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Offline AltoidsAndTabloids

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Performance anxiety and appetite
« on: February 17, 2014, 04:22:27 PM »
Hello everyone.

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.

Thanks.
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Offline So worried

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Re: Performance anxiety and appetite
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 10:09:01 AM »
I wouldn't worry about eating it's not like you're going a couple of days without eating leading up to a gig! I would just do the gig and get something really nice to eat after it when I have calmed down. If it's really playing on you're mind and you want to have something to keep you're energy levels up why not try a  complan drink! :)
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Offline AltoidsAndTabloids

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Re: Performance anxiety and appetite
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 04:17:46 PM »
Thanks for the reply, So worried.

My main issue with not eating at all is that the combination of an empty stomach and being fearful makes me feel faint. This is the last thing I need, because then I start to get anxious about fainting while I'm performing, which of course makes things worse. You can probably tell how much of an over-thinker I am.

I suppose I can try to find some sort of protein shake-type thing that I like. Maybe I can try one a few times on non-performance days to make sure they don't make me sick. That way if I have one before a gig, I can feel a little more confident that it won't give me digestion issues.

Does anyone know of any sure-fire "safe" foods? I've heard of the "BRAT" diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast). Basically foods that have the least chance of giving me digestion issues. Maybe if I stick with those types of foods before a gig, I'll be okay?
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"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."
-Lao Tzu

Offline So worried

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Re: Performance anxiety and appetite
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 04:30:54 PM »
I suffered with social Anxiety a while back and main fear was the hair dressers lol I would over think everything to about me fainting, throwing up, loads, In the end I went to doctors and they put me on a anti depressant and beta blockers and it took all the anxious feeling away so in the end I was able to move on. Maybe try that! :)
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