The Inner Monologue – sports psychology meets anxiety

My second love, besides horses, is musical theatre. Oh, and Joey of course. Oh and Jack. Oh god, and Pie! He should have been first! Ok, it’s one of my loves. Musical theatre is something I am often inspired by. I produced a version of The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown a few years ago and there was an audition song in it – Climbing Uphill. Cathy sings for an audition but we hear her inner monologue….

I should have told them I was sick last week

They’re gonna think this is the way I sing

Why is the pianist playing so loud?

Should I sing louder?

I’ll sing louder.

Maybe I should stop and start over

I’m gonna stop and start over…….

And I totally understand this feeling! You may not know that I actually studied Sports Psychology. I know some stuff – a diploma worth of stuff. But applying the theory to the sports person when it’s me, struggling with confidence, has been so hard, to be fair pretty impossible. It actually was just adding to my anxiety; thinking how I was even getting the mental preparation wrong!

Jumping at Wales and the West last week, my monologue went something like this:

I should have shortened my stirrups one more hole

Oh god, I’m actually in the ring

Why am I doing this? I don’t know what I’m doing!

Should I just go out.

The mother would be ok about it.

Maybe I should just jump one more.

Come on Daisy, you can do one more.

Maybe a YouTube parody song is needed….

This resulted in a clear round but an inability to breath. I had to jump off and undo my shirt and tie to catch my breath. Anyone around would have thought I was having an asthma attack but it was closer to a panic attack!

Today, we are heading to Edenbridge and Oxted show. I have to just try and keep as calm as possible and continue the baby steps but God it is hard. So incredibly hard to keep the brain in control when all it wants to do is give up on everything and hide under the duvet.

I have found glimpses though where I am enjoying the process. My second lesson with Wiola of Aspire Equestrian was great – focusing on some more technical riding helped me stop thinking so much! And on Saturday, I rode down the drive, into a field and cantered round with a smile on my face – this may sound like nothing for most but it was a weirdly big step for Jack and I to be in a big open space alone.

I am seeing physical improvements in my riding and my partnership with Jack too. The brain may take longer to catch up….

Any tips on controlling the monologue?

Any other Musical Theatre fans – I am producing a new musical called Bromance: The Dudesical. 16th – 24th October at The Other Palace, London. It will be a fun night out and I would love to see you there! More info here.

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  1. Hi Daisy – brilliant to read you and jack are out and about 🙂 A trick I use when monologue is getting on my nerves when walking is to tape it on my phone – I usually use dictation for fiction ideas and blog ideas etc but I have found that listening to myself back if I am having a wobbly session makes me a lot less hard on myself as I can hear how hard I am trying to sort things out – it is a bit like listening to a friend talking who is in trouble – I know it sounds daft and I don’t hang on to the recordings – don’t very often listen back now but my ‘chundering’ was putting me off heading out for a walk let alone a ride and it got me through that and I have ridden Bud with my lapel mic attached much the same. I can ask my self if my fear loop is actually true as well which also tends to at least make it switch tack. I have given up caring if folk think I am mad talking to myself 🙂 At least it helps me do the things I want to and not sit around wishing I was…:)

  2. Too late for any advice as I’m hoping you are already doing what you are brilliant at! How about ” never give up on a good thing?” Those good moments where you are really enjoying riding will soon outweigh the wobbly ones ?? it has taken a fair while for you to lose your confidence so it probably won’t come back overnight but I’m pretty sure it will happen one day. Everything crossed for a great day today. Xxx

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