Dread and anxiety from sound.

Jimmy Hardin

Junior
Jan 29, 2013
308
0
16
Hey y’all, haven’t been on here in a very long time but I am at a pretty big crossroads and I wanted to know if anyone on here goes through what I am going through right now. I have been in business of sound for the past 10 or 11 years now and have a really great clientele, I love doing it but for some strange reason I dread every show until I get there and then I start feeling fine. My anxiety level just goes through the roof before the event, and I don’t feel happy anymore with the whole business. This just started about 3 or 4 years ago and has just gotten worse through the years. When I started out I would usually stay up all night because I couldn’t sleep from being so excited about doing the show the next day. I had a situation one time where it came a pouring down rain and all my stuff got wet and couldn’t do the event. Every since then I have pretty much been this way. I live in the south and all I have pretty much done this year is dodge thunderstorms. I am just wanting to know if this is normal because if it’s not then I am thinking about having it up and calling it a good night.


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Steve White

New member
Jul 6, 2018
27
6
3
Fort Worth, Texas
^^^ Seek professional help sir. Talk to a counselor. Something isn't right. I went through a high anxiety getting onto an aircraft for a business trips years ago. At the time, I was in the middle of a high stress marriage melt-down at home. Moved out, anxiety went away.

That's where a counselor can help out, they will see things we aren't aware of and can help guide you.
 
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Paul Lewendon

New member
Oct 8, 2019
7
2
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51
British Columbia Canada
Have you thought of investing in a good quality portable awning ?, since you say you're always dodging storms.
Unless the storms are accompanied by bad wind that could destroy a awning/tent . Then possibly some other portable structure.
In my experience of anxiety in myself, most anxiety is rooted in low confidence about something, your gear was wrecked
in the past, so if you have confidence that your gear would be safe, then the anxiety should subside dramatically.
The rest might be dealt with practice, self confidence internal talk(convincing yourself of the opposite scenarios to what
you're feeling), and breathing exercises.
 
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Paul Johnson

Freshman
Oct 27, 2012
48
1
8
A friend of mine had na pretty goof following as a singer/guitarist and a member of a tribute band. He's about 25 and suddenly started being sick before going on stage and it got worse and worse. He refused to seek help and frankly I don't think our advice was that good - which usually revolved around telling him to pull himself together because he never used to have this problem. Now he has gone back to doing sound, and is so much happier. The trouble with irrational fears is they are, well, irrational. Seek decent advice.
 

Paul Lewendon

New member
Oct 8, 2019
7
2
3
51
British Columbia Canada
I was just talking about how to deal with the equipment problem that lead to it all as he mentioned, and also what worked for my anxiety, naturally I don't know how severe his anxiety is,he was asking for our advice, yes a therapist is ideal if it's severe,
but if you don't deal with the underlying reason for the anxiety, therapy won't help, Like taking aspirin to deal with headaches because you're banging your head, but you only take aspirin, and don't stop banging your head.
Please don't misinterpret my response, I'm not being snarky or anything, just explaining my response to his post.
 

Jimmy Hardin

Junior
Jan 29, 2013
308
0
16
Have you thought of investing in a good quality portable awning ?, since you say you're always dodging storms.
Unless the storms are accompanied by bad wind that could destroy a awning/tent . Then possibly some other portable structure.
In my experience of anxiety in myself, most anxiety is rooted in low confidence about something, your gear was wrecked
in the past, so if you have confidence that your gear would be safe, then the anxiety should subside dramatically.
The rest might be dealt with practice, self confidence internal talk(convincing yourself of the opposite scenarios to what
you're feeling), and breathing exercises.

I have a 10 x 10 tent that I use with side walls and I can let it down . The storms comes with bad wind and lightning etc. when my events are going to be inside I don’t worry about it at all , it’s a great day. But the outdoor ones with the bad weather involved is the ones I really lose it on. I have a helper that helps me, I have tarps and other things to cover up stuff. But it’s just the weather factor. If the weather was more reliable than what it is I more than likely wouldn’t have this problem. And the people wont postpone the events or move them inside. the weather is so crazy down in the south. One minute it’s sunny and a beautiful day and the next min it’s coming a flood.


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Jimmy Hardin

Junior
Jan 29, 2013
308
0
16
I was just talking about how to deal with the equipment problem that lead to it all as he mentioned, and also what worked for my anxiety, naturally I don't know how severe his anxiety is,he was asking for our advice, yes a therapist is ideal if it's severe,
but if you don't deal with the underlying reason for the anxiety, therapy won't help, Like taking aspirin to deal with headaches because you're banging your head, but you only take aspirin, and don't stop banging your head.
Please don't misinterpret my response, I'm not being snarky or anything, just explaining my response to his post.

Your right, I didn’t take it to heart, he is right , something just isn’t right with me. I have thought very seriously about seeking professional help.


