Friday, August 3, 2012

Coming Clean ...

As I take a break from both Twitter and Facebook (though you should see this blog post as it is connected to my twitter and Facebook pages), I thought I'd take to my blog to share insight into my life, something I haven't really done on a regular basis in a very long time.  
This blog has to do with something very difficult to discuss but something that needs to be talked about.
In 1997 I was diagnosed with a form of vertigo called Ménière's disease (also suffered by Broadway's Kristen Chenoweth) after having various spells of dizziness and balance issues. I never truly believed that what I was suffering from was actually Ménière's disease but knew there was obviously an issue and it was obviously vertigo related.  On occasion I would suffer from a horrible set of vertigo symptoms once or twice a year, if not more, often having to lay down on the side of the street or at the gym and hold on to anything around me so that I didn't fall off the face of the earth (those that suffer from vertigo understand what I mean.  Your body feels like you are falling and spinning at a fast rate and all you can do is close your eyes and hope it goes away quickly.  My symptoms never lasted more than an hour, thankfully.  I had, at the time, heard of many suffering for days - oh, just you wait).

In 2009, while doing a concert at the Leicester Square Theatre and debuting my song 'Free' for the first time, I got hit with a horrible hit of vertigo which brought out a horrible anxiety attack which didn't really help matters.  I was in front of hundreds of fans, I couldn't see and I knew the only choice I had was to close my eyes, end the song quickly and pray to God I was able to get myself to my dressing room before throwing up (I did, slamming the door in Ramin Karimloo's face).

For any of you that have ever gotten food poising or drank too much one night, you know that feeling of fearing that particular food or never wanting to smell cranberry juice ever again. Well, I feared being on stage. Every time I would be on a stage, I suffered major panic attacks.  My neck would tighten. My jaw would tighten. My shoulders would tighten.
Shortly after, my vertigo systems became a daily obstacle - and those obstacles have led me to today.   I wake up with vertigo and go to bed with vertigo.  I am nauseous daily.  I do my best to not entertain those around me with my 'woe is me' complaints but my closest friends and my family are very aware of this issue.  I mean, we all suffer from something, right ? (Cancer and lactose intolerance being the worst, obviously).

I do acupuncture once a week, take muscle relaxers to deal with my thousand muscle spasms I suffer from in my neck, take my meclizine for the daily hits of nassau, keep white noise surrounding my left ear filled with the beautiful sounds of tinnitus all while hearing from doctors about what may cure me (I'm sure some of you know someone suffering from vertigo and will tell me of some ancient medicine they used but trust me, I've tried it all). Oh, and I do what one should never do with vertigo - drink to help control my anxiety attacks (for those who wonder why I drink at concerts, now you know).  
My life has kept me from what I love the most; performing my work.  If any of you have seen me in concert, you normally get a musical director taking most of the stage time and me closing out the set with a song or two (though I did have a great month in LA a year ago and had the privilege of playing the entire concert without any major incident.  Xanax helped).  This wasn't always the case.  At the start of my career, I accompanied all my performers.  I use to sing most of my concerts.  That is how I like it.  I like to be apart of it all.
If you ever watch videos from the past few years of me playing, you will often see my holding on to the piano during the song, hoping I don't fall as my vertigo takes over my body (though, this is normally panic attacks causing a vertigo affect.  Or so that is what I believe as there is no real diagnosis to ever know the truth).
Well, with life quieter then it has ever been before and my career in a holding pattern for a moment, I am finally taking care of my health.  I am removing myself from social media for a bit.  Trying to get away from the computer (minus this blog, obviously), starting physical therapy next week to try and release any trauma my neck my have experienced at that concert (it is one thing I've never tried and I was instructed to. I'll try anything and maybe it is stress related cervical vertigo caused from whiplash (yes, supposedly you can get whiplash from more than just car crashes.  Surprised me, too). 
It is time to focus on me so that I can get back to doing what I love to do, which is focus on others.  Yes, that also means I am also taking some needed time out of my life for some dating (I think I met someone, but I won't say much until date 10 or a proposal), meeting new people, talking about other things then musical theatre and caring for my newly blind dog, Billy (poor boy is walking into everything.  He and I are like the blind leading the blind).

I hope you will give me a pass for my absence from Twitter and Facebook (I have gotten many emails from fans asking where I am and if my twitter page was ransacked by pirates because I decided to delete all my past tweets in a moment of wishing to delete evidence of my past once I return, I guess).

I will return to it all but it's time to return to me, first. 

