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Vocal damage, losing sight of my goals

I need to see an ENT to be sure, but I feel pretty confident that I have vocal nodules. It would explain all of the issues I’ve been having over the last 9 months or so that everyone keeps telling me “if you’re using proper form and staying hydrated, shouldn’t be happening”.

“Just drink some lemon and fennel tea” - yes, I’ve tried this many times
“Just take breaks every 30 minutes” - my voice breaks after 30 seconds
“warm up before recording” - yes hunnie
“go on vocal rest every once in a while” - lately I’ve been on vocal rest every hour of the day that I’m not recording because my voice is so tender
“drink lots of water” - your girl’s pee is clear folks
“don’t strain your voice, stand up straight, breathe from your diaphram…” - yes, yes, yes. I promise, I am.

I have gotten a lot of really great advice but the fact is, there is something WRONG with my voice. I used to be able to record for several hours in one day. Now I am lucky if I get 5 minutes in without half of my register totally dropping out. It is frustrating, demoralizing, and makes me feel like I’m crazy when I talk about it to other VO artists because they keep saying “it shouldn’t be happening if XYZ…”

Anyone else ever had vocal nodules? Did you need surgery to correct them?

I’m feeling super down lately and having a hard time remembering why I love what I do if I’m honest. Poor me etc. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Hope you’re all keeping safe.

Gwyneth x

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I was with a friend (a singer) who was being checked for vocal nodules some time back as they were nervous.
Looking at the screen when they did the scope wasn’t pleasant (felt pretty faint if I am honest :slight_smile: )
However, he said it was mildly unpleasant but it didn’t bother him. He did then have the surgery and it was a day procedure. Was fine afterwards but had to rest his voice for about a month or so as I recall. Again, said it wasn’t sore or too bad.

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Dread to think, if I’m honest. Both the scope and the surgery… although having an excuse to take a month off sounds like bliss at the moment. I’m currently having a hard time justifying 24 hours off once every two weeks.

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Your voice is telling very firmly that you’re over using it. One day off once a fortnight is not enough.

Put your prices up. Rest far more often … and make an appt with the doc.

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The most dreaded diagnosis in my profession is arthritis (of the wrist mostly) because it’s brushes and pens all day your entire life and you have to rotate and move your hand in strange ways and no one really tells you that you need stretching and exercises until chronic pain comes along.

I try to get my friend to a doctor but he has this “it’s degenerative so what’s the point” attitude about it but even so, you still can slow it down or even fix some of it. More importantly, you you can manage it and I think it helps to get some assurance and power back.

Hugs to you. Take good care of yourself and go to a doctor.

PS It’s embarrassing but I still follow some emo bands I was a fan of when I was young and edgy, and all the vocalists of all of those bands have done multiple surgeries you mention. It appears to be your regular Thursday thing if you scream for a living. Everyone’s doing fine, still recording albums that may be out of touch culturally yet still sound great (screaming-wise).

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Maybe I should stop screaming on my voice-overs then? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Thanks for the support. :heart:

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Raise your prices, take 1 month off the grind and only do a select few jobs if you can afford it. Maybe consult a vocal coach and exercise your vocal chords daily and see if things improve after a month. If nothing changes, schedule an appointment with a good ENT and they’ll def be able to help.

It’s okay to step back and allow your body to heal at times. I went through hell last year and had to rest for 4 months straight (2 weeks bed ridden) but things can always bounce back but make sure you don’t push things so far that it becomes difficult to recover from.

All the best and my best wishes for you. :slight_smile:

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I’m sorry to read this. I’ve looked at your portfolio, and you are an excellent voice artist. Seriously. You really should raise your prices. I can;t even imagine doing 15-20 daily voice overs, now matter how quick and easy (but I also work a 9-5 job). I recently nearly doubled my prices to manage my workload and it’s been working out very well. I’ve had repeat buyers order at the new price with no complaints. I’ve had brand new buyers order no questions asked. I’ve also taken great pleasure in politely excusing tire-kickers who I know can’t afford my services. Less work at higher prices is the way to go. You really are very talented. Take care of yourself.

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Hi, wow! This is so kind of you to say. Thank you, I’m really flattered.

I have tried raising my base price - same word count price but double the minimum required to order - and I didn’t get any orders for a week. I did this twice and got scared and switched them back.

