Learning Guitar for young Julien not only changed his world forever but Restored Hope
Most of his life Julien had suffered from an Anxiety condition which left him unable to face the world with a happy kick in his step. Instead he faced each day feeling as if he was in the world alone even when surrounded by family and friends. Because of these feelings and not being able to truly connect to other people he suffered from a form of Social Anxiety.
The Anxiety Discovery
To Julien's parents he seemed to be a normal kid at first but as years had gone by they had noticed that Julien who was a fine looking young boy and very popular at school just did not behave like he was liked. Instead Julien avoided parties he was invited to and even slowly gave up the sports he seemed to enjoy and excel in as he was under stress and had some signs of depression.
Julien had always loved to play Soccer and Basketball but by the time he seemed to be playing his best as the MVP of the team he started to lose interest. He soon gave up his sports and started staying inside his room drawn into the worlds of Myspace and facebook. Often he would be just playing the games on facebook or searching out other kids he added as friends. The only problem with that is he never talked to anyone instead he seemed to just be collecting friends until he had more than 15,000 friends. It seemed to have become a hobby of his.
We started to worry about him as his childhood was dissappearing in front of our eyes and time was being lost indoors being alone instead of being outdoors with friends. We had discussed his actions or non-actions and decided to take Julien to a Doctor for an evaluation and a checkup. While at the Doctors office we waited to find out something really wrong, some kind of cause but with the hope it could be cured. After Hours and Hours of waiting finally the Doctor saw Julien and us and started asking Julien about how school was going and how his grades were. Then he checked his heart with a Stethascope and his blood pressure.
After a full Checkup had been completed the Doctor asked to meet with us in a separate office and we left Julien in the room with a Hot Rod Magazine which he seemed to like. "Basically your child seems to have an anxiety condition that is causing him to show signs of depression and possibly other signs and conditions", the Doctor said in a soft toned voice. This is known as a Social Anxiety and over time could possibly be cured or have the symptoms reduced. Then he started asking questions about School, Sports, girlfriends, and a slew of other questions as he tried to get to the root of the problem.
The Doctor was very honest and upfront as he told us this condition of anxiety as with many other anxieties could lead to problems larger down the road and we had several choices we could seek to try and help Julien out. One of these was medication that would have an immediate effect on Julien but other complications could possibly arise such as dependency on drugs, eventual Liver Fail, or any slew of side effects from taking medication. The Doctor also said it is possible that Julien would have to try several types of Meds until we found the right Drug that works best for Julien.
I was against Taking drugs as this was like putting a Band-Aid on a Cut that never heals. I wanted to try and get to the bottom of Juliens apparent unhappiness and depression. I could not understand it as Julien was the most popular kid in his class, his grades were great and he had previously excelled in sports until he just up and quit. As far as we knew Julien was one of the luckiest kids in his school and was gifted in several areas.
Other Suggestions from the Doctor
The Doctor looked us in the eyes and said, "I don't blame you for not wanting to medicate your child but it may come down to that if you want your son to have a normal childhood. The only thing other then medication is to try and find something that Julien has an interest in such as another sport, building something, Swimming or etc.. You can even get Julien some books on Anxiety to help him learn more and possibly help. Then the Doctor went on to say he knows some kids write poetry or stories to help release their feelings which seems to work very well for them. "But Julien does not like to write", I replied. It was just an example, something to refocus Julien on something else other then where his minds at now, the Doctor replied Back.
At this moment we started to hear some noise comming from the room where Julien was at. It sounded like some real bad Guitar playing, then I had realized that Julien had taken the Guitar that was hanging high up on the wall as a display item. The room was dome in a cowboy fashion and amongst cowboy hats, boots on a shelf and a saddle seat was this old Broken looking Acoustic Guitar on the wall. I started to head for the room where Julien was at as I was angry he would take the guitar off the wall. "Wait", the Doctor had raised his voice and stopped me from leaving the room. Let him play it for a little bit, he's playing better then I had ever done, spouted the Doctor.
Guitar awakens a Depressed Boy
We waited for what seemed to be hours but only amounted to about 20 minutes before the Doctor decided to go in and see Julien. He told us to wait outside for a moment so he could talk to Julien. My wife looked at me then I at her as we were confused but gave the go ahead to the doctor. The Doctor then turned and went into the door around the corner and we started to wait.