I will keep updating this blog so check back for updates.  Writing a blog for an hour is much healthier then refreshing my twitter page for twenty-four and much healthier on my neck and shoulders and spinal chord.  

Until then.  

Xx - SA 

ps.  Thoughts on Mariah's new single Triumphant ? I like the 'Vintage Throwback Remix.'  Though I am not a huge fan of the original version I will say that I think it's admirable for an artist to stand by their passion for the music they like even though they know it's not the popular choice.  I would obviously like my 90's Mariah to spread her wings and fly but if she's happy, in her gold tight skinned cut out dress with rappers I've never heard of, shouldn't we be happy for her ? to hear both versions before weighing in.


  1. wish you well scott, glad that you are taking time to take care of yourself.

  2. Take care of yourself Scott. I know you'll be back better than ever!

  3. Sending you some light, love, and good vibes. I know you'll come out stronger and better. We love you. Props on taking care of yourself.

  4. Wow! I had no idea...we will miss you but you are doing the right thing...take good care of you and we'll be here when you return. Know that you are loved and your music and songs bring much joy and encouragement to us all. My life is all the better for having met you when you were here in Australia. BTW Don't be afraid of being vulnerable with us and onstage...people will respect you even more than they do knowing what you go through to be onstage and performing. I hope that the doctors and therapists are able to help you recover. Conditions like yours that are relatively unseen by others are always difficult because people don't realise what you go through on a daily basis. You are an incredible man, Scott and I wish you all the very best and look forward to reading your blogs. Thinking of you. *Hugs* x

  5. Good for you! Your social media will surely be missed but your health is far more important. We, your fans, will wait for you to make beautiful & inspiring music again. I wish you all the best in your recovery & happiness with your potential new someone.

    Todd, a fan

  6. Wow!
    I've never posted anything on anyone's blog before, but after reading your blog I just had to.
    I discovered you and your music because I'm a huge fan of Willemijn (Verkaik). Your music had truly changed my life. You find the words to emotions I have been struggling with for a very long time.
    I'm so sorry you're not feeling well. It makes me so sad. It's strange since I don't even know you, but I just want to give you a big hug.
    Please take care of yourself. panik attacks always happen for a reason. I know from experience. In the meantime we all have your beautiful music. I know you wrote that sales aren't too great, but all of us who do own your cd's, love them, believe me!

    get well soon Scott.

    love (all the way from Holland) Leonie

  7. It's through meeting our own needs first we are then better able to meet the needs of others. One of my spiritual teachers said that once. I too am having to take time out this year to take care of myself. Chronic Epstein-Barr, fatigue, and severe allergies really caught up to me these last few years, and I'm *finally* starting to feel better--finding the right acupuncturist was the key for me! Finding ways to get my creative energy flowing also helps, and your music, your emotional vulnerability and rawness has been a really big inspiration this year (I discovered you via Hadley Fraser in February). After losing my singing voice several years ago to related health issues, I'm now working to build a new voice and am enjoying the journey. Thank you. And kudos to you, Scott, it's a tough job but you're the only one that can do it! x

  8. Oh, i didn´t know you have this disease...
    I really hope that you can perform like you used to someday!
    Take as long time as you need, enjoy life and be happy! ;)
    You gave us your beautiful music, your great songs, I wish I could give you something in return...
    Greetings and hugs from Germany,
    Sophia :)

  9. Oh Scott! I am so sorry. I have LONG suffered neck, shoulder, back pain and headaches w/ occasional vertigo as a result of fracturing my neck as a child....thank God the vertigo is no where near the extent of yours - just enough to be able to appreciate how terrifying it must be for you. I will pray for your peace, health and happiness. If anyone is deserving, it is you. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

    Love, Love, Love

  10. Love youuuuuu and get well!

    That's all

  11. Scott, I have suffered from chronic vertigo, Labryinthitis since 2000! Everything you wrote is what I go through, as well. I've tried it all and realize that accepting my disability and that it is a part of me has made it easier for me to live. I have however had to change many things in my life because of it. Thank you for sharing your story. I did see a difference with balance disorder physical therapy but doesn't take it away. I'm like a walking barometer and can forecast the weather better than any weather man. I'm sorry you have to go through this but glad to hear it's not just me. But, dang it, that just means I can't really do the woah is me thing too much when I know others struggle as I do. ;) peace to you.

  12. I forgot to mention that my homeopathic doc says, with vertigo comes anxiety. yay for us!