Chad and I just returned from a much needed weekend away. We came back refreshed and rejuvenated; or rejuveshed. 🙂
We had tickets to a Jennifer Nettles concert in Evansville IN. She was headlining a concert of all women country performers. Chad bought tickets as a late Valentines Day gift.
Now I admit, I was anxious leading up to the concert, even though our tickets were on the lower level because of my agoraphobia. I just wanted to enjoy the whole experience and I didn’t want to let Chad down. And we didn’t have ear plugs and we were to be seated close to the front of the stage. My fear of loud noises was also something I worried about.
But you know what? For the first time I can remember, I had absolutely ZERO anxiety the entire time, from the time I entered the venue to the end of the concert. ZERO. Even when they changed the lighting after the intermission…..ZERO!!!
I couldn’t have been more excited about being able to enjoy an entire concert in a large arena without a lick of anxiety. To freely enjoy myself and the beauty of the music around me. With the love of my life by my side.
So today on the blog, I thought I’d give you some tips on enjoying a concert in a big venue if you have agoraphobia or any other anxiety disorder.
- Nap, nap, nap: If at all possible a few hours before the concert, take a nap. One of my anxiety triggers is doing too much or too much going on at once. If I haven’t had sufficient rest during a long day and have a high energy night, I’m more likely to go into a panic attack. I found that with a nap lasting at least an hour this weekend on the night of the concert, I was able to enjoy myself without panicking.
- If you aren’t familiar with the artist or band, do some research and play some songs online before going to the concert. I find that if I don’t do this and don’t know the songs, the instruments can overwhelm the artist and I can’t hear the lyrics. When I can’t hear the lyrics and it’s just loud music with a heavy bass and drums, I get frustrated and can’t enjoy the performance.
- I’ve used this tip as far back as I can remember: Chew some gum and have something with you that you can do with your hands, like a purse. Chewing gum can help calm your nerves and having something to do with your hands can help to ground you and take your mind off what is going on around you.
- If you are able to, go to the venue before the event (like a few days before) and try and sit down in the seat you’ll have. Now, if you are extremely agoraphobic, you may need to try to do this as soon as you buy tickets for the event. Call the venue where the concert will be and ask if you can visit special when the venue is empty. In living with agoraphobia, I’ve learned that venue managers can be extremely understanding and want to give their guests the most comfortable experience possible.
So there you have it. Having concert anxiety that is multi-faceted can be embarrassing and frustrating, but I hope you found these tips helpful.
Remember you are NEVER alone!
Here we are with Tara Thompson who opened for Jennifer Nettles. She’s amazing and SO funny! And moments after this picture was taken, she signed my purse. 🙂
Today I wanted to talk about the main subject of my blog; anxiety. Specifically, I wanted to talk about what anxiety feels like. This is such a hard topic to pin down because the way anxiety feels is specific to each person. But I think it helps others without anxiety to understand those of us that live with it daily.
As weird as it sounds, it wasn’t until really the last year that I realized I had anxiety. From the time I was little, I knew there was something about me that was different; I’ve always been pretty sensitive, but it wasn’t until recently that I was able to put a name on it. I’ve also learned that anxiety runs on both sides of my family.
So what does anxiety feel like? The closest thing I can relate it to is this: imagine if you had a giant cup of coffee with the highest caffeine content. Then you had another. Then you had a Mt. Dew. When you ingest too much caffeine, your heart begins to race, you can get light-headed, and your mouth can go dry. That’s just one example of how anxiety can make me feel.
Another way I can experience anxiety can be a bit more difficult to describe. It’s a sort of feeling out of control of my body while at the same time feeling as though someone is pushing my body down. Sometimes though I feel like I’m being pulled up. My heart also races. The times this normally happens is when I’m having an agoraphobia attack or in a high place.
One thing that is difficult for those that haven’t experienced anxiety like this is that they think it’s something that we can stop. We can’t. We can’t just get over anxiety. There are some things we can do to try to minimize the effect, such as deep breathing and exposure therapy. But at the end of the day, anxiety is something we manage. Understanding from our friends and loved ones goes a long way to helping us live with anxiety.
If you live with anxiety symptoms such as the above or in another form, you are not alone.
Do you wanna know the irony about starting a blog about living with anxiety?? Constantly second guessing myself and being worried about what I’ll write about first, thinking, “Well, I need to begin like this so people understand…..the flow won’t be right unless I say this first…” So in honor of this being my inaugural in-depth post, I’m throwing caution to the wind–in an orderly fashion, I can be a bit OCD–and letting the following serve as an introductory post:
My first inkling of anxiety happened pretty early in my life. I remember being in an auditorium at my sister’s spelling bee when I was about 5. I was pretty tired so I fell asleep and when I woke up, the bee was over. For some reason the next time I went into an auditorium, I felt a sense of doom and was panicky the whole time. It wasn’t until years later when I was able to put a word to my panic: Agoraphobia.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, agoraphobia is defined as, “a fear of being in open or public places”. I’ve also heard it described as being afraid of large open spaces. So it does stand to reason that I would panic in larger places like auditoriums or theatres. Going to a sport’s arena was out of the question. For me having agoraphobia is a double whammy because I also have a fear of heights. Yep. I’m that awesome! 😀 So if I go somewhere where the only available seats are in the balcony, it’s a total no go.
Through the years things have gotten marginally better. I am now able to go to concerts in larger places as long as we have floor seats, and in some instances, seats that are on the floor in a covered portion of the theatre. Even then I more often than not have a few minutes of panic, but return to normal fairly quickly. An understanding spouse and ushers have been a God-send through the years. The one bright spot about having agoraphobia, is that once I’m in a place and am comfortable, I’m able to go back to that same place and enjoy myself with no panic at all.
Living with agoraphobia has taken a whole lifetime to figure out that, 1. It’s a very real fear even if most people don’t understand and, 2. It can be managed as long as you are open to exploring what works for you.
I think I’ll end our first conversation here. I hope this has been helpful to you if you struggle with similar feelings. Remember, you are not alone.