Actually, around 50-60% of my work is typically repeat clients, and they never have any complaints about my prices like you said. But since lockdown most of them have disappeared. People I worked with for 3+ years haven’t sent me a message or anything since about March. So I’m very hesitant to raise my prices when almost all my work comes from unique buyers at the moment. It’s a weird position to be in and makes me very anxious about the future. I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread sometimes :confused:

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Chin up, Gwyneth. I always like your posts so I am sad to hear this. Something will be the answer. An example: My ex-girlfriend was sick and in pain for two years with a bad back. It was ruining her life (and my life). Visits to State doctors, visits to private doctors, hypnotherapists, you name it. Hundreds of pounds worth of treatments (there are some serious charlatans out there). Crying, depression, rehabilitation centres, the works. She had to lie down or stand when we ate out. Just a horrible time. I had a few feet problems and orthotics in my trainers solved those problems. One day she went to the place where I had my orthotics made and had a very thin wedge, contoured to one of her feet made. It solved the problem. One tiny wedge corrected an imbalance in height between her left leg and right leg that nobody had diagnosed. No more problems, just like that. So, don’t give up, remain positive (which you already seem to be) and be open to the answer, it will come…
Declan

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Hi Declan! Wow… that’s an amazing coincidence. I’m happy to hear she was able to solve it in the end! I’m sure my ENT and vocal coach will help sort me out. And honestly, this forum keeps me going too. You all are always so kind and supportive :heart:

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We don’t think about our physical self affecting our work. I was at my parents house eating dinner and I stuck a fork right into my two front teeth! They both chipped and couldn’t be repaired except crowns! Ughhh I have always had beautiful teeth and teeth health so this was also devastating to me. I agonized over the decision to have this done. So I finally did. That was last year in October and I am still getting used to my front teeth. My F, TH and S sounds along with certain word combinations are challenging. I feel like I have a speech impediment! However, my clients don’t know it just takes longer for me to record and my editing is sometimes very challenging.

So then you add Covid- 19 and I fear going to the dentist to get them dialed in.

The best thing is listen to your body and get it checked. It’s the right thing to do. Get support from a loved one to move forward. We are also your family here!

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I had a brief look and your gigs are fantastic (bookmarked them for future reference!). I feel what you’re saying about dreading the visit and time off, but I’ve learned the hard way that taking time off to fix things now before they compound is absolutely the best way to go about it, both for your physical and mental health. Otherwise the anxiety piles up and the resentment you feel about yourself and how you expect things to be creates a constant source of dissatisfaction that is maybe what is the source of at least some of the lost motivation! A lot of times I think we feel pressured to always be productive and force our bodies and minds to do things they’re not meant to be doing. I like the work of a contemporary philosopher called Alain De Boton. He proposes a kinder, gentler philosophy to life. Maybe it’ll resonate with you. Good luck!

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Nicely said. That fork in teeth moment is wince-inducing!

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Ouch :grimacing: :hot_face: that hurt me just reading about it! Our mouths and throats are priceless instruments, and ya can’t just replace a part if it gets worn out! (that’s my deep philosophical moment of the month)

Thank you for the kind words :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

This is exactly where I was about a month ago. I started therapy recently and it’s helped me get some perspective on my anxiety - that along with taking work at a slower pace has helped me out tremendously.

I think part of the reason I find Fiverr so stressful is because I want so badly to do well and I worry about not reaching my best potential. My husband and I are trying to buy a house and I think about where I want to be in 5 years and I worry about letting myself down by not hustling enough. But, it’s like you said - work can’t be everything. It’s a tough balance. I’m lucky to have the opportunities I have, at the very least.

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I feel you. I’m much the same. I’m glad you’re getting therapy and that you’re in a slightly better space! I’d highly recommend a yoga/exercise routine that you’re actually happy to follow. Yoga especially has been the single largest improvement that I’ve made in my life recently and has drastically reduced my usually super high anxiety levels because it combines all the things useful to deal with depression and anxiety-physical exercise, mindfulness, meditation, social interaction (if it’s an inperson or online class)

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Thank you for that advice. I do know I would benefit hugely from yoga but I always struggle with setting aside time for that kind of thing! That old excuse :stuck_out_tongue: I’m so happy to hear it’s made a big difference in your life! I need to really consider adding it to my routine.

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I know EXACTLY what you mean. I’m like that at times as well. I hate leaving my work to do something else less productive or I feel bogged down if there’s something I need to do at the back of my mind, but I’ve noticed that the moment I take out time for a class (it helps that it’s fixed at 5pm 4 days a week), so I know regardless of what I’m doing to schedule time for it. Once I do it, I instantly feel better and get more work done in the next few hours than I do sometimes in the entire day despite working 13+ hours. Also, taking small but frequent breaks has helped me with my productivity as well. I’d recommend reading this book called atomic habits if you haven’t done so already. It has a lot of practical insights on habit formation and productivity! I’ve stopped forcing myself to work when low. Instead I use that time to do things I like which helps me recuperate my mood faster to tackle the problem with a fresh mind later and still get it done on time rather than forcing myself to do it while low and increasing my cortisol and stress levels when it doesn’t get done! Anyway, I’ve ranted for too long haha. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!

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