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Anna and her demons

A sad story about an unsuccesful composer

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I'm not sure if this is the right forum to write it there, but... well, nevermind. I just need support. I'll be glad for any answers.

My sad story began in September when I started attending a conservatory. It was my dream for a really long time so I was excited about that...

But there's one thing which is very important for the story: I suffer from manic-depressive states. For some stupid reasons, I haven't sought help until this June. My treatment is in phase "we'll try this medication and see what it will do".

So, as I said: I was excited about the conservatory. But then the depression came and it was really bad this time. Music stopped making sense for me. It became a bunch of strange, illogical sounds. I literally wasn't able to compose anymore. Then I stated attending a technical university (because studying two schools simultaneously is really a great idea) and it went even worse. I couldn't do all the things I had to do. I thought it would be better if I would be dead. And so on... many other things that depressed people usually do.

I had to leave the conservatory.

I left the school only temporarily for now so I can return there. But I'm not sure if I'll be able to do so.

I talked to my composition teacher about my problems. I didn't want to do so, but I was meeting him for quite a long time and I thought it would be rude not to tell him anything. He told me that he had a student who came from a technicians family (as well as me) and had hard time pushing ahead his career as a musician (as well as me). He developed schizophrenia during his study, stopped to be able to attend the school and slowly found out that music was actually the trigger of his illness.

Maybe music is the thing which is causing my problems. And maybe not. I don't know. I'm not sure about anything. However, I was still feeling bad until I've got better medication.

Now I feel better, so I can think about stupid things, such as "my life has no purpose now" or "I could have became a great composer and now I'm a substandard programmer". Music was always kind of mission for me. And everything I've ever dreamed about has disappeared now.

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Your composition teacher is a person you trust, so their opinion matters to you.  But remember that they were talking about one single other student's experience, not many students, and not their own experience.  And that student had a different diagnosis than you do.  Your case is your case and your education is your education.  If you want to pursue music, and you left your conservatory program on a temporary basis, keep the school aware of how your treatment is progressing, keep them aware of your intention to return after a medical leave of absence, and then go back. 

You may need to take more time off than you originally intended, and that is fine.  Your health is important.  Finding the resources and treatments that work best for you may take a while.  

There is no reason this needs to be the end of your musical journey, unless you happen to find another path that you like better.  Take your time.  Get well.  And then decide on the path that feels right to you.  

Be gentle with yourself.

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16 hours ago, Anna and her demons said:

Now I feel better, so I can think about stupid things, such as "my life has no purpose now" or "I could have became a great composer and now I'm a substandard programmer". Music was always kind of mission for me. And everything I've ever dreamed about has disappeared now.

I would love to tell you that an artist and suffering can exist apart from each other, but I'm not sure they can. We create music because, in some strange way, it allows us to express our sufferings, our experiences in the only way we can find release. (That isn't to say that all music is sad and melancholy, of course. But the songs I love the best are soulful and speak to my own sufferings.)

Every oyster has to eat dirt before it can make a pearl. I'm thinking your pearl from this experience is going to be beautiful, indeed.

And as far as being a "substandard programmer," have a look at how many composers had day jobs: https://www.classicalmpr.org/story/2016/09/16/composers-day-jobs

You're doing this thing called life very well. Sure, you've had some setbacks. Now you're taking some steps forward. We're all a mess—but we're a beautiful mess. And each of our messes makes us who we are.

Keep it up, and try not to compare yourself to other people. Because, after all, you are the best person at being you.

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A sad story indeed. But don't mark yourself down as an "unsuccessful composer". Do you mean a famous composer? Because there aren't many about today who have achieved recognition. 

Remember that making it a career is a hard task indeed. I know a couple of composers who have had public exposure but they could never make a living at it. One teaches music (and hates it!), another works in IT. Another works in a bank. He doesn't particularly like it but recognises that the money funds his hobbies (i.e. composing).

Best to concentrate on your health and doing what you can as you go. You don't need to go to conservatoire to be a composer and (personally) I have serious doubts about the value of a degree course in composition. I mean, they can teach you the tools but they can't teach you creativity. The best you could get from it is performance of your work. For me it did more harm than good and I still haven't recovered entirely. Then possibly learn to play an instrument so you can join an amateur orchestra or ensemble. If nothing else you can talk to others about their instruments and end up composing for them. (That's how it's panned out for me.)

Or just compose when you feel able to. Always keep your rejected pieces, sketches and so on. You never know when you could recycle something!

Wishing you as best a recovery as possible. 

    

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@Quinn

I've never really thought about being famous… at least when not manic. I don't mean a "famous composer". I mean a "composer who's not able to write a single note".

That's what makes me sad. I can't compose. Maybe it's because I'm tired. I'm still depressed. I still think it would be better if I died. It probably isn't the right time to be succesful now. And I don't have much free time anyways. Programming is hard. And studying at a technical university is exhausting.

I hope I'll be able to return to music. Maybe one day.

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I'm heartbroken reading this. I sincerely wish the best for you, and that you not only find your musical voice again, but also can overcome these terrible thoughts and feelings. I'm sorry can't be of more help, but I just want you know that there are people here who care about you and your well-being. I really wish you a successful recovery. Fight on!

Theodore

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On 11/15/2019 at 11:55 PM, Anna and her demons said:

I'm not sure if this is the right forum to write it there, but... well, nevermind. I just need support. I'll be glad for any answers.

