Author Topic: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?  (Read 1531 times)

[Buddie]

Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« on: April 14, 2014, 06:26:51 pm »
I'm new to the forum and just introduced myself in the introductions area. I'm a musician and have been a drummer for over 40 years plus I always tinkered on guitar. I decided to pick up my guitar and seriously start learning how to play better about 3 years ago. It's a great outlet for relaxation because it takes me worlds away from my w/d problems.

Lately what's been happening is my coordination seems to be taking a hit. The stuff I was doing with my left hand fingering on the fretboard a year ago is hard to do right now, like finger diarrhea. Sometimes my left ring and pinky fingers seem to get confused and have a mind of their own, like a general clumsiness. Also noticing it in my right foot on the drums (I normally have a lightning fast foot and only play a single kick). My right foot gets sore and tires much more quickly and I'll get an extra beat in (or miss one) every now and again.

Also noticing a weakness in my arms/hands, especially with my right strumming hand on guitar, not as much power as I had a few months ago and tiring easily. Some nights are good, some are bad. I know that coordination problems are one of the side effects of w/d from what I've read. Almost like the brain fog travels right down into my fingers and the brain to finger thing isn't connecting quite as 'sharp' as it was last year. Especially with the cut back to 1.75 mg of clonazepam I made on February 20th. Has anyone else encountered this? Interestingly, I also notice that my typing skills on the computer are real sloppy lately. Must all be related somewhow, yet I can can count down from 100 to 0 in increments of 7 without a mistake, brain still functioning at least  :)
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[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 06:41:19 pm »
Hey there, first off welcome to the forum my friend, you've come to the right place for support while withdrawing from this crap.

As you can see from my name I'm a guitarist. I've been playing for over 30 years, I started very, very young you see  ;)
There's a few other buddies here who are musicians as well, this is a creative bunch of people as a whole in fact.
I used to play professionally in my 20s and 30s, then I stopped because the lifestyle didn't suit me anymore, if you know what I mean.

Until a few months ago I went through a period of apathy when it came to music, I would rarely play, when I did I just exercised a bit to dust off my fingers and the guitar. It's like I'd lost the enjoyment in playing, pretty sad stuff as music has always been my joy. But, guess what.. It all started to come back when I got to the lower doses in my taper. Now I play everyday, I almost feel like I did when I was a tee, I mean I'm excited again to be playing my stuff, recording, all on my own for now but I will play again with other people in the future, just for fun, I don't want to make a living, you know just for the sake of the music.

Anyway, it will come back for you as well, may be you body doesn't want or your mind or whatever but the passion and skills are never lost.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 07:01:36 pm »
Thanks for your reply, I know what you mean about the lifestyle. I played drums professionally throughout the 80s and it was a party every night. I guess I should have added to my signature that I'm 25-1/2 years sober from alcohol, those days on the road caught up real fast but life got a heck of a lot better once all the blood got out of my alcohol stream :)

I know what you mean about the apathy part. I find myself getting nervous before picking up my Tele wondering if I can do the things I did two nights ago. Almost don't feel like playing much sometimes. But when I do play, my fingers just don't want to cooperate because of the coordination factor. After a while (and enough arpeggios), they usually loosen up and get a bit better towards the end of a practice session which is usually 3 hours. But then I feel more sore than I normally do because I'm having to play so much harder. Maybe it's a combination of both nerves/anxiety and side effects (the clumsiness that I've read others have experienced on this forum), I don't know. I'd be interested to know if any others had the finger diarrhea.

Drums are always easier since I played them for so long. Guitar never came easy for me. In all honesty, it's been frightening me lately. I even notice it on my kick drum foot, go to do a double and off comes a single or a triplet instead at times.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 07:24:41 pm »
Hello from me,

I am a pianist and my skills fell off dramatically while in withdrawal. I was also very uncoordinated and shaky. It was really frustrating and my playing frankly sucked for quite a while.  I played a major work in a recital when I was about 15 months off and preparing for that was a real turning point for me.  It was a great feeling and all the good endorphins after a performance came back.

[...]
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[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014, 08:10:51 pm »
Thank you [...], you made me feel 100% better just in knowing that I'm not the only one going through the coordination problems.

