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I Just Want To Perform Again...

dance cataplexy desire lost performances opera college theatre music acting

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#1 CreativeConfusion



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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:19 AM

I used to be a full time college student with a major in theatre and a minor in music. I grew up on dance and music as if it were my bread and butter. I started ballet when I was 3 years old, but had to quit after an injury in high school. I still loved ballet though, even if my pointe shoes didn't love me anymore. When I was diagnosed with N, we were in the middle of an opera production at my college. I had a small, unnamed part, but it was a step above the chorus, and that was wonderful for a music minor, plus I had two, short ballet solos in the production, and I was costuming the entire show. I was so excited I could barely stand it, despite the stress. It was going to be my first full opera production, and it was going to be my first time performing ballet in ages, not to mention my first time costuming an entire show on my own. I had been very open with my director with the process of my diagnosis and all of my symptoms, and perhaps that was my ultimate mistake. 4 days before the show was supposed to go up I was very ill, but I still managed to make it to rehearsal, and to get through it, despite the fact that I collapsed (cataplexy) backstage (not on stage, backstage) twice. The next day I was informed that I was being removed from the production. I got pulled 3 days before the show opened because my cataplexy made it unsafe for me to be on stage, I was told. 


After that experience, I'm scared to death to even try anymore. I had to leave school and move back in with my parents. I haven't even sang in the shower since I came home. Part of me wonders if they were right, if my cataplexy is too great of a risk, even if it is pretty well controlled. If I can be pulled from a production 3 days before it goes up, how can I ever be sure that I will really get to perform at all? I was a really good actor. I never even used to get stage fright. I can throw any emotion on my face and no one would know the difference, but I can't just cover if the real me is actually nervous or if I get into the scene too much and I just drop to the ground on stage. How do you act your way out of that one? "I'm so angry! I hate you! *splat!* See how angry I am!? I'm lying on the ground instead of punching you in the face like I'm supposed to!" I guess what I'm trying to say is I really don't know how to deal with this. If there are any other performers out there who have figured out how to deal with this, I would really love to hear from you...

#2 CataChris



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Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:38 AM

Wow, I'm dealing with a similar but very different issue at my university. I suffer from Cataplexy (full body paralysis + ragdoll) but no Narcolepsy and I study Geology which entail a lot of fieldwork but at the beginning of this year I was told I'm being removed from all fieldwork due to when I had a C episode and was millimetres from smashing my head of a boulder and possibly falling of a cliff!!! Thankfully I have a very good support system with my best friends and they do anything to keep me safe even if I don't like it and I also have the full support of my lecturers but health and safety times me up. I should also mention that I've recently lost my job because of this condition as well.


I've found the best way to deal with these barriers that are placed before me is to smash right through them and just prove to everyone that I can do these things, and this is how I've gained the support of everyone who knows me and my condition.


So my advice to you would be start performing again in anywhere you can get, be fully honest with the people you work with, if they don't want you to perform or work then quite frankly you shouldn't work with them. And keep doing it until you feel more than confident to do anything because you CAN. Don;t let this condition define how you live your life but be realistic with it as well.


Hope this helps



#3 Hank



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Posted 22 November 2013 - 04:04 PM

In all honesty- keep your love of dance and performance- and make it an avocation- a hobby that you are passionate about.


Don't stop enjoying what you love, but adapt it into a sustainable life and profession. Like a professional athlete who has a bad knee.


I do not want to be a downer but the arts are a difficult and competitive environment. It will be important for your future to build a life you can sustain.


For example, if you became a teacher you could have a long future of instilling your passion into children and watching them develop as artists. You could do community theatre for your own pleasure without relying upon it to pay the bills.


As PWN, we will always be square pegs in a round hole to some degree or another in many professions- we have a chronic illness to manage. The closer to a natural fit that you can find, the happier you will be long term.


Use your passion, perseverance and enthusiasm to propel you forward, rather than just getting a leg up. The fact is that this illness is not fair. Try to direct your life in a way that minimized the unfairness and maximized your happiness.


This is just my opinion.

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