Last night, I went out to see my friends play a show at First Friday in Downtown Phoenix. First Friday is this awesome open market type feel with live music, art, clothes, food and so much more. It is such a cool experience and I’ve been going for a few years now to see my friends, The Color 8 Band, who are dope. Go check them out, killer band. They are the ones in the picture. Anyways, it is a very popular place so there are people everywhere. And my friends are killer so they have a tendency to draw a big crowd. Even though I’ve been going to these shows and environments for a while, I still get very anxious when I’m surrounded by a lot of people. It can be really tough for me to still put myself out there and go out and live life. Concerts have always been hard for me and have gotten worse since I’ve developed my anxiety. I want to try to live the most normal life that I can and I want to support my friends. I’m at a point in my life where I can’t let my anxiety stop me from enjoying life’s moments. So here are a few things that I have learned to do when I’m in big crowds.
- Take any precautionary measures before you actually leave. Aka- take your meds Kori. I make sure that I have taken whatever medication I need to before I go anywhere, and I take extra medication that I have for situations. I do this about 30 minutes before I leave my house so I feel more relaxed when I arrive. I also listen to music on my way there to keep myself in a relaxed mindset.
- When getting to the place or event, I kind of scope out the place. This is more when I’m somewhere new for the first time. I look for how many people are there or how many there could be. I also check where exits and bathrooms are so that I can leave if I need to or take a break in the bathroom if I’m feeling to overwhelmed.
- I know this is the opposite of living, but I try to stand in the back or a place where I won’t be crowded by a lot of people. When I go to my friends shows, I know how their sets work and what people do. I know that if I stand behind the band, I won’t feel as crowded or possibly get hit by dancing people. At standing room only concerts and shows, I stay towards the back usually as I will have more air back there and it won’t be as pushy. In seated concerts, usually not as big of a deal. I know that it takes away from the experience of it all but I have to do what is best for me. If I can stay at a concert or event for the entire time, I call it a win no matter how anxious I get.
- If I start feeling overwhelmed and too claustrophobic, I walk away. I will step out of the crowd and move away from as many people as I can. Whether it is walking outside, or in the bathroom, I have to take a moment to myself. I give myself a chance to breath and let the anxiety pass. If I need to stay at that far away place, I do. Last night, I started feeling very crowded and anxious as more people started crowding around where I was. I knew that I had to step away. I quickly took myself out of the crowd and walked around a little bit. I took a few big breaths and just stood off to the side for a while. For the rest of the show, I stood pretty far away but I was completely isolated from the crowd so I had all the air I needed. It helps me so I do it. Even though I am trying to go out and live, I am not going to push myself to my limits where I pass out because I feel like I can’t breathe.
Having anxiety and going out can be super hard. It has been one of the hardest parts of my life to overcome with my anxiety. Like everything in my life, its a work in progress. It’s really hard for me to continue to put myself in situations where I might feel anxious and could potentially have a panic attack. And I definitely have had a panic attack at my friends shows, concerts and other large events. It isn’t fun and it’s extremely scary. However, I can only move past this and continue to live my life. As I continue to get older, I’m hoping this will get easier and it has over the past year. If anyone reads this and sees me out, don’t hate me if I don’t want to be super close to the action or need a second. And don’t judge people for doing what they need to do to get through the day. Sometimes, we don’t have a choice.
PS: Apparently, I’ve had this blog for a month so that’s cool. It’s been amazing being on this journey and being more open with my life and how I manage my mental health. Thanks for reading!