A young friend recently asked, "Don't you wish everyone knew that drumming gets rid of depression?"
"But when I'm depressed," I responded, "I don't want to drum."
And there's the rub, eh? We all know how to end our depression - from exercise to aromatherapy to shopping to talking with a friend or a therapist…our culture is bursting with stuff that supposed to make us feel good - but there's a catch, or, more accurately, a Catch-22 - and that is the lethargy that accompanies depression.
Like many people who live here in the Great NorthWET, I often get really down after the holidays. Not enough sun, no money coming in, it's too damn cold, the state of the nation, the state of the world, and on and on. I look over at the back wall of my living room. There's my wonderful djembe, tucked into its special stand, and next to it my small electronic keyboard and beside that my four beautiful congas. And I sigh because I know that if I had the motivation to play them (play being the operative word), I wouldn't be depressed in the first place.
Fortunately, if I want to eat and pay the rent, I have to drum because that is the way I've chosen to survive. And my classes do lift my spirits because I so love to teach and I enjoy the people who have chosen to study with me very much. Sometimes I think if it wasn't for the responsibility I feel towards my students, I might never leave the house between January and March.
I have let myself down a thousand times in my life, but I have never let my students down.
So I just wait it out, aware that at some point in the next couple of months I'll notice that the trees are studded with buds, and I don't need to wear quite so many sweaters, and even though it's dinner time, it's still light outside. And then, without any effort at all, I'll probably pull out a drum and begin to play, boosting my spirits even higher into the Springtime sky.
Yours in Rhythm,