It’s weird having grown up with music being the focal point of Christmas for me and then not playing or singing at Christmas time. I didn’t have a ‘this is my last concert’ moment in any shape or form. I stuck it out for as long as I could. But the turning point was at a band rehearsal one Wednesday where I cried because I realised I was going to have to go to a&e because playing for a mere 10 minutes made me ill and I couldn’t keep doing it anymore. And that was it. It kind of just hit me at that moment and I’ve not played or sung with other people since.
I tried a bit at home for a while but it was really frustrating not being able to play for more than a few minutes at a time and being really, really bad at it. I would probably be better off learning a new instrument from scratch rather than trying to play one I already know how to play. Sometimes I play piano- if I play from muscle memory, I can still play most things except it physically hurts so I choose not to.
I’m not looking for people to help me solve the problem, I’m actually ok with the fact I can’t play or sing. Any form of playing causes me a lot of pain. I’m in constant pain anyway, and don’t have much more in terms of pain relief I can take, but playing/singing makes my diaphragm lock up so it gets so tight it makes it hard to breathe. Which then makes my rib cage lock up, which makes my back and ribs spasm, again making it hard to breathe. Bits of your neck are joined to your diaphragm, which means I get jaw pain and headache/migraines. I get all those pains just from talking too much and have to see a chiropractor twice a week as it is, so playing makes it a million times worse! The other thing with playing, even the piano, is physical movement hurts my joints but also having to hold yourself in a set position is something I really can’t manage for more than about 30 seconds.
So I’m ok with not playing because the level of pain involved usually involves IV HC and morphine of some description, which means Hospital. And it seems stupid to do something that makes me feel that ill when it could also potentially kill me.
This is the first year I haven’t felt like there’s a huge hole at Christmas. I’ve been getting much more out of being a spectator at concerts and listening to music than I ever did before- I still enjoy music and appreciate it in a different way, I’ve been feeling like that for a couple of years. But this is the first Christmas where I haven’t felt like a huge bit of me is missing. Music was the biggest thing in my life for 25 years- people feel sad for years at Christmas time about relationships which don’t even last that long- so it obviously still feels strange to not be involved in the Christmas preparations, but I don’t feel sad about it this year for the first time. And it’s only been 3 years, so that’s quite good going!
I’d love to play again if I’m able to- I miss the community feel, the feeling you get when you play, the challenge, the beautiful pieces… But for now I’m happy to listen and watch and appreciate the fact that if I do go back to playing, I’ll at least see everything differently and from a new perspective.