Wednesday, March 24, 2021

TwoSet on Mental Health (Bravo for speaking out!!!!)

Wow! I really encourage any musicians and students to watch this! Brett and Eddy cover a number of topics over psychological pressures and its affects on students/musicians.
I’m so so soooo proud! SO PROUD of Twoset Violin 🎻 for speaking out about their own experiences. I was especially surprised to hear about how Eddy ended up in a wheelchair. But what I love is that he spoke about how helpful his neurologist was, and the use of mirror box to retrain the brain signals.
This is a vital area to point out within the brain-body connection, and how both extrinsic and intrinsic factors can throw a wrench into the way the body responds and the brain adapts to change (in a maladaptive way, but ideally out of the need to just backfires)...a chain-reaction...almost like phantom limb manifestation.
There’s that point of transition where the brain starts associating playing with pain, or manifests an illness in the body, or a disorder. It doesn’t even have to be pain induced through playing....can be an external cause (ex. a car accident that causes a fracture in the arm or hand, or facial trauma and the pain still resides even after fully healing). Both injuries and mental health disorders come with a slew of extrinsic and intrinsic dynamics at play because the brain rewires when it starts receiving changes in the signal; whether physical or mental or via sensation, literally any type of change.
But it’s not just a headspace thing or all in your head, it really is a neurological rewiring that is happening via sensation and other stressors and factors. And it’s hard to catch when it’s setting in like that because we’ve been taught to endure, or that it’s just a day or week of intense playing and it will pass. Our brain holds onto it even after recovered, and there’s some research surrounding how the body suppresses memories and pain. It’s great that he points out it’s not helpful to label any physical or mental illness as “all in your head.”
I also can’t say enough about how happy I am they addressed the need for education and being more open about the mental pressures and physical challenges within the profession.
It’s really humbling and moving to hear them speak out, and I don’t think they’ll ever know how much this means to me, and to others who care as deeply about musician health and well-being.
Although it’s always scary to speak out; the fact that there’s so much fear surrounding talking openly about issues and challenges within our profession (especially controversial topics) means there needs to be a change!
With the rising demands, and how much we put into our profession, and for how little appreciation and respect the arts receive publicly and with funding, we need to start taking care of each other and considering how we can make positive strides from the inside-out. I think once we remember what we stand for unified, perhaps we can overcome the tendency to uphold certain practices that no longer serve our highest good or welfare of the profession and future generations. 📯

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