"I flipped a switch and my mood lifted"I take responsibility for lifting my mood...and Dr. X. if you are reading this sit down:
I joined a guitar class and seriously played my guitar for the first time in years!
And guess what...it made me feel so good. The experience was mostly extremely pleasurable. And then...we played again this morning! And guess what else...though I woke up today exhausted, the music and the inspiration of other's music, and the safe camaraderie in the drop in session this a.m. was again soul enhancing.
Dr. X. will understand how hard this was for me. Years ago, when I was in my early twenties, I hung out with a large group of people. Before and during part of second year University I was dating one of them. Music was my life.
From the time I was young I played ukulele(no lie), the guitar and drums. I listened to all the music I could get my hands on. In my late teens and early twenties I went to see live bands every week, all the time. This was when the grunge movement beginning and was getting big on the Westcoast and I was enthralled by the energy of the music.
A couple girlfriends and I started a band. We had a practice space and practised all the time. It was so fun to sing and make music. Then I started university.
I became overwhelmed by the academics, partly because I was having to work to support myself, partly because I was trying to keep up with my friends outside university and partly because I hadn't been in school for a while and really was not prepared for how much pressure there was. I slipped into an extremely severe depression. As I became depressed my boyfriend cheated on me (on purpose) knowing I would dump him. He told me I was too depressed to be around.
This did two things. It set me into an even more severe depression and it made me lose contact with all my friends. All my friends were mutual friends with him. So along with the relationship ending, all , but one of my friendships ended, our band ended and I stopped going to listen to bands. I also put down my guitar. It was too painful a reminder of so much loss. I became even more depressed and sought help, which helped with the depression, but never helped me pick up my guitar and play again. I literally didn't play it again for years.
Dr. X has tried to get me to play, because he knows music creates a sense of joy in me. I made a couple weak attempts to try, but it just brought back too many sad feelings.
In the impromptu lessons yesterday (that we planned at the Art Clubhouse on Monday) I almost cried numerous times when I was playing. I have so many feelings of loss and abandonment tied up in my guitar. I was terrified I would be so bad and I would embarrass myself. I did embarrass myself, because almost twenty years away from an instrument does not a good guitar player make, but I survived the embarrassment. Dr. X. has tried to help me so many times to allow myself to be embarrassed and live through it. He has advised me to take a behavioural approach to my embarrasment. The more I let myself get through those moments, hopefully the more I will learn to feel less embarrassed.
While I played my guitar in the lesson I almost cried from fear, shame, and embarrassment, but I kept trying and I received so much encouragement. A group of us are planning to meet for lessons and jam session every week.
I am so glad I took that step to force myself to try to play again, despite all my fears and all the bad memories attached to that guitar. It felt like yesterday and today were an attempt to create good memories with the guitar. That is a huge step in the right direction. I can tell it helped me, because my mood lifted during the first guitar session continued to lift today despite being exhausted this morning. After I started playing the guitar at the studio it was like I woke up. I began to joyfully make up lyrics and sing out loud and strong along to the blues riffs we are learning. I love music.