My name is Xanthe Wyse. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type 1) & post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). My presentation of PTSD is mainly avoidance and shutdowns. Including shutting down intense emotions, especially anger as intense emotions are triggering for me.
I am seeing a trauma psychologist finally for PTSD I have had for decades which has gotten worse after more trauma.
I do most of the processing on my own in creative ways. I listen to music that fits what I am processing and I go into a trance-like state and improvise in creative ways. One of my recent creative activities is to write parts of song lyrics on old vinyl records and CDs from the op shop with acrylic paint pens. I listen to the songs at the same time and also have the lyrics in front of me to read on the computer.
I scratch up the records with a knife and paint with the acrylic paint pens and nail polish. PTSD is like a record being scratched up and the needle stuck. Processing helps move to a different part.
My processing all involves movement – all improvised. Gentle rocking if depressed. Full-on dancing if highly energised.
I have a lot of hyperarousal energy in this video, even though I might seem calm outwardly. I noticed when I look back I was jiggling my leg. I do it subconsciously and it helps relieve any anxiety. If I don’t move, I get anxious and also I tend to ‘freeze’ which is my form of PTSD. Movement helps activate me and to allow the processing to take place. Some would see the movements as ‘stimming’. I see it as more improvised expressive movement – just how it comes out.
I am listening to You Oughta Know by Alanis Morisette, which is an angry song. I don’t need to also feel angry to do the processing. I let the song speak for me. Allow the song to express the emotion I am expressing without really feeling the emotions. That’s how I do all my art. It’s a very gentle form of processing the trauma.
Processing rape & sexual abuse traumas. The main traumas behind my PTSD.
I feel intense hyperarousal at first but not the emotions usually. Yet it has been hugely therapeutic for me. In most cases, I do not speak. Here, writing some of the lyrics is speaking. Expressing. Having a voice. Do I speak eloquently?