My music, the Proms, my high and my dentist!
Singing and enjoying music or simply taking part in, or surrounding yourself with music (whether you’d consider yourself a musician or not) will absolutely have a positive impact on your life and on the stress in your life. We will ALL experience stress in varying levels throughout our lives and I am no stranger to it. Creating and building Rock Choir has, at times, created dramatic periods of stress in my life sometimes for years at a time. I have had to turn to music as therapy and it’s always been reliable, calming me down and offering a relief even in the darkest times when I couldn’t see a way forward. (‘The End of the Innocence’, Don Henley, has an immediate calming effect on me within the first few opening bars!) The manifestation of stress comes out in me physically and I am still learning to manage its symptoms – some fairly dramatic and some fairly common. A few months ago, during the summer, I broke 3 teeth overnight by clenching. I wasn’t aware I was doing it whilst I was asleep although I have had episodes in the past. I woke up feeling uncomfortable and 2 weeks later I was in agonising pain, dehydrated, hungry and sobbing like a child in the dentist’s chair whilst the poor chap and his team tried to pour a bleach-like solution into the opened tooth onto the exposed roots! (Barbaric?!!) (And how can a tiny root create SO much pain?) This experience led to a panic attack and so much tension in my body I could have snapped in half. The initial stress that summer had been created from the anxiety and work-load of releasing our single, Hallelujah, in the lead up to our debut performance at BBC Radio 2’s ‘Proms in the Park’. Someone had upset me a great deal which led me to have the ultimate bad night’s sleep. I had that first root canal in the week leading to the BBC Proms event, the second, 2 days after the event and although it was decided at the time that I didn’t need a 3rd it just so happens that 8 weeks on, the pain is back and the 3rd root canal is booked for Wednesday which just so happens to be International Stress Day! What are the odds of that? However, what was odd about the summer’s experience is that on the morning of the BBC Proms, the pain disappeared?! Completely! During that week I had been interviewed by Chris Evans who had remarked (live to his Radio 2 Breakfast Show audience of millions!) how much I was shaking! I could hardly reply that I’d broken my teeth and needed a root canal and was surviving on painkillers and penicillin! So instead I suggested that anyone would be shaking in his presence as he was so amazing! (Which he actually was!) But when all that pain disappeared suddenly, I was able to step on stage at the BBC Proms in the Park and really take hold of it, enjoy it and engage with a fabulous audience of 40,000 live on Radio 2 with my amazing team and the incredible BBC Concert Orchestra! The music, the singing and the experience all led to one of the biggest highs I have ever experienced. The high lasted for 16 days and a few days in I magically floated into my 2nd root canal procedure, stress-free and deliriously happy listening to BBC Radio 2 as I was rapidly put under sedation in the dentist’s chair. Was it the music? The singing? The adrenalin? Radio 2? (Love the BBC!) The stress disappeared and the music took over and I had the time of my life!