Many musicians who suffer MFD (Musician’s Focal Dystonia) refuse to make it public, sometimes because they’re afraid of losing their job, some other ones because of lack of empathy from their colleagues, or just because they’re embarrassed to show themselves weak.
I think we should all write our own story, because the mere fact of writing it is absolutely liberating.
This is my story:
Everything started in 1990, while I was in the last year course of my guitar studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid.
I clearly remember that I was practicing Agustín Barrios Waltz Nº 4 OP 8 full of arpeggios and scales and I noticed that I unusually failed with the index finger of my right hand.
The finger went slightly above the string I wanted to play. A few days later, no matter how much attention I put on my finger, the error became more and more pronounced, to the point that the finger, instead of reaching the desired string, curved into the string just above it. Around this time, I couldn’t understand at all what was going on. I began to fall prey to desperation and suddenly my head was flooded with fears and ghosts.
After a week, when I played with the index finger, it did not longer return with the same speed as the other fingers and other involuntary movements appeared soon.
At the same time that the index finger was curved into the palm of the hand, the middle finger extended outward without control. In a few days, the position of my right hand was completely distorted.
A silent intruder had settled into my body and controlled my hand against my will.
Panic took over myself and clouded my mind.
It took me a while to realize that the middle finger extending outward without control was just trying to compensate the index finger curling into the palm, but around this time I was not able to play a simple arpeggio.
All the dreams that it housed, as well as the enormous work done over the years, in just one month, had been shattered.
I literally felt that a curse had fallen on my head.
After a long pilgrimage of more than a year to the examination rooms of doctors, specialists, acupuncturists and all kinds of alternative physiotherapists, I only managed to get a name for what I suffered. It was no more and no less than an incurable disease called Focal Dystonia.