Sent from my iPhone
 
Oct 25, 2018
114
13
18
59
Bideford, Devon. UK
As one who has had Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for completely different reasons, I can only say that hearing a professional (whom you do not know) explain one's thought processes and how to break the loop was exceptionally helpful. A loved one or friend speaking exactly the same words definitely has far less impact - it has to come from someone disconnected from you and the problem. I would advise that you seek such a professional sooner rather than later before you get totally screwed up, like I did (twice!) by not seeking help in time. Over twenty years later the mental scars are still vivid.
 

Tim McCulloch

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
3,006
45
48
Wichita KS USA
Hi Jimmy-

Well, the anxiety may be "irrational" but the concerns are real. I think the "trick" is getting those 2 things to work together without them becoming overwhelming. Just as clients hire you because you're an audio professional, it's wise for you to have a professional 'head space' consultant.

Now about weather - you need to just say no when clients expect you to risk YOUR safety, the safety of the public, the safety of performers and the client's staff & volunteers. The gear is secondary - you won't care about your mixer or speakers from a hospital bed or cemetery.

If there are storms, the event needs to be paused or stopped. Seriously. I re-wrote our contracts 20 years ago to give our representative on site the right to make safety decisions and withhold services, power down and, if necessary, strike gear BEFORE the lightning is closer than 8 miles, the winds come up above 25MPH, or the rain is within 30 minutes. We don't fool around. I've loaded out PA at a festival where the promoter was convinced the weather issue was temporary. Somewhere I have a pic of the FOH console table in a river of water (2 feet of water); the PM4000 was removed about 30 minutes before the flash flood.

Don't mess with weather - Mother Nature will kick your ass in the most unforgiving ways - and don't neglect your health (from head to toes).

Good luck, Jimmy. Let us know how things work out for you.
 
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Paul Johnson

Freshman
Oct 27, 2012
48
1
8
Actually - the concern for the equipment is a thing lots of people 'suffer' from. Back in the 90s I started teaching music technology in a college, and because they had little kit and I had lots, I took my stuff in. Immediately I realised my care and attention in the kits was not remotely common in the students and I arranged a deal with the college where I'd let them use my kit, but the college would cover breakages and damage. From then on I had to learn to not get wound up by the rough treatment, and then for my own work I took some easy steps. My mixers went into flight cases they'd stay in, there would always be a plastic cover in the dog box that could keep water out - because so many contract required tents and covers were truly rubbish - so covers worked well. Stage kit was also protected - every rack and amp safe. I realised I had to sacrifice some kit - so mics on the front line and wedges would just have to get wet. I've had enough Shure mics get rained on and after a bit of warming they were fine - and the monitors actually have recovered. It's very normal to want to protect your gear - but frankly, it's just gear. I've lost the worry. At best now, it's concern. An old boss told me to never worry, replace it with concern and you get through. Clearly some people just don't worry, but others like you do - so work with it. However - it is NOT worth losing sleep over. For me, I lose sleep because of planning. When I have important jobs, my sleep is disturbed because I'm doing maths in my head, or planning things - they're not dreams, I'm just thinking. I wake up tired, but the thinking has usually worked. If its' really getting to you - try yourself or with external help to convert worry to concern, it really helps.
 
Oct 25, 2018
114
13
18
59
Bideford, Devon. UK
Very well put Paul. One of my old work colleagues sat me down one day - after I had rushed, concerned and flustered, into the Works Office chasing an 'urgent' delivery for a customer - and told me it was nothing really to worry about!
He told me gently that "A heart attack or lung cancer; those are things to worry about".
Perspective is a very powerful tool if you are able to learn to use it...
 

Paul Johnson

Freshman
Oct 27, 2012
48
1
8
I switched to an old income source when covid hit and wiped out my lighting, sound and video work - selling radios - hams and leisure boaters. It's kept my head afloat, but it took my old retired boss to remind me of his advice when I mentioned the grief of returned stock, stupid customers and deliberate fraud - I told him it was keeping me up at night. He asked how much one of these things cost me in lost money? I told him maybe £30. He asked how much it cost me to pay for the family meal we had in Pizza Hut? That put the £30 into perspective. He then told me to work out my profit for the month, and then see how much the annoying customers had cost me. I had a similar conversation with my accountant about the selling profits. He asked how much money from savings I had put into stock? Then he asked what my margin was. A miserly 14% I told him, hardly worth the effort. He then asked how much interest I had received for a year on the sum I had spent on stock. Again - my stress levels went down.

Stress and anxiety are often byproducts of parts of our lives that really don't matter that much. The best thing I ever did was learn that kit is just kit. I replaced my MacBook in 2019 because I poured coffee into the old one. Last month I did exactly the same thing again. I was cross with myself, but it really is just a computer. I'd been good at backups, so I bought a new one, and restored everything in a couple of hours. I did NOT get stressed. It's just not worth it.

If it rains and things get wet. Stand back. Dry things out and re-assess. If they're gone, they're gone.