Drumming Out PTSD

Jul 6, 2015

Dave Brown, a Vietnam War veteran, lived with undiagnosed PTSD for decades. Instead of getting help, he dealt with the lingering stress of combat by staying really, really busy – working multiple jobs, raising a family, and mastering hobby after hobby. Most of those hobbies came and went, except one – drumming. 

That's because in addition to being fun, drumming helps to calm Dave's nerves.

Dave recently joined a new drum circle at the Cotuit Center for the Arts aimed at veterans with PTSD. The group is run by Sam Holmstock, a former touring musician, who believes that drumming can help all sorts of ailments – from Alzheimers to PTSD. Recruiting vets has been a challange, Sam says, because veterans are generally reluctant to admit they need help.

In the past two years, Dave's finally been diagnosed with PTSD and started seeing a counselor at the Veterans Administration. Now 71-years-old, he says his symptoms are "minimal," but they'll never go away entirely. And so, for pleasure and for therapy, Dave Brown of Osterville will continue to drum on.

This piece came to us from our production partners at Atlantic Public Media through their media training program, The Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole. Jonathan Earle was a graduate of the Spring 2015 class.  You can find out more about that program at Transom.org

Creative Life is edited by Jay Allison and made possible by The Circle of Ten, ten local businesses and organizations committed to local programming on WCAI.