I have several anxiety issues, one of which is a clear-cut case of performance anxiety. I'm a musician, and I feel very confident in myself when I play alone, but when I get on any sort of stage my confidence collapses. My voice becomes shaky and my head is so wrapped up on trying not to "screw up" that I forget chords and lyrics to my own songs. That's an issue that I'm trying to improve, but this post is more about what happens BEFORE performances.
If I have a gig coming up, I usually feel okay for the days leading up to it. On the day of the gig, I'll be a little nervous, but I can usually calm myself down. Once it gets to 2-3 hours before the gig, however, I'm a nervous wreck. I can't stop shaking my legs, and I get that "fight or flight" feeling of impending doom. During this time, my appetite disappears completely no matter how hungry I really am. The thought of eating food only makes me more nervous. I'll think things like, "what if I get food poisoning and vomit while I'm on stage?" Logically I know I SHOULD be hungry, so I try to force myself to eat SOMETHING, but it seems like anything I attempt to eat makes me start to feel nauseous, so it usually ends up being half a banana or something.
My question is, what should I do in these situations? Should I just force myself to eat? I really don't think so. I have a history of vomiting from psyching myself out too much. Should I just not eat anything and deal with it after I perform? That seems like the wrong way out.
I'm assuming that if I can deal with the general anxiety before a performance, my appetite will fix itself. Anyone here have any tips? I try to control my breathing, but it doesn't seem to be enough.