In a previous blog I explained about my disabilities and health conditions and how they affected me. In this new blog I will explain in more detail how they affect me. This blog will feature two other people about their experiences with their own conditions/disabilities. I am hoping people will learn something from this post, not only about the conditions themselves but also how people cope and also that not everything is visible just from looking at someone.
Who am I and what do I do?
For the past three years I have been composing for many different audio-drama based productions. Some of which I have ended up as a finalist in national awards for several pieces of my music and some of the shows have grown quite a large fan base. I have also scored a short film and now also working on a video game. Before this I completed a 2 year extended diploma in Music Practice and also a three-year Bachelors degree in Music Performance and Technology.
The conditions I have are as follows
is a developmental disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.
A developmental disorder of the brain in childhood causing difficultly in activities requiring coordination and movement
OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)
A behavioural condition were a person has a tendency towards excessive orderliness, perfectionism, and great attention to detail.
Tinnitus with sensitive hearing
A condition that causes ringing or other sounds in the ears. Some people have it on and off, other have it constantly in varying degrees of intensity.
Curvature of the spine
Someone recently asked: how does having all these problems affect my creative flow? Well, having problems with my hearing means I can’t always play or compose when I want. I am sure many of you have woke up those moments were your head had been loaded with creative ideas, and put them straight into your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I too have these, but it’s 50/50 if I’ll be able to actually get these ideas out. Over the years I have got use to creating some tracks silently – remembering what instruments sound like and just writing away, then once I have a good day (or rather a better day) than I can listen back to it.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, people like to mix on headphones. Sadly this isn’t an option for me as it’s very bad for tinnitus and it makes me feel dizzy. Over the past year I have found some new ways of being creative when my hearing is bad – I have been creating 3D pictures and models in blender. I have left some of these images below for you to have a look at.
For the past five months I have been working on an online audio drama series where we release an episode every week which can range from 15-50 minutes. Having my hearing conditions means I have adapted to working faster; I can’t procrastinate, I have to take advantage of the time I have. Speaking to a few other composers I notice many of them mention they procrastinate sitting undecided in front of their DAW for hours on end undecided. On a number of projects I have worked on the shows feature sensor bleeps. This is a particular sound which I find unpleasant and over the course of several projects/episodes I have learnt listeners are not too fond of it either – but they won’t hear it as often as those who are working on the project. On the current show I am working on, I suggested a different and more creative sound instead of the traditional high pitched bleep and the response from fans has been positive to this change.
One thing that my conditions can affect as whether people invite me to events and social occasions. I have personally personally been called selfish because I won’t socialise enough or go to certain events. If I were well enough I could maybe attend them, but it’s not worth a few hours to please someone else what when it could be absolute weeks of torture for me in the build-up, during and after the event. When you are unwell it is quite easy to forget what it feels like to be well. Another thing to mention is people don’t like being around other people who are ill, I saw anexample of this on a BBC video were a few a man with cancer wasn’t invited to parties or to friend meet-ups because they were afraid he would “bring the mood down”.
I asked Pacific S. Obadiah who is in charge of of the show SCP Archives a few questions regarding my disabilities/conditions.
Q1 Do you think my disabilities affect my ability work with you?
No, I’ve never witnessed your disability affect the work you were able to produce or the timeliness in delivering it.
Q2 Do I provide any benefits compared to other people you work with?
Yes! I feel you’ve developed a very focused ear, and you’re able to pick up on minute details that others might not have caught, and in turn, bring up the whole quality of the production. You’re also a very quick learner and you’ve been able to pick up new instruments, from an assortment of strings to synth and cog workings to create wholly unique scores.
Q3 Why choose me over so many other composers?
I’ve always appreciated the speed and effort you’ve put into your work, but most of all, I feel you’re always proud of what you do- And if you’re not, you work until you are proud of your music. Also, I feel as a creative partner, you keep me accountable, hold me to deadlines, and generally improve the quality of whatever project we’re collaborating on.
Since my last blog nothing has changed regarding my spine, and I still haven’t lost any weight to improve this. Being in pain and stressed from several of my conditions still means I still comfort eat. The chocolate bars are calling. While I don’t necessary recommend eating a hundred a day comfort eating can ease the pain a bit.
Having Asperger’s Syndrome can be an advantage as I can be blunt and clear with my questions and answers, although some people are taken aback by this. It can be very confusing even without Asperger’s if a client is unclear in what they are asking for, so it’s important to bombard them with questions until they make it as clear as possible. There’s No point wasting your time spending days or weeks composing music you think is what they want, only to find it isn’t what they wanted and having to do it again.
In the following section i speak to other fellow creatives
Q1 Who are you and what do you do? My Name is Thomas Rippert, I am German and I am a retired Graphic-Designer. I am still working for Friend, when they need some graphic-stuff done, I do their websites and such.
Q2 What conditions/disabilities do you have and how do they affect you?
I have Multiple Sclerosis and the complete spectrum that comes with it. There is depression and that is the Cat that bites itself in the Tail, because depression ignites stress, Stress ignites Multiple Sclerosis which ignites depression and so on. It affects me in many ways. Some days it´s hard to walk straight, some days it´s hard to see, some days there is lots of fatigue. The depression means that I put myself into hiding, because in the active parts I can´t stay folks and won´t be able to endure large groups, sometimes even one person is more than enough. But thanks to pharmacy, I can live with that, more or less.
Q3 How do you overcome and deal with your conditions/disabilities?
That is the hardest question. You can´t, and shall not, ignore Multiple Sclerosis, because when you do, you can push yourself physically to far and will get the feedback the next day, and that is never pleasant. I did always work much, my whole life, and I try to do as much as I can. Even though I can´t work physically anymore, I can do so mentally. I create a lot of graphic stuff, like tag-pictures for the audio dramas that I collect, because mostly they do not have very good ones. Some of my work is used by some audio drama creators, and that makes me pretty proud. I do not hide my conditions and try to explain to people what is going on with me at the moment. Things like “why do I walk like I am drunk, even though I haven´t even had alcohol since 1998?”. I think it is important to show the healthy people that there are so many sicknesses that can´t be seen. Most people think that I am a pretty healthy guy, because you can´t see MS, and I can hide it well, when I want to. There is no overcoming, just living with it. But the hardest part, is not to let it control your life.
Q1 Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Nick, a voiceover artist, presenter, actor and college support worker from Romford.
Q2 What conditions/disabilities do you have and how do they affect you?
Asperger’s Syndrome and social anxiety. I describe these as taking longer than most people to process information and perform tasks, meaning I work at a slower pace than most people and have stifled speech. I’m also prone to meltdowns when I’m feeling overwhelmed or get caught unexpectedly in a crowd.
How do you overcome and deal with your conditions/disabilities?
I always say the best way of fighting back is with what you’re good at. My work, both in the media and education sector, brings out the best in me and helps me work with people on manageable terms. Meditation, taking time to stop and breathe, and being open about my condition with others have all really helped me manage myself better too.