My friend Emma recently pointed out to me that as singers, we are so vulnerable to any change in our bodies. I remarked that absolutely every singer has at least one thing that causes them trouble. For me it’s my sinuses and throat. For someone else it might be athsma or tension or old muscle injuries. Every one has one thing.

I think this breeds some paranoia. If we know that the tiniest thing going wrong can ruin us, we start to worry about it until we have to be talked down.

Right now I’m convinced I have laryngitis. Just because I feel like I’ve had a lump in my throat for about two weeks. “Laryngitis?!” I hear you cry. “Isn’t that a SLIGHT over-reaction?”

WELL NO. I’m just a leetle bit worried that my throat is doing anything out of the ordinary four weeks before my deluge of rehearsals, concerts and auditions begin. You expect me not to freak out?! Well then you need to send me some singing and ear-nose-throat specialists STAT because that is the only thing that will calm me down.

As it stands I’m drinking buckets of the above “Yogi Throat Comfort Tea.” Today I had to replenish my stock and buy two new boxes. I’m sipping it as I type. I’m convinced that if I drink enough of it, the mysterious larynx lump will go away and I’ll be able to reach that C6 with ease and grace. A girl can dream.

Today I mentally started writing letters to anyone who might be able to figure out what this weird feeling is.

If it were laryngitis, it would hurt right?

Gah! It’s so frustrating! I’m not hoarse and my singing’s not impaired but I haven’t practiced any of my songs since Wednesday because I’m PARANOID that maybe I’ve inflicted some terrible irreversible injury on myself, of developed vocal nodules/nodes. Nooooo! A singer’s worst nightmare! Let’s not even go there!

Right, I’m going to make another cup of throat comfort and go to bed with my programme from the Wexford Opera Festival. Hopefully when I wake up I’ll be a bit more rational. Or maybe I’ll actually start writing those letters.

Goodnight. xxx

2 thoughts on “Paranoia

  1. Hey Amy!Its MaryBeth. I know how you're feeling. I know how it feels to be taught "over-thinking it makes it worse" but not being able to shake off over thinking it.Having the primary tool of your work broken is entirely crappy for ANY job. For someone whose BODY is their primary work tool, there is a whole extra level involved: the mind.As humans in this crazy world, it is easier to think ourselves into non-existent problems than it is to think ourselves out of real ones.The real physical evidence problem you have here is "consistent lump in your throat". Research the physical evidence to the best of your ability and means, understand what the sensation from your body is trying to tell your mind. Throw away every irrational conclusion you've come to and if you MUST draw conclusions, use your research and not your feelings.As performers, we rely heavily on our ability of our minds and our bodies communicating openly. If you cloud your mind's end of the communication with "what ifs" the body may never be properly listened to.And as a singer, you know better than most that any extra tension held in unnecessary places is dangerous.So it will help your body to destress your mind and vice versa. You gotta let it go. Let go "what could this mean" and let yourself get distracted. Try singing your pieces not "full-out", just "go through the motions". Sometimes I find that if I "go through the motions" in a wimpy non-technique sort of way, I then WANT to do it "right". If I can want to do it "RIGHT" more than I can think about the physical problem I over-dramatized to myself…then the physical problem wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.I can't really afford doctors, so I have to exhaust a thousand possibilities before I invest in one. And I HAD nodules when I was in college for theatre performance and I know the difference between "pushing it too hard" and it being disastrous and "FEAR of pushing it TOO hard" which is just as bad.The tea is good! Acknowledging your paranoia is even better! Best option: allow yourself to let go all irrationality.Whenever there is something wrong with me, before I stress out about the roads the problem COULD lead me down, I glance at what paths lead me to the current moment. In the current moment, I try to let every expectation and stress fade and then I try to access what REALLY hurts. It is usually nothing. And when it is REALLY something, then that is when I start exhausting google searches and saving $ for a doctor.I hope this helps! You are very talented and I miss you!!! I've been in your "stressed for a reason that i think MIGHT be valid" shoes before. More times for more reasons than I'd like to admit 😉 (ask Zoe, a couple of weeks ago I was crying in her arms, positive I might have AIDS because I lost a lot of weight without noticing. Turns out it was just a change in diet due to being suddenly poorer! Imagine that!)<3

  2. Ahhh, yess! I also refuse to dole out €50 to have a doctor tell me either a) there's nothing wrong with me or b) I have a throat infection but I don't have to take antibiotics if I don't want to. Been there, done that to death.I'm fairly certain now that it could be a mild case of laryngitis because since yesterday I've been feeling increasingly crap. So I'm going to learn the songs and so my vocal exercises but keep my mouth shut most of the time :)My technique is good enough that I don't have to push my voice or strain, thank gawd!! I'm going to do what you said and go through the motions without singing for a few days 🙂 Also going to douse myself in tea, herbal lozenges and herbal concoctions!!! ❤

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