If it weren’t for nerves I would probably have done something completely different with my life. Maybe that is a positive as I have loved what I now do but I adored orchestral music and playing the flute. That was dream plan one. But —- my hands shook when under pressure. If I got a grip on my hands, my knees shook. Sometimes if I had my mother in the front row making constant eye contact I could get through but you can’t do that all your life.
I could usually start out feeling fine. Then after about 7 to 10 minutes it would come over me like a wave. It seemed to happen automatically even when I felt really confident. It was as if my body acted without instructions from my brain.
As a school girl I used to regularly feel panicky and like fainting in our school chapel. Others had the same problem. Not sure if that is related.
Over the years I developed ways of getting through and after about age 60 it seems to have disappeared. Doubt an orchestra would take me now!
I do hope younger performers find a way round their nerves so they can follow a career in performing if they want to!