Since 2002, I have dealt with Lyme Encephalitis.  On a daily experience, I deal with chronic migraine, light and sound sensitivity, chronic fatigue, body pain, and cognitive impairments.  Over the course of my health recovery, I have found one inexpensive, side affect free way to help me get through the day…What is it? My newly discovered, therapeutic remedy is singing. That is why I chose to attend Claude’s class.  To learn more about something that helps me cope with my pain and frustrations involved with an acquired brain injury.

The first day of the workshop is finally here.  I am nervous.  I am out of my element.  I have never sung in front of anyone, but my bathroom mirror.  I walk through the class doors as an unconfident and insecure person.  But, by the end of the experience, I leave the classroom doors as a person who believes in myself, has hope for a better quality of life, and has a fun therapeutic tool in my back pocket available for use at anytime!  I felt that I could take charge of an uncontrollable situation that I have been dealt with regards to my health.

I loved our group of people that were in attendance with me at the workshop.  And it didn’t matter whether you could sing on key or not. Many people thought they were “tone-deaf.” Claude built our group into an open, cohesive, supportive, encouraging, loving, confident, and fun team!  Don’t ask me how he did it.  I do not know how he made a group of 30 strangers into a supportive, team unit, in three days.  He just did.  He did it effortlessly.

I not only learned the technical aspects of singing.  I learned the importance of singing from my heart.  I learned how to sing from my heart!  I learned how to get back in touch with my body which I often tried to avoid due to the amount of pain, fatigue, and confusion that I experience on a daily basis.  I found therapeutic ways through the use of my own voice to sing while releasing unhelpful thoughts about pain and suffering.  I began to believe in myself despite the pain, problems speaking, and understanding.  I can sing.  Despite, my personal challenges, I have a voice too.

I walked out of Claude’s class with a new found confidence and a belief that there is hope for me to look forward to waking up in the morning.  I walked out of his class with hope that I could live a better quality of life despite not being able to follow conversations of my friends.  I felt that despite me not being able to work that I had self worth too.  I had value too.  Most importantly, I walked out of his class with many belly laughs and a wonderful experience of singing in front of a judgment free class.  This experience gave me a break from my chronic pain.  The class was composed in a way that made everything fun. We shared laughs.  We shared stories and moments of vulnerability.  The singing helped lessen my pain!  At times, I felt moments of painlessness! I noticed that I can have fun again, despite what obstacles lie or await to be tackled.  I could connect with people through singing.   Despite having aphasia, I can sing!

The experience taught me a lesson that I will always have…using one of my most valuable instruments; my voice.  I found my voice again and I use it to help me heal and feel good.