Thursday, 18 May 2017

Anxiety and concerts

Ever since I was 14 and went to my first pop concert,  S club 7 I got got a buzz for seeing groups and artists I enjoy supporting,  live. From a young age I have  been passionate about music and the artists I like.  I can be quite randomly knowledgeable about them and their music. This helps me through difficult and more challenging times in life and has lifted my mood. 6 years ago my love of music brought my boyfriend Matt and I together through The Saturdays and I've made some special friends through them and other groups over the years. Despite all the loyalty,  support and passion I have for the artists I love, many of you will be aware of my anxiety and social anxiety struggles as well
as my confidence, one trigger involving crowds or big groups including concerts. Also the thought of getting  trapped in my seat and unable to leave quickly, and noise. I will always say that whenever I've seen Mollie King in concert either solo or as part of The Saturdays the moment she gets on stage it's like all my anxieties melt away. In person she's always been really understanding towards my anxieties in these situations.

For me this can escalate into bad  panic attacks, which when you also have social anxiety and the thought of an arena full of people looking at you, with all of the worries and thoughts doesn't help things. Not everyone with anxiety will find crowds or being in big groups of people challenging.   For those of you who are dyspraxic and read my blogs some dyspraxics may have anxiety disorder struggles some may not, some may also find they are also sensory sensitive to noise, lights and smells, some may not. I find as well as my anxiety I can be quite noise sensitive.

I wasn't able to go to many concerts at all for a while due to my anxiety and a bad panic attack experience, but this year with help from CBT and the reassurance of my boyfriend it's something which we both want to get back into and manage better in little gradual steps. As music has always been an escape from reality for me, with two concerts looming, I thought I would blog about some  tips which I hope will help me, help with my confidence and maybe help others in a similar position. I will always say my experiences have made me have have  a lot of empathy and understanding for others. If you see someone looking anxious or overwhelmed at a concert give them space and a little bit of empathy. It will mean a lot to them.

  • My boyfriend always tries to get seats on the end of rows so if we need to get out we can if I feel overwhelmed or panicky
  • Go at your own pace and in your own time, don't try and do too much at once break it down.
  • Take something to fidget with like a tangle or fidget cube
  • Ear plugs if you find you're noise sensitive
  • Don't be scared to take time out if you need to and plan time afterwards, I really struggle with fatigue and energy levels the day after a concert from all of the adrenaline and energy  and need time out. 
  • CBT and other strategies to help with breathing, panic attacks and thought challenging, which is something I'm still working on.
  • Most importantly you're not alone, it can often feel like it's just you experiencing anxiety and finding situations hard 
  • Anxiety UK have a lot of information on their website.
  • Choose artists who's music or aura you connect with or will empower you, I love this quote I've found!

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