Depression and drumming

rmac86

Member
Been playing for about 20 years now and have played with my share of great and terrible musicians. I was forced to move out of my family home, country and regular gigging circuit due to a brother that has insecurities and basically ruined my musical reputation by telling people I was an inadequate musician and a liability. Now I’ve moved home and found the exact same thing going on.

I thought I left my last band on good terms but now I find they are spreading untrue rumours about me being unfit to play and dangerous, despite the instigator of this being an extreme secret alcoholic and a father to 2 kids he doesn’t have any interest in.

Basically this isn’t helping with my severe depression, I tried drumming as a comfort and expressive tool (I need to create constantly) but feel the world doesn’t want me to do this for some reason?

Anyone out there feel the same way?
 

JJKK

Member
I'm working through depression and other stuff through drumming. When I really nail parts of some songs despite having the shittiest conditions imaginable, it really makes my day.

That means it's working for me. I have chaos all around me and drumming is my North Star right now.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I’ve been playing non-professionally for most of my 53 yrs, with a renewed interest at age 40 when I hit that midlife crisis. I can’t speak to depression, but I know how uplifting it can feel to see yourself getting better through steady practice. On the other side, drumming itself - or rather the world around drumming - usually has some really low points:

The midlife crisis for the amateur who suddenly finds him/herself halfway to the grave without having accomplished playing that dream show in front of thousands at a concert venue.

Finding yourself in a playing situation where you find you aren’t ready, and you know you aren’t ready because you haven’t picked up the sticks in years. Talent shows, drum-offs, and “drum solos” requested by close family fit into that category.

Finding yourself hitting a wall in your practice. This probably doesn’t apply as much today with the access to youtube and the endless supply of ideas/lessons found there. My experience is that learning proper stick technique, learning sight reading by practicing with study books, are tools to get you through those walls.

Finally, I’ll throw in the case of the competent (again amateur) drummer that finds it more and more difficult to have opportunities to play live in front of people, primarily due to having a day job outside of music, not to mention family responsibilities, not to mention the dying breed of live music these days.

For the professional drummer, that last one applies more I suppose - replace "playing live in front of people" with "playing and getting paid".
 
Hanging your happiness on success in drumming or any kind of external activity probably isn't the best approach to tackle depression in my experience. I ploughed my energy into sport in an effort to placate my demons and it took me to a world championship final... which I lost. Many said that being number 2 in the world was a great achievement but I quit the sport after that, and even if I had won it would have been a short term fix until the next thing.

Have you considered meditation? It has helped me enormously, and I love and enjoy music and drumming for what it is, no conditions or strings attached. The best thing is that this mindset is gradually becoming true for every aspect of my daily life and consequently I am much happier.

Take care of yourself man.
 

buddhadrummer

Junior Member
Yes, good advice here ^ .

Other people's opinion's of you do not define you. That said, one thing I've learned is that those who control the narrative control the story. But it doesn't have to define you. The one's who perpetuate lies and the one's who believe them are not worthy of my friendship. People are so quick to judge and don't make an attempt at learning truth. Are these the people that you want as real friends?

As far as depression is concerned, it can be very serious and you might want to seek professional help, although I don't recommend medication but instead meditation. As far as drumming, it wasn't enough to pull me out of it. I had to do it myself. One of the things that really got me headed in the right direction, meaning up out of the black hole, was doing volunteer work in service to others who were less fortunate than me. This gave me some perspective and helped bring some much needed clarity. Others were intentionally clouding my perspectives in pursuit of their own insecure interestes and agenda. You gotta get away from this shit and save yourself, not depend on others and see who real friends are. There are really very few in the world.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I started with cyclical depression in my teens, my Dad being a physician sent me to a psych guy and I tried medications and counseling which all serve a purpose, I believe, on short term. I tried self medicating and meditation. Long term I quit any meds or counseling because there is no cure. So noting mine as cyclical I started trying to determine are there triggers and how do I respond and spiral out. And I found triggers and discovered I follow a pattern of escalating behaviors so started trying to dissect how I get so worked up. I still get depressed but I can no longer set my watch by it, I no longer get so down it’s scary, and shorter in duration. Maybe once a year I’ll really get bad and crazy so I don’t make major or impulse decisions. What I discovered is constant stress I’m not as productive so I found intense spells of productivity in the lab had to be followed with down time reading and relaxing and a lot of thinking about my research. My mentors and bosses hated my roller coaster spells but all admitted my work was far superior with the change . Fortunately research is a job you do 7 days a week so a lot of freedom when and how you work. The down time reading was a huge benefit because most so busy they can’t follow the literature and it gave me a heads up to new techniques and areas to investigate. It all seemed so antithetical to logic by working less I’m more productive.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Like Buddhadrummersaid, volunteer. Help others.

