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After years of selfanalyzing my inability to sing: Anxiety!

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rofleren
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Hey guys. Almost all the posts I've made throughout the last years has been about how there was something wrong with my voice (not the sound of it - I know I sing well, just not when I have anxiety) but something that made me unable to sing.

I've finally found out what it is. There's absolutely nothing wrong with my vocal chords or something there.

It's anxiety.

The last four weeks have been very good. I've been seeing results SO quickly. But, suddenly, last Monday, my anxiety came back and this week I haven't been able to produced my newly unlocked G4-F5 notes.

What can I learn from this?:

1. When I don't have anxiety I learn super fast and it's super motivating.

2. When I have anxiety I "lose" what I've learned.

3. My life quality is so much higher when I don't have anxiety. Really. I use SO much time to think about what's wrong with my body/mind/what I can do when I have anxiety. It's very time consuming and causes me to miss the stuff I really want to do.

Clearly I can't go on with anxiety for the rest of my life, and because I am lucky that my workplace pays for this stuff, I've got an appointment for a free next week for a coaching course.

It was SO relieving not to have anxiety in those four weeks. I felt GOOD! :D

So far what I know that helps me at least a little:

1. Think positive (even though it's hard when I have the anxiety)

2. Get up in the morning (even though everything is extremely demotivating in the morning when I have anxiety - when I don't there is no problem to get up. If I don't get up to the time I've planned my day is often ruined, so this is a must.)

3. Practice mindfulness (this seems to help a little as well)

I don't really have any other stuff I do to counter it. And this is clearly not enough, since I still have it, hehe.

I'm really glad that I finally know why my mood and concentration shifts so much that it does - hell, my overall life quality.

Right now I'll be trying the coach and maybe changing my diet or something. If it doesn't work, I'll see if the doctor can prescribe something. It's been a huge thing in my life without I even knew what it was I was dealing with.

I don't think anxiety is that rare, so maybe if anyone else have had/still have anxiety they can tune in, and share what you do to counter it.

Thanks

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Anxiety makes my throat spasms happen more often as well. Anxiety increases signals flowing through the central nervous system, that could cause increased muscle tension, which is bad in itself, but if you have nerve/muscular disorders it makes it worse.

Anxiety sucks for singing in a generalized way. If you have an anxiety disorder you might want to look into treatment. I don't know if natural treatments are enough if you are regularly anxious over 'singing' in a more generalize way. You can kind of 'desensitize' stress points to a certain point, but generally some people are naturally more anxious than others.

I'm doing the same here and am going to look into anti anxiety drugs to see how much they can help. Only problem is I have a close family member that was zombified by anti anxiety medications, to the point of seeming like IQ points were likely dropping fast. It wasn't even the same person. Be careful to look out for side effects if you go that route. They may not all be equally 'sedating' I suppose to that level.

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rofleren, but is this a result of self analysis too?

Anxiety, and your attitude towards trainning are major factors, sure.

But loosing notes due to it is a new one to me.

What if, instead, what you need is to keep trainning the basic and simple stuff that allowed you to get smaller but anxiety-independant gains?

I gotta tell you man, rushing into this, and here your anxiety will hinder you, is the worst possible approach.

Since there is a certain barrier here, maybe a strong one since you began concerning about your own health and second guessing your potential, I think it would be wise to forget about headvoice all together for a while, instead ask your coach to train all the basics with you until its top notch, flawless.

Still, do you trust your coach? You see, you need this man. Even if you dont understand a simple demonstration should convince you. If not, its not a healthy interaction.

Thinking in a more broad sense. Did singing became easier for you, overall? Do you have at least a few notes in one vowel that you can say: ok I know that this IS correct, lets see if I can bring the rest xloser how this works.

If not, its no wonder that your notes come and go, its all loose and will depend exactly on the mood you wake up each day :)

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I trust my current teacher very much. He's awesome! Best teacher I've ever had. He really takes time with me.

But yes, when I didn't have the overall pressure on my body it was no problem to ease into the high notes. I just can not do it when I have anxiety. It feels like my body is just in constant over-"curbing" / holding back.

I've talked with a few doctors and therapists and they've all said it's anxiety. First I was convinced it was something physical in my throat/stomach or something, but they've all said the same, so now I take their word for it.

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My teacher, Eli Prinsen, sends me a custom exercise mp3 after every weeks lesson. He adds or changes in it depending on what we talk about. I'm training to sing power metal. And I've seen so much improvement over the last past weeks. That is what I've wanted to sing since I started singing.

