Its not very often that someone inspires me, but today I have just discovered a painter who is blind. He is a complete inspiration to any one suffering a disability, his name is Sargy Mann. This man has ignored his disability and become a world renowned painter. He has not let his disability take ownership of his identity, which as a disabled person myself I can tell that is a very difficult thing to do. You not only have the inner demons shouting in your brain but you also have the surrounding environmental factors to contend with, such as when your doctor tells you there is no cure for what you have, you will have it for the rest of your life and thats it!
I was a full time professional singer/songwriter, singing teacher, with an album just recorded ready for release, and a busy stage school running over 7 schools around Wales. I thrived on stress and loved working to all the deadlines for musicals that I had written, and singles set for release dates. I woke up one morning with the most croakiest voice ever, that day I had rehearsals with my band and two singing classes of 30 adults to take. I continued to battle through, because that is what you do when your self employed and in the music industry. You are always aware that someone may steal your spot so you have to soldier on and keep this spot clear of predators.
Over the weeks and months my voice and chest became so bad that I had to give up my teaching for a while. I had seen over 7 ENT consultants, constant cameras up my nose, and down my throat, 3 speech therapists and so many doctors appointments, I cannot even remember. For this voice issue I was suffering from, I was offered Anti Depressants, Counselling, and Speech Therapy all did not help and my condition got worse to the point that I had lost all my contracts in singing and teaching. The ironic thing was I could still sing, sometimes some of my lower range was a struggle but my falsetto was almost angelic and better than it had ever been. How could this be I could sing but couldn’t speak without suffering really bad pain and spasms in my throat. I continued to sing and record in my home studio but I became very anxious about speaking with people, due to the fact I was in pain when I did speak.
It took 3 long years to be diagnosed with Laryngeal Dystonia. In that time I had a part time job with the local council teaching young people aged 11-25 performance skills, animation and film making. The young people just seemed to except my weird voice and I also had a great colleague who was a massive help to me throughout this time. I was told that the condition was life long, there was no cure and it is very rare, so I decided to go public with my condition and raise some awareness for Dystonia. My hope in doing this was that people would know or maybe have heard of the condition when I would say what it was that I was suffering from.
I cannot tell you how embarrassing it is when you are speaking with someone and your voice and throat lock up and you cannot get words out, then when they do finally come out they are all broken up. Talking is like walking a tight rope for me. You then have that embarrassing moment which feels like an eternality when the listener is just staring at you in disbelief.
I now have treatment for my condition. I have botulin injections into my laryngeal muscles every 4 months. Being a singer and part time/singing teacher, YES I am back teaching! this is a nightmare as my vocal chords are constantly changing, so I have to keep retraining them and doing strange vocal tricks but I always did enjoy a challenge.
So against all adversity we have a blind painter and a singer/songwriter who without poison being injected into her throat cannot speak.
Do not let your disability become who you are, you are much more than you will ever take credit for.
Visit my music store: Lianne Morgan