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Author Topic: Beta blockers for stagefright  (Read 1357 times)

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Offline darryaz

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Beta blockers for stagefright
« on: June 26, 2013, 10:06:45 AM »
Many years ago I was a professional symphony musician.  I left that field completely in order to make "real money" working with computers.

Now that I'm on disability I decided to take music back up on a minimal part-time basis just as a fun hobby.  I managed to get a part-time job substituting with one of the local professional orchestras.

I'm noticing that I have terrible stagefright symptoms...... especially sweaty palms and dry mouth (not good when you play a wind instrument)

I remember years ago a colleague recommended getting a prescription for Inderal to fight the stagefright symptoms.  At the time I had the opinion that the fewer medications a person takes the better so I never addressed it with my doctor.  Well, HIV has changed that outlook a bit so now I'm wondering if taking an Inderal before performances might be a good idea.  (I've looked it up and there are no interaction problems with any of the medications I take).

I'm wondering if anyone on the Forum does any kind of performance (music, acting, public speaking, etc.) where they deal with stagefright.  And if you have any other ideas for dealing with it (especially those that don't involve medications) I'd love to hear about them.

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 08:15:23 PM »
Darryaz;

Yes, I do quite a bit of public speaking and meeting facilitation (with groups/people that I have not met previously), and have dealt with significant "stage fright".  My situation is not musical performance, but here are a few things that I have done to help deal with stage fright/performance anxiety:

1. Exercise:  I used to go for a long run as close to before the presentation as possible.  It seemed that the extra oxygen and the endorphins really, really helped.  This is by far my best approach -- however, it can be difficult to schedule.  A few funny stories are that once in SF, I went for a run close to when I had to leave for the presentation, got about 2 miles out and twisted my ankle.  I had no cab fare, had to run back on a very hurt ankle, but the session went well.  Another time in Vancouver I went running in a large park, got lost, and almost missed my presentation.

2. Visualization Tricks:  This may seem a little odd - but I have been so frightened that I knew that I had to change my mental frame of mind and had to sitting in the room at that instant.  One visualization technique is to envision that my body, my presence, extends to every square inch of the room, filling every nook and cranny in the room -- this seems to build the ego (almost too much).  I don't know why, but it has worked for me. Another visualization trick I have used is to envision that my father's or grandfather's spirits (who both have been passed away quite some time) are in the room as support. Connecting to ancestors can be very powerful and calming.

3. Over prepare: I will plan a presentation down to the knat's eyelash, write out what I am going to say (several times), pre-record my presentation and listen back to it over and over and over.... you get the idea.

My recommendation is to identify what calms you down regardless of performance, and try to use whatever that is if you can.

I wish you well with it,
JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD

Offline darryaz

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Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 08:21:40 PM »
Thanks JM.  I like all of your suggestions better than adding YET ANOTHER pill to the list.

No. 1 might be a little challenging since playing a wind instrument IS exercise and I may need the energy for the performance.  But 2 and 3 are definitely ideas I can use any time   :D

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 08:43:09 PM »
you wont get hurt or lost with 2 and 3 either
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD

Offline WillyWump

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Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 08:47:33 PM »
Yes Over prepare. Like Jmarks I have never had to perform in front of people but In my previous occupation I would have to give monthly presentations to large groups of 100 or so people. I would rehearse and go through the entire presentation several times to where I felt like I could do it in my sleep, It might take me 2 or 3 days to do this but for some reason its an amazing confidence booster knowing that you "know your shit"

I actually took Inderal for a college presentation once, and it made me not as sharp as I could have been, I was rather flat and I think I still got tripped up.

Congrats on going back to your music, hope you do well! sounds exciting

-WIll

POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%
8/9/12, CD4 not taken, UD.
2/13/12, CD4- 904, UD 42%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 09:08:38 PM »
I forgot to include a congratulations in my first message -- Willy reminded me -- it is great that you are getting back to your music, which has to feel good.

One other trick that I have tried to use, but is a little dangerous, is to try not to care so much.  I heard someone once comment on a musician that "it sounds like he only plays for god and himself" -- there is something freeing in not caring what others think and yet still trying to do your best for a higher power.

I never knew there were drugs for stage fright -- there is no question that I would have tried them.

JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 07:27:13 AM »
Hey Darry, it's great to hear you're getting back to doing something you love.

What instrument?

I play a little guitar and have always wanted to learn violin (influenced by Jean Luc Ponty) or flute (influenced by Ian Anderson) - or both. :)
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Offline darryaz

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Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2013, 01:00:39 PM »

Offline Hellraiser

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Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2013, 03:36:18 PM »
The oboe.