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Hey man, I've not experienced anxiety to the degree you describe, but I can relate to some of your statements. However, I have people close to me that has dealt with it too a far worse degree, to the diagnosis of depression. I must say, I would seriously advice you to contact a doctor, both a therapist aswell as maybe a psychiatrist. Sme of your statements sound close to depression and that is not something you "fix" by thinking positive (of course that helps a lot too). It can be changed and this is not a post to make you worrybut a post to give you the inspiration? to deal with this before it could get out of hand. Best if luck to you,and take care of yourself man. You only have one you :)

Let us know how it turns out!

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Thank you Mivke. Yeah. To be honest it feels very good to have a name on what "that's wrong with me". Hehe.

I've always had a weird sensation in my body, but I've always thought it was something that was wrong with my stomach or something. I've went to a few tests over the years and they've all said there's nothing physical to see.

I often feel very good and then all of sudden I feel depressed in a way that seems unusual and not just average teen depression - I think.

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Anxiety makes my throat spasms happen more often as well. Anxiety increases signals flowing through the central nervous system, that could cause increased muscle tension, which is bad in itself, but if you have nerve/muscular disorders it makes it worse.

Anxiety sucks for singing in a generalized way. If you have an anxiety disorder you might want to look into treatment. I don't know if natural treatments are enough if you are regularly anxious over 'singing' in a more generalize way. You can kind of 'desensitize' stress points to a certain point, but generally some people are naturally more anxious than others.

I'm doing the same here and am going to look into anti anxiety drugs to see how much they can help. Only problem is I have a close family member that was zombified by anti anxiety medications, to the point of seeming like IQ points were likely dropping fast. It wasn't even the same person. Be careful to look out for side effects if you go that route. They may not all be equally 'sedating' I suppose to that level.

If the natural ways doesn't work, I'll put my life into the hands of the doctors, hehe. I'd generally dont want to touch that anti depressing drugs, but that I say because I don't know enough about the stuff.

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If the anxiety is caused by physical conditions ( Unemployement, not enough money to pay bills, inlaws don't like you, How can i spend time training for singing when my boss didn't give me my check and the bills are due.....) then taking pills won't help. It can cause more of a problem. Those things are life taking place.

If you are giving yourselfself anxiety because yesterday you could sing a C5 or higher and today you can only sing to A4 don't beat yourself up over it. That will only make you constrict more. Same thing if you are not making as much improvement this week as you did last week. We all hit platoes.

Pills can cause more problems than they help sometimes.

I am not a doctor but they call it a practice for a reason.

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I trust my current teacher very much. He's awesome! Best teacher I've ever had. He really takes time with me.

But yes, when I didn't have the overall pressure on my body it was no problem to ease into the high notes. I just can not do it when I have anxiety. It feels like my body is just in constant over-"curbing" / holding back.

I've talked with a few doctors and therapists and they've all said it's anxiety. First I was convinced it was something physical in my throat/stomach or something, but they've all said the same, so now I take their word for it.

Does it go away when you're less stressed out? I agree, give it a try. Try to treat the anxiety see what happens. If treating the anxiety doesn't fix it then well.

I've heard the crico thyroid 'can' get locked which is directly related to curbing. I've had that validated by one of my laryngologists I tried. I even had them try it on me, with a little chemical injection to temporarily release the muscle, see if that was the problem. Made my my voice extremely bizarre, but my problem remained (wasn't a crico problem). I think someone, who was it. It was way back? Daug Poland? He had this problem he got from SLS exercises. We both got voice problems right around the time of trying SLS exercises. He recovered an got a lot of voice improvements from CVT.

I didn't recover, but when it comes to mechanically being able to navigate my voice from point A to Point B on a purely technical level I feel more confident than prior to my throat problems. I don't feel like I've forgotten anything, and even when I got on some meds to ease the spasticity, in my opinion, strictly on basis of getting from point A to B, singing is easier.

I hope it's anxiety. But I also really think you should listen to Felipe closely in this thread. I'm coming from the standpoint of a problem I couldn't fix. I can just be laying in bed, half asleep, and suddenly be in the worst agony. Doing absolutely nothing to provoke it. It can last for hours. Days.

But Felipe, his points here. What are you doing. For real? How closely are you being trained? Is someone actually there to directly hear you and work with you? Having someone send you tapes from time to time isn't really equivalent to hands on. Personally, I think if you can get some good hands on. You'd be less likely to end up in my position one day. Your voice is an important thing. It's my opinion if people aren't really having problems, just enjoying themselves singing. Maybe they aren't theoretically perfect. Who am I to say go get lessons.

But if you're really struggling. Hands on help sounds pretty reasonable.

