For many people social events are something to look forward to but they are also something which bring about worry. These people aren’t rare, there are many of us who experience panic in busy locations, stressful situations and many other reasons.
I suffer from anxiety.
I’ve written about my anxiety quite a few times here, sharing the dark place I end up at if/when a panic attack occurs. I’ve also shared some Tips to Stop an Anxiety Attack hoping it could help someone else. For people like myself the easiest thing to do would be to avoid anything that could bring on anxiety. It would be easier to just stay home, safe in my little cocoon and not face the worry.
I’ve had periods where I couldn’t leave the house, where the threat of anxiety was enough to immobilize me but these days I refuse to stay huddled in fear like that. I force myself to leave my house as often as possible, even if it’s just to walk up the road. At least once a year I attend blogger conferences which are a true feat for me.
This week I’m attending a blogger conference, this means that I’ll be staying in the city (a very busy place) for 2 nights, I’ll be surrounded by people, meeting and greeting and even speaking on a panel. As I’ve told people in my life about this, they’re often shocked. They know how uncomfortable situations like these can make me and can’t understand how I do it.
It’s simple really, I had a GREAT psychologist who taught me how to handle things like this in my life. As long as it’s not a regular thing I know that I can enjoy myself….but also realize that I won’t be experiencing the conference fully as others will because my limitations won’t allow me to.
These days I prepare for events, and by this I mean that I prepare my experience based upon the terms which my health actually allows.
Ten Tips For People With Anxiety Attending an Event
- Support – I have a fabulous support system at the conference. I’m fortunate enough to have people who will attend events with me and be my shoulder in situations in case I need them.
- Location – The hotel where I will stay is close to the conference which means that I can leave to have a rest when necessary through the day. I do plan my day around my exhaustion which generally hits after a short time of concentrating.
- Transportation – By arranging my rides before the conference, I remove the stress. I’ve arranged a ride into Toronto with someone I trust as a driver, I’ve also arranged rides to and from events during the conference weekend.
- Communication – I’ve learned how to say no. I have accepted that I cannot attend each and every festivity I want to and people really don’t mind when I say no thank you. I also know how to communicate to my support team how I’m feeling in case I need help.
- Medication – Being up to date with my meds is key, if my pain levels rise too quickly it will have an overall negative effect.
- Exit Plan – Whether it’s at the conference, an evening event or anywhere else I always have an exit strategy. I have rides secured at the other end of a phone and there are no recriminations if I do leave.
- Quiet Locations – At each function I find quiet spots to regroup. These might be a ladies room, a hallway, a closet…..wherever I can just BREATHE in private.
- Acceptance – By accepting I have this limitation doesn’t mean I expect it to happen. It does however empower me, by getting to know my body I can often predict when I need to leave and call it a day.
- Recovery – Events like these have an effect upon me, my energy will need to be restored over the days following so I try not to schedule anything in.
- FUN – I go in with a good attitude, looking forward to connecting with others and having a great time……
I know that I will have a wonderful time at ShesConnected this week, even if I am unsure how my anxiety will be. All I can do is prepare in advance and take it slow, knowing that I’ve prepared for my worst-case scenario…….
How do you prepare for big events if you experience anxiety?