My name is Xanthe Wyse. I have been sharing some of my journey of how I gently process trauma, grief and stuck emotions. I use music, movement and creative expression. My trauma psychologist agrees that I have done most of the processing on my own. Along the way, created art that people find interesting.
I have the shutdown presentation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar 1 disorder. I cannot usually access intense emotions as they are too triggering for me. Even in full mania, I have a huge hyperarousal energy but very rarely can feel intense emotions like anger.
Music with movement helps me to access the emotions and let them flow. I don’t even need to feel the emotions. I may feel euphoric. I may cry. But the crying is a release soothed by rocking or some other rhythmical movement. Yet the music eases the pain more than morphine. I listen to the very triggering songs only a few times and then change to another song I find inspiring.
I chose 3 songs that had different reactions.
Right Now (van Halen) – I felt euphoric as I imagined playing piano (my first love). I haven’t been able to play piano for 5 years so pretending to play has been a first step.
Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers) – this is one of the songs that has make me cry every time I hear it, but it is a healing release. For me, it’s an expression of the love I have for missing my son. Even though it’s probably intended as a romantic song, songs can have multiple meanings.
Stronger (Britney Spears) – this is one of my uplifting songs.
Nearly all my process art has been painted to music that expresses what I want to say. My art all has a lot of movement in it. Typically because I have been rocking or dancing while painting. In addition, I go into a calming trance while painting. I also improvise my paintings and paint the feelings and moods of the songs.
Listening to and singing along to and improvising movement and writing lyrics out of songs and painting to music has been my main form of therapy for PTSD and also helped me manage the bipolar disorder.
If I go into a lot of hyperarousal (triggered PTSD) or bipolar elevated moods (hypomania or mania) there will typically be a mood and emotional ‘crash’. Music helps me get through this. Along the way, making some art. Creative expression gives me purpose.
The next step will be for me to play piano again (playing piano became a trauma trigger along with my former name).