I was trying to do a few things on guitar while sitting around here, passing the time and like you said - I quite frankly sucked. It improves the longer I play for but I guess that's just sheer determination. Thank you again for sharing your story with me. I'm glad you're doing better now, that's encouraging to hear.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 02:25:08 am »
I'm definitely feeling the pinch. I still play guitar as often as I can for emotional reasons, to cheer myself up, to distract. But the weakness in both my arms and hands definitely keep the playing to a minimum, and indeed i also get clumsy and misstep a lot. You're not alone on that bit for sure.
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[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2014, 02:35:31 am »
I am also a drummer with a double kick kit. I have been playing in bands for 20 years. For the last 1.5 years Ive been unable to play at all due to fatgue, energy. Before I hot tolerance wd I was able to thrash on my kit into a sweaty mess. Now I dont think I can play more than 5 mins of a simple beat and Im exhausted. I also pretty much just lost interest in music which is real sad.

I dont have the coordination problem you have described though even though I do have benzo brain.
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[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2014, 03:26:16 am »
I also play the drums!  I have, since the age of 12 or 13, loved the drums and been interested in drumming.  However, before I knew I was in tolerance withdrawal, I could not stand to sit at my set for very long (more than 5 minutes) because of the tightness in my back and abdominal area.  I have, as a result, slowly been losing interest in playing.  Could not have imagined this could ever have happened to me, but it has.  As my stiffness/tightness slowly slowly eases over the past 15 months or so, I have been finding myself, here and there, back "pounding" on the drums, and loving every minute of it!!!   
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[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 03:40:25 am »
Thank you for sharing. [...], you hit the nail on the head with the keyword 'missteps'. I miss a lot of notes while playing lately and even forget chords when I first sit down.

I ended up playing guitar a little longer than anticipated this afternoon, that's the OCD part of w/d I guess, good therapy though (or so I think). I just couldn't get my left mid finger to do the hammer/pull-off on the main A sus 4 riff of Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion properly. So weak after numerous tries. I might have gotten it right about one third of the time.

I sat down on the drums afterward and pounded away but the fast (kick) doubles on the offbeat I was doing effortlessly last year were sounding more like singles and even triplets (with an extra unwanted note) every now and again.

[...], maybe this isn't so much a coordination problem as it is a weakness problem after all. Concentration (or lack of) could be part of it, too. It's so hard to tell sometimes because I can still pull off some wild, intricate stuff on a good night. Doing it fast with the same coordination level is the hard part and man, that's frustrating. Benzo brain might be the best way to describe it. I'm so sorry you lost interest but I'm sure it'll come back and I can certainly relate to the fatigue, I was doing 2.5 (drenched) hours every second night last year. One hour is about all I can handle right now. No way I could go play any gigs. I see you get hand tremors in your signature -- ditto here.

One thing that really throws me off kilter during w/d is that I seem to have to do everything so fast, not just playing music but even handwriting and printing and other stuff. So rushed. Almost like I have a stuck fast forward button on my forehead.

Glad you're back pounding away [...]. Again, I can relate to the tightness in the back and abdominal area. I thought it was just me.

Playing music is my life as I'm sure it is for many others here. At least I know I'm not alone in this mess. Thanks again and don't let this poison take away your dreams. As frustrated as I get, I'm just gonna keep playing even if I have to slow it down to a crawl. Congratulations to those of you who have kissed this poison goodbye. I look forward to that achievement myself, one day at a time.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Any musicians out there feeling the effects?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 03:57:54 am »
I play guitar and was working on my right / left hand synchronization when I came across this thread.

Since starting on Xanax and the wd, my coordination has really taken a hit. So has my cognitive abilities which really show up when playing music. I have to rely on playing from the sub-conscious instead of what I have drilled in by rehearsal and memory.

I notice when I'm in a window, I play well, and when a wave hits I sound bad no matter how much I try to overcome. The benzos really do alter fundamental brain function.

I'm counting on this being temporary, and am expecting a full recovery based on the progress over the last 2 years.

The best part of being 20 months out is that I can FEEL music again. My emotional link to the music is back, which is wonderful.








 
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.