Surviving A Concert

Concerts were never a huge deal to me when I was a kid. I went to a few and enjoyed them. But they were a very different experience. I went to several Carmen concerts when I was young, they were always free. I was only allowed to listen to Christian music as a kid and so concerts weren’t as big a thing and the artists that really pushed concerts we weren’t really allowed to listen to and certainly wouldn’t have been able to go to a concert. In highschool I went to my first big concert called Winter Jam which had a lot of different Christian artists. Once I got to college and started listening to what I wanted to, I became more interested in potentially going to more concerts. I wish I had actually tried to go to more concerts before I started having my anxiety issues. In a past post I talked about my trip to Disney World. That trip was my first big realization that my anxiety was getting worse. IMG_3620 (2).JPG

This week I went to my first concert in a few years and while my experience was nothing like the Disney trip it definitely affected me. I went with my sister and one of our friends. We saw Regina Spektor. It was an absolutely amazing concert and I’m so glad I went but it was definitely a struggle. Thankfully we were early and we got a decent spot, we didn’t have actual seats, it was standing room. It started off okay but it got crowded pretty quick. We were standing right behind a rail on the second rise, so thankfully we weren’t in the mass of people. For the first half of the concert I was fine, I was really into the music and Regina Spektor was just amazing and so adorable. However at one point more people had started to move to the main floor in front of us and to the side. At one point it felt like my sister who was to the right of me, was suddenly getting closer and closer. The stranger that was to the left of me also felt like they were suddenly encroaching on my space. There were several moments were I almost elbowed my sister without thinking because I was getting so anxious.

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There was a moment were I felt sick to my stomach and wanted nothing more than to rush to the bathroom. I think one of the reasons I managed to  make it through was because of her music, it had a calming affect on me and I really was enjoying myself. Despite that I couldn’t help but look forward to when the concert would be over so I could leave. So when they cheered for an encore I cheered along but every minute that passed I hoped that there wouldn’t be one. There was an encore and it was amazing but I was still glad when it ended. Thankfully we waited until the majority of the people had left which gave me a chance to get some “air”. I have noticed that my anxiety seems to be worse when I’m surrounded by a lot of people and I’m moving, which was one of the problems I had at Disney World.

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As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that I’ve always struggled with this but for some reason it gets worse as I get older. Even though I am no longer shy around people, I am now nervous around large groups of new people. While I no longer obsess over what others think of me, I now become anxious and self conscious being around a lot of people even those I know. I use to be, uneasy around people but it’s like now it stems from somewhere else than it used to and its definitely worse. I don’t enjoy being this way. It doesn’t really affect one on one time with close friends at least not in most situations. However it has in a few small ways. For example I began to withdraw from other close friends, while there were many reasons for my withdrawal, a big reason was because they started hanging out with other people and I felt the only way to spend time with them was to hang out with those other people and that always heightened my anxiety.

Some days I wonder how I ever made it through college, although some of the breakdowns I had make more sense now. Thankfully I haven’t really had any like that in awhile. The more I stress myself out the worse my anxiety gets which is why it was so bad senior year. I was working three jobs with a full load of classes, plus a lot of personal stuff going on. This worries me for the upcoming months. Soon I will be starting my summer job and my plan was to keep my other two jobs which will require a lot of maneuvering and leave me with no freetime. I’m not sure how I’ll handle it. If you have any stress relieving tips, they’d be much appreciated.

Surviving Disney World

The most magical place in the world…also the scariest place in the world.

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Recently I returned from Orlando, Florida where I went on vacation with my family to Disney World. Let me say right away, I was very excited for this trip. This was my third time going to Disney World, in the past I have gone when I was around 8 years old and then again when I was sixteen and now twenty five. I know Disney World will always have a special place in my heart and I will never be to old for it. However, I may one day be to anxious for it.

Over the years I have slowly begun to have more and more trouble with crowds, being around large groups of people and sometimes even being around people for too long. I’m not completely sure whether it seems like it’s gotten worse because I’m older and understand what’s happening to me better than when I was little or if it is actually getting worse. Whatever the case, my “social anxiety” is definitely higher than most. (I put social anxiety in quotes because I hate to simply label myself that way because I know it’s a very complex issue. I just don’t know what else to call what I have) However, I am fairly good at hiding my anxiety and that is what I did on our trip because there really was no other way.

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The living room of our resort.

When my family goes on trips we don’t really relax. I don’t think we know how to. All of our vacations have always been very activity heavy. We always pick a place that has lot to do, so we’ve never vacationed in like Ohio or Indiana. From the minute we arrive at our resort or campground, we are doing something. Every day is planned out ahead of time and there is little room left for anything but sleep and sometimes very little of that. Now I’m sure most people who go to Disney World know their days are going to be very full and hectic and don’t expect much relaxation, but that can be a problem. Especially if you have someone like me in your family.

By the end of our 9 day vacation I was ready to go home, I think a part of me was ready to go home about halfway through but I also still really wanted to be. By the end of each day I was exhausted both physically and mentally. I started to notice halfway through that I was snapping with people more and wasn’t always in the brightest mood. Despite that I was really enjoying myself, because I really do love Disney World but it was still tough.

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The worst reaction I had was on our last day there. We had gone to Magic Kingdom. For most of the day it was actually pretty good, it wasn’t super crowded. The park was at a 5 out of 10, on their crowd rating thing. However, once it got closer to the park closing things took a turn for the worse. We had gone on the day of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party. So as we were headed to the exit people were pouring in. By the time we reached the monorail to leave the park I was a mess. I didn’t tell my family but as we were waiting for the monorail I suddenly felt sick to my stomach, and was feeling short of breath. My hands were shaking and I just kind of felt panicky. Although I’m not sure if the panic was like a side effect or if I was panicky because I didn’t want anyone else to notice. 

I’ve never really experienced anything like that, not that I can remember anyway. It was kind of scary. It really made me realize though that I need to be more aware of what I can handle and not be ashamed that I can’t handle as much as other people. I know that my trip would have been way more enjoyable if I had been able to take time to myself when I needed and had a break in between each visit to the parks. Now obviously I wouldn’t have been able to do this on this trip because I was with my family and was kind of stuck with their schedule but I know if I ever go to Disney World again it will have to be on my terms. Which also means I will be going on the Tower of Terror multiple times!

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