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Some Advice Please.....Updated 02-11-10

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KCFenderFan
(@kcfenderfan)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 472
Topic starter  

I have recently had some health issues (I had more blocked coronary arteries that were able to be stented) that appear to have led to anxiety and depression. While I am working through this with my doctors, my personal and professional lives have suffered. Things that I used to enjoy doing no longer (or rarely) interest me. Things that didn't used to bother me now push my buttons.

Guitar playing still seems to interest me, but when I go to play, it causes a great deal of tension. Songs that I used to try and work through seem to take a lot more patience and I usually end up frustrated. I can't seem to change chords without a lot of thought and hesitation. I guess I have lost my confidence. I usually just end up doing some scales and twelve-bar blues shuffles. That makes me feel like I can still do something, but it still frustrates me. I am going to try and work on single note picking songs like “Rebel Rouser.” (If anyone can think of other titles that I could work on like this, I would appreciate suggestions.)

I need to try and work through this and I still like guitar, but it's tough. My wife says not to stress out about it and that maybe I just don't like the guitar anymore. But it seems to be the one thing that I can come back to and say that I still want to do.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, what can you suggest to help me get through this?

I have some words for a song that popped into my head recently. It kind of goes like this:
“With each setback it seems,
I am one step closer to the grave,
One step further from my dreams.”

Thanks,
Jim


   
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dogbite
(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

check out songs by Link Wray. great early solo guitar stuff.

what ails you>?????? have you seen a doctor baout your depression.
I am serious, having gone through several bouts, your read describes manyu of the symptoms.
hang in there with the guitar learning. it is really hard when nothing has color and concentration is short.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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lue42
(@lue42)
Reputable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 356
 

My wife is very supportive of my playing... but commented the other day "I can't believe you are still trying to learn to play. Everything you do is a battle. I am impressed that you keep trying."

What she meant was that everything I try to learn I have to fight hard to learn it. I have come to realize that I have very little natural deep down musical talent, and have almost no natural rhythm. Everything I learn is a challenge.

Sometimes.... many times... I just want to give up learning to play. More trouble than it is worth.

Then, I go back in my binder and pick up a song that I worked on a while ago and can play. I have two or three songs like that... that I can do a pretty decent job of and give me a lot of enjoyment.

So, during the stressful, hard times when my fingers just won't do what I want them to do, or when I just can't get the rhythm down no matter what I do, I go back to my comfort songs for a while. To calm myself down and to remember why I keep going and that I really really do enjoy playing. Those songs are also useful for the hard and stressful times in my life - because I really do enjoy playing, when it is material I *can* play. It calms me down and puts a little smile on my face.

I suggest you do the same... find those one or two songs... no matter how simple they are... but ones that you can play well or that just plain give you that feeling of enjoyment.

And, as I have suggested in other posts, and has been suggested to me by other forum members and my teacher... you really need to learn a song or two. Playing riffs and intros to songs is not enough. I still remember the first time I played a song all the way through, from beginning to end. What a great feeling.

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
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cnev
 cnev
(@cnev)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4459
 

I'm not a psychiatrist, doctor or anything else but I'll give you my opinion since you've asked.

You've had a lot to deal with lately more than most people. Losing interest in doing the things that you used to love is a pretty classic symptom of depression and not suprising.

If you feel like picking up the guitar and playing around with it go for it but if you are stressing out about your current abilities then I think that would have a negative effect on your mental and physical state and in that case I'd put it down for awhile.

The old cliche about time having a way of healing everything is true. Give yourself some time to recharge and get through all the other things going on in your life and you'll be fine.

As for the depression part I think I had a bout of that several years ago when I broke up with my current wife. She had moved away and I was crushed. Had all the same feelings that you described. Talking it out sometimes helps but at the end of the day I'd still be in my apt by myself wallowing in self pity.

The key I think and it's probably different for each situation is to try and occupy your mind so those depressing thoughts don't keep entering into your head. It's a lot easier said then done though and with time it gets easier.

I wish you luck and hope it works out for you.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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Blue Jay
(@blue-jay)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1630
 

Wow Jim, you are taking it well and doing admirably. I can identify and am going through some of the same things, and want to keep taking time off. You can take a break, or keep at it; it's all up to you.

One time I found that just polishing up a guitar and changing strings was an incentive. Actually, I took it apart, detailed it, and re-assembled everything, but you don't have to do that. A little show 'n shine may be fine. You and the guitar will feel like new again, and be ready for playing.

I also appreciate others sharing their stories - mine would sound a lot like cnev's but we don't need my current details.

