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Anxiety when playing


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Depending on "liquid courage" to take the edge off stage fright can take you down a slippery road and you could quite possibly come to a point where you need more and more to have the desired effect.For years I worked as a gigging musician and also with my day job I had to always be giving demonstrations and lectures about adaptive and speciality seating and equipment for physically disabled kids as well as lectures on Occupational Health and Safety.When I started at all of this I was a poster child for stage fright as my hands used to sweat and shake so much that I could hardly play my guitar when gigging or hold on to my lecture notes without having them disintegrate from the sweat when giving presentations at work.In time all that wore off.

 

These days now,I'm right back to square one as after being away from gigging and lecturing for about 15 years I now have to give presentations on chronic pain all over the province in front of doctors,other health professionals and their patients and to top it off I had to do a TV interview a couple of weeks ago-as luck would have it,at least that was pre-taped which diminished the stress somewhat.I've found that as time goes on I'm becoming less and less stressed and by relaxing and doing some deep-breathing exercises about 10 minutes before really helps too.All you have to do is find a quite restful place if possible and for 2-5 minutes slowly breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth,this can really have a calming effect on you.As time goes on the anxiety will lessen more and more until it is no longer a problem-good luck with it,I know all too well what a battle it can bee but with determination and even telling your friends how you feel can be a big help.

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I have tried the Propranolol route and it worked for a while but was hell to get off,

 

 

I was on a similar pharma and I decided I didn't want to take it anymore. I'm still nervous but it's not covered up and pushed down anymore, it comes and goes freely which is easier I find.

 

I totally bombed my intro to Pride and Joy in this Youtube video, so I know all about nerves, lifetime in-fact.

 

Here's what I do sometimes when it's bad. If you're feeling overwhelmed by a client/teammate/bandmate/boss/or a girl you just can't get up the nerve to talk to remember this one thing. Everybody Poops. Now I know that's kind of a strange idea, but it really humanizes whoever you're intimidated/or enamoured with, and when you humanize them a lot of the times whatever your brain has cooked up goes away. Just think about them taking a dump, any kind of dump really. Kind of like the old "picture everyone in their underwear" but more, I don't know contemporary?

 

Anyway hope it helps.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uorttTRLPe0&feature=plcp

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To the original poster - I have a lot of experience being a nervous wreck. I used to be very shy and self conscious and have been able to change so that I don't get very nervous about much.

 

It is a process. You get conditioned to the challenge and you get a history of success under your belt. Then you have the confidence that you know you've done well in the past and that you'll probably do fine today.

 

I take four meds that say that they slow you down - "Don't operate machinery" - that kind of med. So sometimes I can skip a med to try to think better.

 

I take beta blockers. They calm you down but slow your mental acuity. I can take my beta blocker and be calm or I can not take it and I can play like lightning but I get nervous. So if you take a beta blocker on the day of your gig, don't expect to be as good a guitar player.

 

I also take another blood pressure med that slows me down. I can skip that med the day of a gig and it won't make me nervous. So I do that.

 

Anyway, trying to take certain meds or skip certain meds to control anxiety vs. acuity is a difficult thing. You have to take the same thing day-to-day to make your practice days like gig days, so it becomes difficult to develop a routine that works.

 

Practical advice for a gig day includes rest the night before, don't take much caffeine early in the day and stay hydrated. Drinking coffee early in the day will help make you nervous later in the day after the caffeine has worn off, so wait to drink your coffee or take your energy drinks until later in the day. That way the caffeine will be working without the nerves.

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If it wasn't for random drug screens, I would just take a couple of hits off a joint. I know that definetely calms me down. (and gives me the munchies, too) It would be nice if it was just legalized, but that's another conversation all to itself. I'm not trying to start a debate! Just saying what I would do, if I could.

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Thats what places like this are for so we as humans can share more.

 

And the one other thing I would say about all this is that also sometimes sweating canbe caused from (strangely enough) dehydration.

Try drinking two large glasses of water before you go on. That has actually helped me a few times (even though as said it could still be all in my mind)...

 

Good luck for tonight.. let us know how it goes :) (and good on you for keeping going and not letting it stop you. That in the end is probably the most important thing, that we try regradless and gets you my respect [thumbup] )

 

Thanks for yours Rabs, I did play Wednesday, wasn't easy but I did it. Good point re dehydration, I don't sweat much at all as a person but my hands go damp and cold, not good for a guitarist. I will try the glasses of water and see how it goes. I had planned not to drink any alk but gave in to the glass of wine put in front of me by the third song almost in panic and it seemed to work, interestingly it had the effect of drying my hands, could me coincidental but it worked.

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This is a very good point. I never get anxiety while playing, only before playing. Waiting backstage is like standing in line at the roller coaster. Once I get on the ride it's a blast, but thinking about getting on the ride is a moth3rfvck3r! [biggrin]

 

=D>

 

That's exactly right!

 

And as I became a better performer I became a better roller coaster rider!

 

Literally!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Go to the docs and ask for Propranolol. It's what the pro's use. I have it for anxiety. It really works.

 

I though I would give it a try. I've been prescribed 40gm pills to take as and when like aspin but I see on Wikipedia they suggest 10 to 15 mg an hour before playing. I was wondering what you take Laphurst?

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