The Doctor looked at Julien who seemed suprised to see the Doctor. Julien quickly went to put the Guitar back and had the look of if he had done something really wrong, Julien, Do you like playing the guitar? asked the Doctor. Julien took a moment to answer but then said that he had always liked Guitars and wished he could play good like Stevey Ray Vahn. The Doc then said he wished he could play like Elvis as he was a big Elvis fan. They talked for awhile about guitars and who their favorite Artists are then the Doc asked Julien to look over the guitar closely. Julien did so and what Julien noticed on the front of the Guitar was a signature that he really had not taken notice to much. Julien moved his finger over the signature and felt it as it was etched into the wood. Whose signature is this, asked Julien?
The Doctor ran his finger across the signature himself and then replied, "My Dad's Signature". As a boy my dad had saved up for over 2 years for this guitar that use to hang down in the window of a pawn shop. He mowed many yards and had done lots of little jobs until he had enough money to buy it. After he purchased the guitar the first thing he did was to carve his name into the Guitar and then he started his Journey in learning how to play. "Well did he learn", asked Julien? Not only did he learn, he mastered the Guitar and went on to play back up for some of the greats and even got to sit down and play next to Elvis Presley once. "Wow", exclaimed Julien!
A gift from the Doctor
Well young man it seems you really like to play that old thing. Yes sir, it is really fun replied Julien. The Doc then took a hold of the Guitar and looked it over several times as he had spun it around as if inspecting it for defects. Then the Doc handed back to Julien with a smile on his face. Julien, you take this guitar and make it sing, Practice on it everyday and then once a month I want you to come back and see me, or rather play for me, the doctor said with a giving smile. "I promise, I promise", Julien shouted with excitement!
My wife and I hearing an energetic Julien rushed into the room and saw Julien with the guitar. "He gave it to me Dad"! He gave me this Guitar! I looked at the doctor and told him I could'nt afford the visit as it was, nor could I afford to pay for that guitar. No need to worry, Julien and I have a little deal going on or should I say an agreement as he looked at Julien. Julien said with a big youthful smile "Yes sir", I will practice everyday and see you in a month. Doc I can't afford to pay for monthly visits I replied. Then the Doc looked at me and said there is no charge for me to listen to your son playing guitar, and the Guitar is a Gift. That old guitar needed a home and I think my dad is looking down from heaven right now happy to see this guitar that he valued so much being played again for the first time in years. I had tried many times but for some reason could not find the ability to learn as I am tone deaf.
"Thank you so much Doctor I appreciate your help and I will get Julien back here every month".
Julien and his Guitar
We had left the Doctors office that day and headed straight to the Music store where we purchased some strings, guitar picks, and a beginners book for guitars. Julien took to it like wild fire as he read the book over and over again practicing chords and then plucking away at notes. My wife and I also started to see a change in him that was so very positive as his alone time was filled with smiles and joy as the Guitar seemed to become something he trusted and loved. He took it outside and practiced everyday as he sat on top of the trampoline. My wife and I broke down in happy tears as we caught him singing a song that he had apparently wrote himself. To other people it might not have been great but to us it was a song that gave us hope for our sons future.
Every month I would take Julien to the Doctors office at 4:30 pm the first friday of the month and Julien played for the doctor for atleast 15-30 minutes. The look on the Doctors face was priceless as he really enjoyed seeing his fathers guitar being played and also seeing a boy play who had a passion he had never seen before in such a young child.
3 Years later Julien still plays that same old Guitar as it is his favorite, and he still promptly goes and plays for the Doctor every month. In fact now many patients show up in the waiting room just to hear Julien play and the last time he did there was atleast 20 people sitting in the waiting room watching our son play magnificently on the guitar.
What about Julien's Anxiety Condition?
Julien has left most of his Anxiety and Symptoms behind as he had found something that he is very passionate about. The guitar changed Julien's world and Julien now finds himself surrounded by people who have a love for the guitar almost as much as he has, and we have a child who is enjoying his childhood the way he wants to. I see my Son with eyes that are proud, I see his smiles as gifts from God, and we see how a Docotor made a difference in our sons life with the unselfish gift of a Guitar!