I started to tremble. The sounds of the music started to fade as the sounds of my heartbeat and my breath started to fill my ears, louder and louder still as if I was coming through a tunnel and all the sounds was whooshing towards me. The colors around me started to swirl together and I started sweating even as I was shivering with that scary icy cold feeling you get in your heart when you’re terrified. My hands clenched the barricade bar, but I knew I had to get away. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that i had to get away, so I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, released the barricade finger by finger, and fought my way to the back of the pit. I was in the place that was supposed to be my happiest, but anxiety and a panic attack took it away.
I had every reason in the world to be not just happy, but to be ecstatic. I was finally on Tour , traveling across the country going to multiple Harry Styles concerts. Harry has been instrumental in my life since the days that I decided that I no longer wanted to end my life, but to live. It might sound funny, but his music helped me carry on, even if it was one second at a time.
I was fulfilling a life dream. It was going to be everything that I had wished for, more, actually, than I had hoped for. I had worked very hard for over a year saving and planning for an epic trip to go to 11 Harry Styles shows all over the country. Hershey, Philly, Boston, NYC (x2), Washington DC, Indianapolis, Sacramento, San Jose, and Las Angeles (x2). There were a lot of shows there for a lot of memories. I was with some girls I had become great friends with, and I not only was I getting some AMAZING photos, but I actually held hands with Harry, and he called me out in a concert, asking me where I was from. It was amazing.
But it wasn’t enough to keep my anxiety away.
Even though I was having a great time, there were lots of times that my anxiety rushed through me, making me physically sick. Times when I was at the front of the barricade where I had to move to the back, escaping the crush of people and how overwhelming it all was. Part of my OCD and anxiety was worrying and overanalyzing if others were upset with me, so I ran conversations over and over in my head. I had some many amazing things happening, but the ones that were swirling through my head were the bad ones, or the ones I thought were bad. It reached a point where I began to feel physically sick. I started not enjoying the shows. My body began to feel weak – which scared me because I once spent a week in the hospital paralyzed with Conversion Disorder. I knew what I had to do.
I called my Mom and I went home. And I’m proud I did.
I decided that I had to just take care of what I knew was most important, my mental and physical health. To tell the truth, when I first got home, I felt like I had failed, and mental illness had won. But I talked about with my uncle and my parents, and I realized it had not won at all. I won.
I still traveled. I still went to a bunch of shows. I still overcame a LOT of things. I got some fantastic photos. (my LIFE goal is to be an official Harry photographer for at least one show). I met so many of my online friends and did a lot of things I never thought I’d do. I didn’t fail, I just took a detour.
I’m not going to lie- reading about the concerts on Twitter is bittersweet, and I’m still devastated that I’m not going to at least ONE of the Los Angeles shows. I’m losing a lot of money for hotel rooms and air-bnbs that I committed to and airfare that’s non-refundable,. To be honest, I ‘m trying to figure out a way to get to LA and see at least one show, if I can bring my support person with me. I want one more chance to be with my people, to be part of the magic that is one of his shows. I want to capture the magic in photos again.
But, if I can’t, that’s okay, too. I won’t be upset, I’ll be thankful that I was able to do as much as I did. Anxiety can’t take away the amazing memories that I made. I did so much more than I have ever done, honestly more than I thought I was capable of. I learned to be kind to myself, and take care of me. Maybe I bit off a little more than I could handle for a first try. That’s ok. I learned, and I’m ready to try again.
Anxiety may have forced me to cut my trip short. but it didn’t win. I did.
I’m already planning my next adventure.
If you need help, reach out. TEXT CONNECT TO 741741 If it’s a crisis to you, it’s a crisis to us. It’s not just suicide – any painful emotions that get in the way of your mental well-being are a crisis. or call Call 1-800-273-8255.