I have always hated doing things in front of people, but the irony is that I grew up studying music and being in choirs and performing in front of people. I did alright in high school, I play the piano and guitar and was even in a band and sang solos, but when I went to college, I was in music and I started having panic attacks and serious anxiety about it to the point that I could no longer participate in any of these things. I do have talent and could probably have a career or at least a fulfilling hobby using my musical abilities, but I cannot do it in front of others. I feel like a part of me is missing because I allow myself to never use those abilities because of the fear of having the anxiety issues over it again. All I'd like to do is be able to participate in a church Christmas program, maybe sing with someone or join a local choir. Nothing big, but I've tried in the past and immediately those feelings come back. Has anyone had experience with a similar thing? I've ignored my musical interests for at least the past 5 years and when I think about how I've let the fear destroy that part of me, I have a huge feeling of guilt and regret about it. I'd like to share music with my children and I really wish it could be part of my life.
Not me, but my sweet husband. He had major issues speaking in front of others (going back to being forced to read out loud at school, being bad at it, and being laughed at). His job requires giving presentations in front of others. He was having panic attacks when he had to present.
He has used cognitive behavior techniques to make peace with this. I recommend working with a therapist. It's worth it.
He recently gave an hour long presentation in front of 250 people. He didn't enjoy it, but he didn't have a panic attack!
It's worth the time and expensive to take control of you life and LIVE your dreams! Really live. Live the life you were meant to!
but everything has pros and cons
I don't have much stage fright anymore, I think in part because of my age, and in part because maybe I just don't care. I think some stage fright is normal, I always get a bit nervous when I have to perform. I played the viola when I was younger, and I got used to playing in front of people. I'm not sure I ever really liked it. But I would never sing in front of people. I'd even sing really quietly at church, trying to site read the alto line when I was trying to become better at site reading. A friend would encourage me to keep singing the harmony, but I hated for other people to hear my singing voice.
I would sing in groups with people eventually, and that was fun. Then I learned about karaoke, a part of me found the idea intensely interesting, but I couldn't imagine who would have the courage to do that. Eventually I started doing it, and the first few times I was so nervous I thought I'd pass out or something. And then it stopped having that effect the more I did it, which actually made me realize that part of the reason I was doing it was because I liked the sensation of being so nervous, and then getting relief. But I just stopped caring what other people thought because I realized how utterly bad some people are, yet people will still tell them they are good. Maybe I just stopped thinking it mattered.
So now I do sing solos in choirs, I've sung solos in my choir and I've sung at funerals. There are people in my church choir who can sing well, but absolutely refuse to try out for solos. They just don't want to sing alone. But your situation sounds worse since you won't even sing in a group with others, and you have panic attacks. Do you sing in front of your children? I don't sing in front of my husband very often because I feel like he won't like my voice. At church, though, it seems like whatever you do, people will find something nice to say. Oh well, I don't have any advice, but therapy sounds like a good idea to help you with the panic attacks. Good luck!
Thanks for your thoughts! I only have 1 baby girl so far, and I do sing with her all the time but I hope to have more children and I don't want my fears to influence them negatively. I don't mind singing in front of my husband. He doesn't understand music at all so he wouldn't know if someone could sing or not :)
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