Ummm, sooo without all the Psycho Analytic Health or how-to-tune-your-car advice that I give on Yahoo Answers... :shock: , you can most definitely twang it up to Duane Eddy's Rebel Rouser ... I do, or Hot Rod Lincoln, and from the Man in Black: I Walk the Line, and the Carter family's Wildwood Flower. :idea:

http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/all/hotrodlincoln.html

With a four barrel carb and a big exhaust
With 4:11 gears you can really get lost
Got safety tubes, but I ain't scared
The brakes are good, the tires fair

Cheers man! 8)

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


   
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colin rp
(@colin-rp)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 37
 

I've been through depression a few times both as a reaction to personal situations and as bio-chemical reaction -as a result of nutritional deficiency and chemical abuse. I'd characterize it as choosing not to feel because my feelings are too negative or painful. Being self-critical and losing my confidence are two ways I can definitely identify as a common link to it. The bad news is that they are great ways to stay depressed if you let them limit you. I'd go with the other forum members who suggest playing easier material. I also suggest that you try doing things that allow you to feel more and think less when you play. If you don't usually sing then try and sing like when you do blues shuffles. Try and pick out melodies instead of scales. Play songs at different tempos and try and feel them. Play with your eyes closed.
The best way out of a rut is to do things differently. Don't settle on the same things that are bringing you down. Remember why you wanted to start playing in the first place and don't ever give up. Oh yeah take your vitamins, spend more time outside and make time for all the great people in your life. Seeing other people is a great way to gain perspective during hard times.
All the best and keep Rocking.
:D
Colin


   
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KCFenderFan
(@kcfenderfan)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 472
Topic starter  

Sorry for the delayed response to everyone's replies. I appreciate all of the advice. First off, I have been to see a counselor and he advised me that I have general anxiety disorder and mild to moderate depression. So I am on some meds for that. Then I went to the cardiologist with more chest pain and tests revealed that I am not getting sufficient blood flow to part of my heart. So guess what? Back to the hospital I go for another heart catheter procedure to see what's going on. Could be another artery blockage, or nothing to worry about. At that point I would either get another stent or if no blockage is found, nitrates for chest pains. I am scheduled to go in Tuesday morning unless we have a lot of snow (which is in theforecast). The hospital that my cardiologist works from from is about 25 miles from my house and I don't want or need the added stress of my wife having to drive us there in the weather. The procedure is not an emergemcy as my doctor has said that I am at low risk for a "cardiac event." So, if we have to reschedule, we will.

Thanks again for the great responses.

Jim


   
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Blue Jay
(@blue-jay)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1630
 

Oh, Jim, I hope it goes well tomorrow. Wherever you are, it has probably snowed amounts, like in the Capitol region?

You have a lot on your plate, I'm sorry and hope you get through it all very well. Try to cope for now, you're doing all the right things.

I too take meds, a Beta Blocker is great for anxiety, including performance anxiety and panic attacks. I've put on too much weight, that's an issue on the cardio-vascular system as well as joints, and I use other meds but have not really given anyone a chance to make the diagnosis of depression. Sorry, I don't care for going to doctors, and all that stuff.

I worry a lot, and can't sleep. We're in the midst of a family feud, and somebody had to go and get the law involved. Now it's up to a Judge to decide who did what, and who gets what. I spend too much time with lawyers and in Court to seek medical attention, in a way? That's not natural, nice, or purrty. :roll:

If you have love and support in your family and friends, it sure goes a long, long way - unlike my situation. At least you have a place to stay! :lol:

I urge you relax and let the healing process and interventions run their course. Yeah, give it time - you are showing courage by talking about it, and by going to remedy what ails you. I hope things go as smoothly as possible. 8)

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


   
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KCFenderFan
(@kcfenderfan)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 472
Topic starter  

Thanks for the good wishes, Blue Jay! I apologize, but my issues pale in comparison to yours. :oops: I wish YOU the best in your troubles. You are right, I do have a good support system around me.

As far as the snow goes, it doesn't appear that we are going to get nearly what they originally forecasted. So far, things are still a "go" for tomorrow.

Please keep us posted on how you're doing.

Jim


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

I hope everything wroks out for you. I've not responded seeing as I have no advice to offer. Just well wishes. And Blue Jay, i hope your things clear up soon too.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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KCFenderFan
(@kcfenderfan)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 472
Topic starter  

I hope everything wroks out for you. I've not responded seeing as I have no advice to offer. Just well wishes. And Blue Jay, i hope your things clear up soon too.

That's okay Roy! And thanks for the well wishes!!

I went in on Tuesday as scheduled for my heart catheter procedure and my cardiologist found no new blockages or areas of concern. He also said that the five stents that were placed in previous procedures were all "wide open" and showing no signs of any blockages forming in those areas. So in short, the chest pains I have previously experienced have been 100% ruled out as being cardiac related. The thinking now is that it could be stress or acid reflux. They said that it can sometimes mimic heart pain or indigestion which is why some people don't go to the hospital when they are actually having a heart attack.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the well wishes and I hope to be back to my old grumpy self soon.

Thanks,
Jim


   
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TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
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Posts: 3709
 

Thats great news Jim. Chest pain always has to be taken seriously so you certainly did the right thing having the heart cath. I'm glad it turned out your cardiac plumbing is wide open. :D

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Well, that's some encouraging news. Hopefully it will serve as a springboard for a great year. All the best. 8)

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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KCFenderFan
(@kcfenderfan)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 472
Topic starter  

Thanks TR and Roy! I appreciate it!

Jim


   
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cnev
 cnev
(@cnev)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4459
 

Well like TR said he he would know never take a chance with chest pain, but that's good news it's not that.

Maybe the stress is from all you've had to deal with lately and hopefully now that you know the heart is looking good you feel less stressed about it.

I'd blame the acid reflux on the wife's cooking and as restitution tell her she should buy you a new guitar since you just sold your Strat...J/K

Seriously good to hear things are improving.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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