My sad story began in September when I started attending a conservatory. It was my dream for a really long time so I was excited about that...

But there's one thing which is very important for the story: I suffer from manic-depressive states. For some stupid reasons, I haven't sought help until this June. My treatment is in phase "we'll try this medication and see what it will do".

So, as I said: I was excited about the conservatory. But then the depression came and it was really bad this time. Music stopped making sense for me. It became a bunch of strange, illogical sounds. I literally wasn't able to compose anymore. Then I stated attending a technical university (because studying two schools simultaneously is really a great idea) and it went even worse. I couldn't do all the things I had to do. I thought it would be better if I would be dead. And so on... many other things that depressed people usually do.

I had to leave the conservatory.

I left the school only temporarily for now so I can return there. But I'm not sure if I'll be able to do so.

I talked to my composition teacher about my problems. I didn't want to do so, but I was meeting him for quite a long time and I thought it would be rude not to tell him anything. He told me that he had a student who came from a technicians family (as well as me) and had hard time pushing ahead his career as a musician (as well as me). He developed schizophrenia during his study, stopped to be able to attend the school and slowly found out that music was actually the trigger of his illness.

Maybe music is the thing which is causing my problems. And maybe not. I don't know. I'm not sure about anything. However, I was still feeling bad until I've got better medication.

Now I feel better, so I can think about stupid things, such as "my life has no purpose now" or "I could have became a great composer and now I'm a substandard programmer". Music was always kind of mission for me. And everything I've ever dreamed about has disappeared now.

 

Computer engineer student here. Same story, it even makes me laugh because we're practically the same! There's a difference: I would say that my story was even more sad than yours.

I've always wanted to enter to music degree, but since I come from a lower class family and I never could really start a musical career. At 14 I learnt myself to play the piano (stupid synthesia tutorials) and I was practically all my teenager life (14-18) wishing to attend music or have a piano professor, but I couldn't even afford a piano (I had a simple 5 octaves keyboard), last year I finally managed to buy an decent (not even good) digital piano and started reading sheet and composing at 18. I've improving a lot, and I could buy more things lately thanks that I work too, and study. Now with a 3rd year I can't even manage to have time (the only one that I have, I use it for compose/play or alike, like posting here, even evading going out with my friends),  so I can't even think about going to conservatory.

At the second year (a year ago), I learn a bit of sight-reading and composing, I had a bad economical time, and also got depression, anxiety and stress at levels that hearing yours doesn't even affect me. In fact I closed myself so bad that I don't even know if I develop schizophrenia or something, that is usually the result of closing yourself. I even evaded my own family in my own house. I ate alone, I lived in my room and eventually thanks to that situation evade even the studies and music. I started to suffer an existencial crisis: As a person, because the only thing I could do is playing a video game, and couldn't study/go classes and as a composer, because after trying so hard, I couldn't do nothing, and whenever I saw someone better than me it just made me feel like sh*t. I hated music, I hated myself, I wanted to die, a real feeling of it.

I didn't even go to any `psycologist or any of this short, but after this I recovered without anything, pills or whatever. Now I love music and everyday I live for it. I can't live without music. Yet I have my bad days, where I'm just bored of the music, then I try finding other kind of music (from other classical genre such Impressionistic/Post-Modern, Atonal, to Jazz or Metal), but mostly I love music, and I'm actually waiting to end my career to enter in any kind of music institution and learn piano/composition the best I can.

You're just at this phase, that's nothing, belive me. You love music, you just can't focus on music for the time being, so try to recover the early you can, and don't force yourself. On the other hand you need to force yourself to break your habit of closing yourself and not meet anyone, because even if it's painful at the start, eventually you will realise that it's actually the best.

Be strong!!

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The struggle is real.

We all will sure go throug tough periods, and that's normal. Composition is the most important thing I do in my life, and it often brings me a lot of joy. 

What usualy helps me through the moments of hardship is remembering the past moments of joy, without forgeting about the tough ones that preceeded and followed them. That helps put everything in perspective, and shows me that, although it's been tough, it'll be fine once again.

This usually becomes more effective the more periods you go through, because you have a bigger "database" (couldn't find a better word, lol) to compare.

Also, your pieces are very amusing, which is a hard thing to get.

In case you need help with something, or just want to talk, feel free to message me. 

I hope you get better 🙂

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On 11/24/2019 at 9:01 PM, Anna and her demons said:

@Quinn

I've never really thought about being famous… at least when not manic. I don't mean a "famous composer". I mean a "composer who's not able to write a single note".

That's what makes me sad. I can't compose. Maybe it's because I'm tired. I'm still depressed. I still think it would be better if I died. It probably isn't the right time to be succesful now. And I don't have much free time anyways. Programming is hard. And studying at a technical university is exhausting.

I hope I'll be able to return to music. Maybe one day.

 

This is sorrowing indeed. You'll compose nothing if you were to die. But you're asking BIG of yourself: programming takes an awful lot out of its practitioners and you're taking a technical university course AS WELL? No wonder you're tired. Your energies are always at risk of draining. You don't say what aspect of programming you do - coding? -specification? They both need a lot of concentration no matter what your working environment is like. Try to look to the future when your studies are over, Plan for a few weeks' rest away from everything. You've shown yourself that you can compose so music will always be with you. Wait until you're rested up and it'll be there when you're ready.

Wishing you well...

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