That's how you help yourself.

Focus on someone else. Everything will come out in the wash, as far as your brother goes.

Helping your brother's kids, or spending time with them, as wrong as that may feel to you, is probably the very best thing you could do right now.

Be the man here. Your brother needs a good example to follow. Set it.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Seen plenty of this.

I reality you have to just move on, but it can be hard.

Narcissism is abundant.

With me it's been in my work as a teacher and that makes it a bit harder. It ends up beng legal isue that I'm finally about start now. Since it 's my profession, what I love and something I'm very good at and since my referenes don't reflect my work it's not possible to just move on and let it go. I have a bit of your situtation as well as many people I considered friends have let me down completely. That's a home town issue. Everyone knows the truth so it's slowly coming out, but it takes a while. Reality is that if they were friends they wouldn't do this and if they did they'd apologize and make up for it years ago. Hard as it is, mainly because I've known them for so long(my oldest friends, some for over 30 years) and don't want to believe people can be that way, I've had to let them go. The very mechanisms that made them this way are slowly turning against them, though. I just try to stay away. What I do is political and of public benefit. Be honest about stuff, but don't let it drag you down. Learn to know the difference.

Don't hang around for an apology. People like this don't get it. They'll never understand why what they do is wrong. It won't ever come.

You may be of integrity, but they're not. It's just the way it is. Don't try to understand it. It's an illness. It's beyond your power to fix.- They need to want to change themselves.

Depression is largely not living the life you were meant to be living. Do what you're passionate about, be of service and everything aligning so you're in the zone and you're happy, productive and it doesn't feel like work. I know I'm net effective at all when stressed out, but when calm I'm so productive I'm amazed myself.

I can't tell you I've never been pulled down, because I have, numberous times by quite evil people, but I have not given up. Neither should you. Save your love and goodness for people that deserve it, apprecite it or need it the most. You may still run into some assholes, but that's just inevitable.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Nothing worse than being stuck in a bum groove. Try new things, maybe even be a little erratic. Look for opportunities to make minor changes, that can change the perception of what you are doing. Get some sun, especially around noon, fresh air, avoid sick building syndrome. Maybe look at stress, posture breathing(these are likely drum related culprits). Check your vitamins, vitamin D is a biggie this time of year, but don't forget the minerals... Maybe explore some relaxation and anxiety relief(CBD is hip these days).
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Like Buddhadrummersaid, volunteer. Help others.

That's how you help yourself.

Focus on someone else. Everything will come out in the wash, as far as your brother goes.

Helping your brother's kids, or spending time with them, as wrong as that may feel to you, is probably the very best thing you could do right now.

Be the man here. Your brother needs a good example to follow. Set it.
Larry that is spot on and that is exactly what I found to best therapy. Not about “me” because focusing on me just aggravates it.
 

Vandalay

Member
Yes, Yes and Yes,..just had the led guitarist bail on current band, I'm 60 years old, and playing in at least a part-time working band has been a "bucket list" item of sorts, no I'm wondering if I'll ever find a project to be part of,..I know I should practice, but I'm too bummed to bother..
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Everyone's brain is unique, their experiences that have led them to the point where they are of course, also unique. Nobody on the planet can actually ever feel the same way as you. While we want others to be able to sympathize and understand what we're going through. Nobody truly can.

There's no one solution that fits all, and while the prevailing attitude here is focus less on self, and more on others, this isn't always the case.
Meditation is great, but it's also an external activity just like sports, and/or drumming and has limitations. I do highly recommend the Calm app. The Relationship With Self series is incredibly helpful.
Finding your true authentic self is always a journey worth taking. Having a therapist's help where you can talk to a person without judgement is incredibly helpful.

