My name is Xanthe Wyse, a name I chose for myself and was the start of me having a voice. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Nearly all of my trauma processing has involved listening to songs that are linked in some way with their lyrics, mood etc. I listen to a song on repeat while processing then turn it off or change songs when done.
Most of the time I don’t sing along or speak out the lyrics, but sometimes I do, even if I change the lyrics, don’t sing in tune etc. Usually I just listen, go into a trance-like state (which is both relaxed yet energised) and paint intuitively without regard to it looking ‘perfect’.
I may not have shown my emotional reaction outwardly so that others can see but the lyrics I was emotionally moved by when I sang along to Fame included:
“remember my name”
“set it free”
“don’t you know who I am?”
“learn how to fly”
“I’ll be tough”
I jotted these lyrics down in my journal, as I will forget again.
Most of my trauma processing really is this gentle. Some is more intense, sometimes I have a cry (which feels like a release). Then when done, I have silence or change the music. Being in control of the music is very powerful. How much I want to process at any one time. Music reaches the deep emotions that talking can’t.
I am hoping to sell paintings at the exhibition and put the money towards an electric piano. Reclaim my first love that was stolen from me when someone I used to love raged at me in the room where my last piano was and I dissociated fully preparing for death. I haven’t been able to play since as along with my former name, playing piano became a trigger.
Music doesn’t always have to have lyrics. It still communicates mood with style, tempo etc. Words are too clunky to try explain or communicate complex emotions and experiences. With expressive visual arts, I don’t need to try find the words. It doesn’t matter if my cognition is shutdown. I am not trying to make something ‘perfect’. It is more therapeutic for me if it’s not perfect. Improvised creative expression is healing for me. ‘Mistakes’ and all. Because really, there are no mistakes.