Thursday, October 17, 2019
The Backwards Brain Bicycle: What Having Musician's Focal Dystonia is Like
This is what it's like having Musicians Focal Dystonia. Except after 20+ years of daily practice, performing, and refining your skills to a high degree, you can see why it's significantly worse when the brain pathways get even slightly crossed; sensory/touch goes haywire and motor control goes out the window.
All those years of learning become our enemy and everything must be deprogrammed and reprogrammed and even though you can adapt and modify, it's never quite the same or as smooth as the old pathway that was dug.
The hardest part is letting go/stopping your brain from yelling at your body, "You're going to fall!! I must do something!!" and thus it keeps trying to resort to your default control/old pathway that no longer works. It takes tremendous work to build a new pathway, a ton of failing and relapses, and for some it seems impossible or takes years because your body and brain lack enough plasticity to overcome the damaged circuit. Also everyone is affected to various degrees and it's hard to gauge severity levels.
We really don't know how deep the rabbit hole is, so that's why I'm against those who make the notion that they have the one and only cure, or a one-size-fits-all formula to overcoming the disorder. One way of doing things won't work for everyone, and not everyone can overcome it so easily or within the same time frame. Rehabilitating is an individualized process. And a true cure means it can be scientifically tested over and over again with a proven 100% success rate in each and every individual.
Auff! Frustrating to say the least. This comes very close to a great example of what it's like having this disorder. I know there are a lot worse things in life, but when it is your livelyhood and a part of who you are, it's catastrophic losing your ability to play. 💕