On some level, depression could be embraced. If the human spirit isn't a little crushed by needing to put money ahead of passion every single day and waking moment of our lives, then you're probably not really awake to the world we live in. Some people have brains that can manage the hypocrisy of life, some have brains that struggle with this. This is the #1 help of meditation as it can help you manage your thoughts in a less emotional way and be able to process them with a reasonable mind and help you find your authentic self. Only then can you start rationally making those decisions which put survival and happiness at odds with each other. However, without the help of a therapist it can be troubling depending on past traumas in life. Things can surface that you never knew happened or maybe you've normalized some events that were not normal at all.

Best wishes to you. It's a difficult place to be. While your feelings are unique to you, there are definitely a great number of people who have felt trapped in a place but have been able to find their way out. You can to, but it takes time and a lot of work.
 
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Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
If it's really bad, see a therapist. It's not dangerous and not somehing you have to commit to.

Just like with finding a drum teacher, go one or two times to see if it has any value to you.

Even if you think it's not that bad, go before that's the case and prevent a lot of unnecessary shit.
 
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One Up One Down

Senior Member
Seen plenty of this.

I reality you have to just move on, but it can be hard.

Narcissism is abundant.

With me it's been in my work as a teacher and that makes it a bit harder. It ends up beng legal isue that I'm finally about start now. Since it 's my profession, what I love and something I'm very good at and since my referenes don't reflect my work it's not possible to just move on and let it go. I have a bit of your situtation as well as many people I considered friends have let me down completely. That's a home town issue. Everyone knows the truth so it's slowly coming out, but it takes a while. Reality is that if they were friends they wouldn't do this and if they did they'd apologize and make up for it years ago. Hard as it is, mainly because I've known them for so long(my oldest friends, some for over 30 years) and don't want to believe people can be that way, I've had to let them go. The very mechanisms that made them this way are slowly turning against them, though. I just try to stay away. What I do is political and of public benefit. Be honest about stuff, but don't let it drag you down. Learn to know the difference.

Don't hang around for an apology. People like this don't get it. They'll never understand why what they do is wrong. It won't ever come.

You may be of integrity, but they're not. It's just the way it is. Don't try to understand it. It's an illness. It's beyond your power to fix.- They need to want to change themselves.

Depression is largely not living the life you were meant to be living. Do what you're passionate about, be of service and everything aligning so you're in the zone and you're happy, productive and it doesn't feel like work. I know I'm net effective at all when stressed out, but when calm I'm so productive I'm amazed myself.

I can't tell you I've never been pulled down, because I have, numberous times by quite evil people, but I have not given up. Neither should you. Save your love and goodness for people that deserve it, apprecite it or need it the most. You may still run into some assholes, but that's just inevitable.
So sorry to hear you've been attacked (both OP and Odd-Arne). I agree with you about narcissists, and when you come into contact with the ones that are good at manipulating, it seems almost too late when you finally realize what they are. I spent many years living with a narcissist, and it took me a while to get my head around it but I can spot the behaviours now quite easily.

To the OP, people with depression all deal with it differently, and you need to figure out what works for you. Nobody can tell you with certainty that a specific strategy is the answer. In my 20's, medication changed my life. I also find that my perspective matches closely with that of the philosophy of stoicism, which sort of is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy. Over the years I've likely come to this way of thinking as a coping mechanism. Being creative and working out also help.

It's been shown that exercise causes the generation of neurons in the brain. And somebody who loves to exercise and finds that it helps their depression (maybe due to neurogenesis) will tell you to exercise. But there's been studies that show that exercise only causes neurogenesis when the person enjoys the exercise. So in this example, if you don't like to exercise, slogging it out on the treadmill isn't going to help you.

Good luck, and take care.
 

specgrade

Senior Member
Stop making excuses for yourself. Actions speak louder than words. Why do the other musicians believe your brother over you? You can't control what people think and being down about it will only serve as a constant spiral to Hell. If the things people are told about you are NOT true, then you have nothing to be depressed about. There are so many others to jam with, including the radio/CD/records. You say "the world" doesn't want you to play...what does that even mean? Get out there and play!
 