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If the natural ways doesn't work, I'll put my life into the hands of the doctors, hehe. I'd generally dont want to touch that anti depressing drugs, but that I say because I don't know enough about the stuff.

They are a means to and end, just like any other medication. Don't buy into the whole "it's nothing wrong with you since I can't see what's wrong with you"-macho attitude. Depression is real and can be treated. Now, I'm not saying you ARE depressed, just saying if there is any chance you are it's worth checking out as fast as possible. You are not condemned to live with it, there are things to be done :)

As I said, I know of these things through people close to me, it's not fun at all if it gets out of hand...

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If the anxiety is caused by physical conditions ( Unemployement, not enough money to pay bills, inlaws don't like you, How can i spend time training for singing when my boss didn't give me my check and the bills are due.....) then taking pills won't help. It can cause more of a problem. Those things are life taking place.

If you are giving yourselfself anxiety because yesterday you could sing a C5 or higher and today you can only sing to A4 don't beat yourself up over it. That will only make you constrict more. Same thing if you are not making as much improvement this week as you did last week. We all hit platoes.

Pills can cause more problems than they help sometimes.

I am not a doctor but they call it a practice for a reason.

It's luckily not one of those. I feel pretty good overall and is satisfied with my life - when I'm not anxious.

I actually think it's something I've had my whole life. The puzzles are coming together.

1. My old doctor (5+ years ago) told me it might be this, when I explained her I always felt a tight stomach and stuff like that.

2. The throat doctors I've been speaking to has said it was anxiety (didn't quite believe them, but they slowly began to made me think it was a possiblity)

3. A therapist has said it's anxiety

4. The doctors has never been able to find something physically wrong with my body.

I once beat my self up when I couldn't do what I did the day before, but not any more. This is another sensation.

I mean, it feels different from when I just had bad technique and couldn't recreate those few lucky notes I made the day before.

This was for the four weeks very easy to do and it felt very controlled.

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Most of my family suffers from depression. It's a very complicated issue. We get our identity from our personality and drugs have a price cause they change who we are. Some of us are heavily medicated, others are not. And unfortunately no one stopped being depressed, but I think it varies a lot in success rate.

That's not to discourage or play macho games. Rofleren, you gotta do something. Your voice is too important. Lots of ideas discussed in this thread are valid. It doesn't mean any one of them is the right one, some could be.

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It's luckily not one of those. I feel pretty good overall and is satisfied with my life - when I'm not anxious.

I actually think it's something I've had my whole life. The puzzles are coming together.

1. My old doctor (5+ years ago) told me it might be this, when I explained her I always felt a tight stomach and stuff like that.

2. The throat doctors I've been speaking to has said it was anxiety (didn't quite believe them, but they slowly began to made me think it was a possiblity)

3. A therapist has said it's anxiety

4. The doctors has never been able to find something physically wrong with my body.

I once beat my self up when I couldn't do what I did the day before, but not any more. This is another sensation.

I mean, it feels different from when I just had bad technique and couldn't recreate those few lucky notes I made the day before.

This was for the four weeks very easy to do and it felt very controlled.

There are herbs that are good for anxiety. St. Johns wart is one. Meditation helps. My own opinion is that over the counter drugs cause more problems than they solve. Just reading the side effects give me anxiety.

My own anxiety comes from the things I stated in my earlier post.

I hope you can find the help you need. I really enjoyed listening to the songs that you posted before and I hope to hear more of them.

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I trust my current teacher very much. He's awesome! Best teacher I've ever had. He really takes time with me.

But yes, when I didn't have the overall pressure on my body it was no problem to ease into the high notes. I just can not do it when I have anxiety. It feels like my body is just in constant over-"curbing" / holding back.

...

...

But Felipe, his points here. What are you doing. For real? How closely are you being trained? Is someone actually there to directly hear you and work with you? Having someone send you tapes from time to time isn't really equivalent to hands on. Personally, I think if you can get some good hands on. You'd be less likely to end up in my position one day. Your voice is an important thing. It's my opinion if people aren't really having problems, just enjoying themselves singing. Maybe they aren't theoretically perfect. Who am I to say go get lessons.

But if you're really struggling. Hands on help sounds pretty reasonable.

I'm pretty sure it's anxiety. I feel like I never can relax and when I try it's hard to breathe. (Which shouldnt be like that)

I have a HD webcam and a 1200 dollar microphone so my teacher can hear and see me well on skype.

btw. how is your voice now? Can you sing at all atm?

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When I feel down about me inability to vocalize, I sometimes watch my first and only performance ever and most of the time it's nice to hear and see that I CAN sing.

