Chapter 3 Playlist: A Matter of Avoidance But Approach Still Matters

We are trying to make the point that PTSD is a disorder of being stuck in an imbalance between energy devoted to avoiding the unpleasantry of life after trauma, and energy devoted to approaching valued and meaningful life activity. Excessive reliance on avoiding or escaping pain and hurt usually results in more unpleasantry (after only brief periods of escape from the negative). Appreciating the shortsightedness of this negative approach to life is a crucial step in recovery from trauma-interrupted life. These songs and films may help you think about and feel this imbalance in a more vivid way.

1. “Everyday Now,” Chuck Pyle

When people delay the hard work in a relationship, not much good happens.

2. “Late for the Sky,” Jackson Browne

Realizing one’s old ways are not working anymore is profoundly sad, if you allow yourself to truly face it. From that place, there is nowhere else to go…but up.

3. “Heaven Is So High and I’m So Far Down,” Pat Wictor

An ex-seventh-grade teacher from New York City writes about how far away a better life can feel. Great slide guitar work included.

4. “Mercy Now,” Mary Gauthier

Maybe mercy can be manufactured, using the right procedures. Go on, get unstuck, and get some.

5. “Victims of Life,” The Avett Brothers

It is vital to recognize that what one is doing could be making one’s life worse. Then, life can become dedicating efforts to changing one’s approach to it.

6. “No Hard Feelings,” The Avett Brothers 

Inner peace is possible to achieve.

7. “Break in the Cup,” David Wilcox

It is not possible to “fix” another person. Each has to take control of their own recovery.

8. Reign Over Me (2007)(Movie)

This movie is about a man traumatized by his family’s death on 9/11. His only way back is by facing the truth.

9. An Unfinished Life (2005)

This movie is about a father who is traumatized by his son’s death and stuck in blame. Even as buried anger and accusations resurface, the way is opened for unexpected connection, adventure, and forgiveness. This is a moving portrayal of how life without values is empty but becomes overflowing when meaning and purpose is discovered.