in paintings as this is my preferred medium, but I have also uploaded videos of some of my other creative expression, even in mania episodes. The key is listening to music that is linked to what I am trying to express. The music speaks for me when I could not speak.

I have uploaded 8 videos showing the painting of Ballerina. I don’t show painting in total of all my paintings but I wanted to show most of one to show you some tips and techniques & how I improvise. Another key for me is to improvise – to make it up as I go along and not try to copy a photo exactly.

If I don’t know what I want to paint, I go full abstract and the music helps stop me from overthinking. It is not necessary for me to feel the emotions. I feel instead an intensity and sometimes euphoria when I express trauma in metaphor. Links of what I am painting in metaphor flash into my mind but only so briefly that I am not re-traumatised. This is how trauma processing happens for me.

If I am very triggered by a song, I may change the music until I am ready to process that song again. All the songs are linked to my story. I tend to choose them if they are an ‘earworm’ (song stuck in my head).

Source: Youtube