Frank

Gold Member
Basically this isn’t helping with my severe depression, I tried drumming as a comfort and expressive tool (I need to create constantly) but feel the world doesn’t want me to do this for some reason?

Anyone out there feel the same way?
You don't want to go there. This is not about The World. This is about you and your decisions. There is no The World.

I Do find drumming to be therapeutic. Use it that way, and ignore what you might think The World might want.

If you haven't discussed the depression with your doc, you really should. There Are meds that can help. You are not alone. Lots and lots of people share in the challenge.

And, I have found CBD to be very, very, Very helpful. Do some reading. PM me if you like.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
And this is a good time to mention that it's best to immediately cast out anyone who invalidates your feelings.

There are many people who don't understand and think they have the answers. They will think they built everything in their life all on their own and that you just simply need to do the same. Life doesn't work like this and those who act this way are lucky, but of zero value to you and should be ignored.

You can't confront your fears by repressing them.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It is nuts and I don't really mind opening up about it because it's so much about things that should be of general public concern.

Everything is involved here.
- Narcissistic and incompetent leadership.
- Small town corruption.
- Respect for teachers.
- Respect for modern relevant pedagogy.
- In internal discrimination thing very much related to the modern music vs. classical musical training.
- A type of quite real xenophobia. In the 80s it was race, now it's stuff like this. Same people, same concept.
- Envy. A real misunderstanding of how I arrived at my competence. Hint. It was not by spending my time hiding from myself and talking shit about others.
- We don't talk politics, so I'll stay off that. It's not where one personallt leans anyway. It's simply about being able to think for ourselves and make informed as well as basic ethical decisions.

In any case, I am actually finally starting a process now. Lawyers are involved and psychiatrists are needed to document everything. No way to tell what will happen. These things are not easy and there's a difference between what's fair and what the judicial system can actually do. If I am to move on and offer the musical world anything of value, I have to win this first, though.

I'm not trying to steal your thread. I'm just saying that if I have the power to fight on. Most people should. Don't be afraid to ask for help, just be cautious about who you ask it from. The wrong people will suck you dry.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Stop making excuses for yourself. Actions speak louder than words. Why do the other musicians believe your brother over you? You can't control what people think and being down about it will only serve as a constant spiral to Hell. If the things people are told about you are NOT true, then you have nothing to be depressed about. There are so many others to jam with, including the radio/CD/records. You say "the world" doesn't want you to play...what does that even mean? Get out there and play!
Tough love ^. I like it!

Look around and you will notice that life sucks and it's depressing. You can wallow in it or you can do something about it. I understand that it's easier said than done. I have spent WAY too much of my life being depressed when there was absolutely no excuse for it. Hell, I still feel like crap some days but I am 100% certain that I am 100% to blame and I do what it takes to get myself turned around.

I think you should sit down and have a talk with yourself and make some notes. This is your life and it is completely in your control. Do some research and learn some coping skills and tricks. If you drink, stop. Learn to laugh at yourself. Learn to take things one step at a time so you avoid getting overwhelmed.

Also, I doubt that all of this has anything to do with drums or music. Play if it helps you feel good. Don't play if it makes you feel bad.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I understand this all too well. I deal with my own depression at times, and my wife is bipolar so I deal with her depression also. Unfortunately there is no one answer. Mine is always stress related. My wife can be triggered by stress, unfamiliar situations, something going wrong, or even just waking up depressed. She has a chemical imbalance, so there is no specific trigger.

If it really bothers you, like it sounds like it is, you need an unbiased source to get it out with. As mentioned, a therapist is great. They don't know you or the offending parties. They can give you new perspectives to consider, a different way to approach things, or even exercises to try to help you relax and collect yourself. They may prescribe meds, they may not. I'm not on any, my wife is. There is no one answer.

Regardless of anything, you have to remember that even though it may feel like it, the world isn't out to get you. And there are people that love and care about you because you are you. I know it's hard, but try not to let it bother you. As with all things, this too shall pass. I sincerely hope you get to feeling better. Life may be the longest thing we all ever do, but it isn't long enough to need to be depressed about stuff that isn't worth being depressed about.
 
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