Today is World Mental Health Day (as well as Canadian Thanksgiving) , and with that in mind I thought I would share my own mental health journey, and how it relates to my drumming.
Depression runs in my family. My father had it, and it eventually took my sister's life. As an obese, glasses wearing kid who wasn't good at sports, I was bullied a lot in grade school. I found school in general difficult and frustrating (I now believe I had a learning disability) and rarely did any class speak to me. I started playing drums at ten, and it's hard to describe the many things it has done for me, but here goes.
-It installed in me a feeling of pride as I began to understand and develop techniques.
-It led me to countless friendships and experiences through musical associations
-It gave a purpose to everyday, whether things were going well or poorly
-It allowed me to use my imagination
-I was given a chance to develop something OUTSIDE of school
-I get to use my hands and feet to sculpt in sound everyday
-I have learned so much and gotten so much pleasure out of all styles of music
-I have learned how to focus my mind and relax, even in stressful situations
-I get to reach people and give them pleasure without even knowing or speaking to them
-I can do something that makes me forget about myself and feel that I am a part of something bigger
-Independent coordination has allowed me to develop many new neural pathways
-Music has helped me become a kinder and more empathetic person
-Playing makes me feel like I have something positive to offer the world
-I am able to help others reach their drumming and musical dreams
These are just a few of the things being a musician has done for me. I don't want anyone to get the idea that its been all roses, but sticking with it yields me rewards every day, and I still view music as a true gift.
Speaking of gifts, here's a huge one in the form of Keith Jarrett's trio. Thanks so much for the music.