Sometimes, it isn’t just in your head.

A recurring theme in my blog is the fact that sometimes, I have a hard time focusing.  For years, my focus during rehearsal and classes, lessons and practice sessions has gone down.  I thought it had something to do with me.  I thought maybe I was just burnt out, or that I didn’t love music anymore.  I thought maybe I was becoming lazy, or that in the back of my mind I was telling myself I couldn’t actually do this.

My focus was so bad, that I failed a class this summer, because I couldn’t focus on any task.  I was so tired by 11 am that I would doze in class, and take 3 hour naps in the afternoon.  I was constantly hungry.  I couldn’t make reeds for longer than 20 minutes, and practicing was an exercise in futility.

I knew I wasn’t depressed…..I know what that feels like.  There was something wrong with me though, and I thought maybe it was psychological.

Then my mother went to the doctor.  For the first time in years she has health care, and she decided to get a full work up. In the process of her full work up (including some slightly unpleasant procedures), they found out that she had a rare hereditary disease known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome.  I’m not going to go into why it’s bad for you (you can google it, if you so desire), but it makes you iron deficient, and vitamin D deficient (among other things).  This was good news for me, because I have the disease also!  It’s not like I’m super happy to have a disease or anything, but I started taking daily vitamins (with iron in them) and vitamin D, as the doctor had prescribed to my mother.  (Disclaimer: I know not to take advice from someone else’s doctor, and I know I need to go to the doctor at some point myself, but hey….what could a few vitamins hurt?)

I feel 1 Million times better!  It’s only been a few weeks since we found out, and about 2.5 weeks since I started taking the vitamins, but I can focus!  I’m not tired, and I can make it through a whole class without losing interest.  I’m actually interested!  I’m interested in the bassoon and my music.  For the first time in what feels like years, I have a concerted interest in my recital, and I don’t feel like I’m fighting against my own body to make things work.

This is a cry to everyone, but especially musicians:  If you feel like something is wrong…..emotionally, physically, mentally…..it doesn’t matter, DO SOMETHING about it. DON’T listen to all the people around you telling you it’s just in your head.  It’s not.  It’s real, and it can change your career, and your life.  For the first time in a very long time, I feel like I can make my career and my life happen.  For the first time in a very long time, I feel like myself.  

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