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).
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.
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 ?
http://www.mariahcarey.com to hear both versions before weighing in.