My favorite clip. Posted this on the forums too many times. Haha.

Edit: Guys, thank you for your help and inputs!

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I'm pretty sure it's anxiety. I feel like I never can relax and when I try it's hard to breathe. (Which shouldnt be like that)

I have a HD webcam and a 1200 dollar microphone so my teacher can hear and see me well on skype.

btw. how are your voice now? Can you sing at all atm?

I recently got on muscle relaxers and managed to sing some here:

Still painful but it's something. Off them, it's too painful and goes into spasms too much.

I've got a few simple questions about your situation:

1. Is it painful (could be more serious)

2. Is it more like why isn't this doing what I want? (sounds like technique or stress)

3. Does it ever go away? (if it does, could be neurological, technique/stress)

Now if you really think it's anxiety, I'd actually recommend you look into trying anxiety meds maybe briefly just to test this theory. Say a couple of months. See if it works. If it doesn't work you could come off them probably quickly. Whatever change it would do to your brain chemistry, would probably be less costly than the potential it might help if this is the problem and it would ease your mind as well.

There's a philosophy in medicine to try to the least intrusive possibilities first and work your way up. Don't start with surgery. Don't start with X. The meds could probably allow you to test the theory. And you know what, if they absolutely don't work then maybe your doctors are wrong and you can tell them flat out. "It's not anxiety. I treated that and it didn't go away."

But if you think that's possible, dude, it might be the best thing you can do. Cause otherwise you'll be sitting there wondering. Is this the problem? What is the problem?

I'm convinced it's not my problem. But even so I'm going to see if I can manage it all the same. I know it doesn't help.

_______________________________________

Edit: I'm probably taking off again to focus on my health so I'm going to take down my singing links for the time being, glad you appreciated it Rofleren. I hope you get better.

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Well man, Mivke advice is quite solid. Also there are some relaxation exercises, very nice ones that maybe could help you. Explain your sensations of hold to your coach, Im sure he knows quite a bunch.

Circular breathing and others involving control of breathing, with focus on relaxation are great, and they feel very nice.

Could provide you a relief. Exercising while having to deal with this kind of sensation is not good...

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Killer @ Wow, I thought you couldn't sing at all anymore. How do you vibrate so fast, wow. Sounds cool.

1. Is it painful (could be more serious)

There's not really any vocal pain. There's an overall tightness and inability to relax in my body.

2. Is it more like why isn't this doing what I want? (sounds like technique or stress)

It's frustrating me not to do what I know I could do, if the anxiety wasnt there.

3. Does it ever go away? (if it does, could be neurological, technique/stress)

Yes. Sometimes in periods, but it's rare that it's all gone. It was all gone the last four weeks. Felt amazing. I felt so free in my body. But all of a sudden, with no warning it can come back.

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In one of the books that I'm reading by my voice teacher who was coached by Vendera it says in the book... every note should come from a moment of inner happiness. Seems like some BS... but I think about a moment that makes me happy along with the note itself and... boom. Tension free and just how I imagined it..

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Certain foods can also cause anxiety type problems. Caffine is one. have you noticed a corrolation with any food or drink before you experience your problem?

Nope, not really tbh. I never drink coffee and I live relatively healthy.

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Killer @ Wow, I thought you couldn't sing at all anymore. How do you vibrate so fast, wow. Sounds cool.

I couldn't sing basically at all for like 4 years. I could get painful, thin, weak/off on my absolute best days when it was least spastic. Those days, would be like once every 6 months. Foor me, meds gave me some back for like the month I was taking them. And on a daily basis, I could sing again, better than I had in the entire prior 4 years on the best days.

And while they only partially address the problem they proved it was a neuro muscular problem. The muscles are still spastic, just less so that I could use my full voice again, with limited endurance and pain.

That's what I'm getting at. If anxiety meds could basically get you somewhere. If that's the problem. If I have a spasticity problem. And you have an anxiety problem. We can both get somewhere.

Me, I'm going to try to go back to speech therapy, on meds. I don't really think it's a technique problem. Gonna go see a neurologist. Gonna try to treat my anxiety for whatever that adds to the problem. Gonna, try a bunch of stuff now that it's at least more possible to make my voice work 'more.'

And if all yours is, is anxiety. We both love singing. I'm wiling to fight a lot of pain to sing if I have to. But you might not even have to. If that's it. So think about it.

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Update: I am going to have 10 hours of coaching (yoga, mindfulness and conversations) beginning on monday. Yay. And of course it's free - I live in Denmark. Yay!

Killer, I hope that we both get what we want, so we can achieve our goals :)

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