99FM – Your Inspiration Station

Drumming up mental health

– How creative expression can be part of healing 

The arts are gaining ground as part of a treatment process for many forms of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

“Mental illnesses are lonely illnesses that leave you feeling alone all the time. Music fills a void within you and is always positive which, considering is the place you are in, can be life changing. Music can be that friend you never had, that listens and does not pass judgment,” shares Ian Daniel, more affectionately known as Noodle.

Ian is a big believer in using team-building efforts that offer drumming circles as a way to increase team morale. 

“A highly effective team needs to be strong in communication, trust, integrity, collective thinking, problem solving, leadership and more.”

In his youth, Ian struggled to put these principles into practice, but he always found himself through music and drumming. “Drumming is the one thing that the world can’t take away from you. You will always get a sense of achievement and self-worth from even five minutes of drumming. When you are at the lowest of lows, these small accomplishments produce massive changes and can help you lift your head and carry on.” 

At the age of 19, Ian was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and, after a long journey, he’s become productive and stable. 

“There’s always ups and downs, but keeping them mellow and not too extreme is the key. There are some simple points that Ian lives by:

  • Don’t hide your illness, it just makes you more anxious
  • Surround yourself with people who are positive influences on your life
  • Exercise daily
  • Do not drink or take illegal substances
  • Believe in something greater than yourself – this could be God or Buddah, whatever floats your boat
  • Get the right help
  • Take your medication; do not deviate from this
  • Be passionate about something – music, drumming, fishing or any hobby
  • Routine is key

“At rock bottom, there is always a way up, so do not quit,” he says.