A fellow double reed player, I was a bassoonist in high school, although I'm sure nowhere near as skilled as you are.

Offline WillyWump

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Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2013, 03:45:35 PM »
A fellow double reed player, I was a bassoonist in high school,

and now you are relegated to just playing the Skin Flute
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%
8/9/12, CD4 not taken, UD.
2/13/12, CD4- 904, UD 42%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline darryaz

  • Member
  • Posts: 450
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2013, 04:06:35 PM »
and now you are relegated to just playing the Skin Flute
Wow, this thread just took an interesting turn, didn't it?

Offline darryaz

  • Member
  • Posts: 450
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2013, 04:07:16 PM »
A fellow double reed player, I was a bassoonist in high school, although I'm sure nowhere near as skilled as you are.
I had a huge crush on a cute bassoonist in grad school.

EDIT:  That was 20+ years ago and I recently ran into him on Facebook.  He ain't cute any more.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 04:14:52 PM by darryaz »

Offline Jmarksto

  • Member
  • Posts: 388
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2013, 04:14:06 PM »
and now you are relegated to just playing the Skin Flute

Leave it to the musically un-inclined to lower the bar in the discussion....  I understand that Willy doesn't play an instrument, he just likes putting tulips on the organ.
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD

Offline darryaz

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  • Posts: 450
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2013, 04:16:11 PM »
All of us band geeks are more than accustomed to that kind of comments.

Offline darryaz

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  • Posts: 450
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2013, 04:35:24 PM »
"it sounds like he only plays for god and himself"

That's the eternal challenge.  To make wickedly difficult things sound to the audience as if they are effortless.

Offline OneTampa

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  • "Butterflies are free."
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2013, 08:44:50 PM »
This is an interesting thread. 

I've done presentations for small and large groups upwards to 250.

In my younger days I was a disco club dancer and instructor. It was so funny trying to teach those who were "body rhythmically movement challenged". I had a lot of fun though.  :D

Recently I've ventured into doing a few stand up routines here and there. Of course, folks can be brutal but I have been lucky (and apparently funny) so far.  ;)

I work at overcoming the nervousness with visualizing the upbeat.  I also focus on the people who have pleasant expressions on their faces.  It gives me encouraging feedback.
"He is my oldest child. The shy and retiring one over there with the Haitian headdress serving pescaíto frito."

Offline Hellraiser

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  • Semi-misanthropic
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2013, 06:08:03 PM »
and now you are relegated to just playing the Skin Flute

on that I am a virtuoso

Offline BT65

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  • Diagnosed + 1989
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2013, 06:56:54 AM »
Back in the early 90's, one of my doctors prescribed Inderal (beta blocker) for panic attacks.  So apparently this has been the practice of some doctors for years.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline darryaz

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  • Posts: 450
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2013, 09:26:51 AM »
Back in the early 90's, one of my doctors prescribed Inderal (beta blocker) for panic attacks.  So apparently this has been the practice of some doctors for years.

I think it was a pretty popular drug in those days.  In the late 80's my M-I-L had some very serious mental health problems (schizophrenia) and I remember she took it (didn't seem to help).  That was one reason I refused to take it.

Offline GSOgymrat

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  • HIV+ since 1993. INTJ
Re: Beta blockers for stagefright
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2013, 12:45:43 PM »
I have experienced social anxiety/stage fright most of my life. I have a condition called familial tremor, where my hands shake. Normally the tremors are not that noticeable but when I am fatigued, cold or stressed I can get so tremulous I can barely sign my name. I have never like being the center of attention and when in front of a group I would become anxious, which made me tremulous, which made me more anxious, which made me more tremulous, etc. until I was a quivering mess. Piano recitals as a child were a nightmare.

In therapy I learned more about how my body and thoughts created this cycle, practiced relaxation techniques, addressed irrational thoughts of perfection and being judged, etc. I put all this to the test when I agreed to participate in a bodybuilding competition several years ago. This experience packaged my anxieties into one terrifying experience-- standing on a stage with essentially no clothes on, exposing my lipoatrophy, having judges critique my body while I tried to hold flexed poses, which triggers my tremors. My doctor prescribed Inderal but I chose not to take it because I wanted to try to deal with my anxiety without medication. Fortunately I was able to complete the competition without my anxiety getting out of control. Now when I have to stand in front of a crowd I just remind myself that at least I have my clothes on.

 


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