Anxiety Didn’t Win.

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.

 


Mental Illness and Suicide is NOT A JOKE Logan Paul

Mental illness is a horrible, terrible, soul stealing  illness that can get bad enough to think the only way out is to die. There is nothing funny about it.   Logan Paul has a long way to go to show he’s sorry for joking & using video and photos of a suicide victim for clickbait. Is his apology for real?

I am not associated with Logan Paul or his Brand. I do not approve of his actions, nor do I support him or the content he makes.  He is all about diss tracks,  being rude, hurtful and even hateful to others, when my entire platform has always been to Treat People With Kindness.  Its what I have been saying from the very beginning.  That, and to #BeBrave and Stand Up to bullying and talking honestly and candidly about mental illness, because I believe that it’s the best way to help #EndTheStigma.

Recently, I had become aware of the stomach turning video, ‘I found a dead body in the suicide forest’. At first I had thought it was a really poor and cruel joke- but the thing was, it absolutely wasn’t.

Logan Paul and a small group of his friends had gone out to  Aokigahara, or ‘Japanese Suicide forest’. The forest is a common place where people unfortunately end their lives, and there are hundreds of deaths each year. I do not know what he was ‘expecting’, but when he found the body of a victim, he decided to show it.

That’s right. He filmed the man’s body, poorly blurring out his face but giving clear view of the rest of him. He proceeded to laugh a little and make jokes with his friends, and while he claims that was a coping tactic, there was a way to avoid that even being seen- by NOT filming there at all. Or even better, not visiting the site where people end their lives because they’re in so much misery they’d rather die than keep going. To me? That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all -let alone to try and get some Adsense money from YouTube, knowing it would grab quick views., especially having the poor taste to put the body on the thumbnails.

Not only did it cause pain to the victim and his family, it made his young and impressionable viewers have a view of suicide that wasn’t accurate. They had no idea of what happens beforehand, the things that can cause you to get to that point.

As someone who has attempted suicide myself, it haunted me for a while after I watched it.  It still bothers me. How can someone take light of it? The point of the video was obviously not to show the real effects of suicide. It was for shock value.

I will never forget the feeling that there was no other way to end the pain that I was in , other than to die.  I honestly thought the world would be better off without me.  This wasn’t a joke, or funny. It was the very depths of despair.

So now, a few weeks later he puts up an “apology” video.  I will say that the video was a good start but it is NOT enough  Its a small start to what needs to be bg changes if Logan wants to prove that he’s truly sorry and understands his mistakes.  I think he needs to continue to show support to suicide victims, spread awareness, and make sure his young viewers do not view it as something funny. It’s something that so many people have to deal with, and I am one of them.  Mental illness and Suicide have a ripple effect that  touched many people, especially  the families involved. I know what pain my illness and attempt caused my family. and I’m thankful I have people to support me. My Mom has always been my rock and I know upset she was about his videos.  Her pain is shared by loved ones everywhere of people with mental illness.

Logan used a screenshot of an article I was in.  USA Today in 2013 wrote about my story, and it was able to showcase how I came through my difficult times. However, Logan or whoever made the video never asked for my contacted me, and  I would have said NO. I was only even aware  that my photo was in his video was that  a friend told me.

To his fans- I want you to learn and recognize that your idols can make mistakes. But they have to truly show you they’ve changed through actions. Not just one single video, or a large donation. That’s a start -but continuing to show that you learned and were able to grow is how you can tell.  Let’s see how long Logan  continue to work to help the mental health community, and if he will continue his outreach, or will he stop as soon as the furor dies down?

The way to bringing awareness to Mental Illness isn’t by making a joke out of it. Mental illness is real, terrible disease and suicide is just one symptom of it.  It can steal all the joy from peoples lives, in fact, it can steal people lives away from them.  That someone would use  this type of pain as click bait say a lot about the type of person that he is, and the type of society we have become. Maybe it’s just me, but  I’d love to see a world where kindness and positivity  is more valued than meanness and hate.

I think that the world will be watching Logan Paul to see if he has indeed, changed, or if was a media ploy. I’ll be listening, and continuing on my mission to help End The Stigma of Mental Illness.

__________________________________________

If you need help, please reach out. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Textline, Free 24/7 Support: Text 741741


How To Get Amazing Concert Photos Without a Pro Camera

I have been taking photos at concerts I go to for about 4 years now, and the main question I get asked is

How do I get good photos without a professional camera?

Now, I am not really a professional. I’m just an avid concert goer who has learned a lot through trial and error, and I’ve had some good luck with photos I’ve taken. Some have gone viral, others are my own personal pride and joy. I have decided to share some ways to get good concert photos using a point and shoot camera.

First of all, choosing a camera does make a lot of difference. Luckily as time goes on, cameras are able to fit more and more into smaller bodies. An issue I had this year was smaller venues I was going to for Harry Styles had rules about the size of the camera, as most venues do. It is almost common practice for any venue to ban cameras with detachable lenses or lenses that extend from a powered off camera. My original go to was a Kodak Z990. It is an older camera, but it hadn’t failed me from 2014 and on. Unfortunately, though it is a point and shoot, it would not be allowed into the venues I was going for. My best bet was a pocket sized camera.

The camera I used to collect these shots was the Canon Powershot SX730. I personally love the camera and the fact it has 40x optical zoom. It also had built in stabilization. I will also link other cameras I have found to work well in concert settings.

Nikon Coolpix A900 –  35x Zoom

Nikon Coolpix S9700– 30x zoom

Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX – 30x zoom

  1. PRACTICE – Obviously, practice makes perfect. But in this case, it is important to get to know your camera a bit beforehand. I suggest buying your camera a month or at the least, a week beforehand so you can play around with settings and lighting.  Another tip is before the artist you wish to picture comes on, test out the zoom and take a few photos of the stage area so you can get used to the general angles and direction you’ll be shooting in. Think of photos you want to take and try your best to make them a reality!  TAKE PHOTOS OF THE OPENING ACT! Practice on them, enjoy the music while you get the best settings for lighting as the house lights will most likely be down.
  2. Expect Blurry Shots – As you’ll most likely read with other photographer advice, you may take 200 photos and only find 20 you like, if that. The person I was photographing, Harry Styles, is like a jumping bean on stage during certain songs. It was difficult sometimes to get a good shot, and while it was frustrating for a moment, taking a moment to realize It was just one shot out of many made me feel better. Try and shoot slower songs, songs where the artist may not be moving around too much. For example, some of my best shots came from Just a Little Bit of Your Heart cover, Meet Me in the Hallway, and Sign of the Times. I knew from watching videos beforehand that he stayed a bit more still during these songs. I got one of my favorite shots during sign of the times, a good shot of his jawline along with the flag in the background.
  3. LIGHTS – Concerts most of the time have a lot of interesting lighting. It can either be your camera’s best friend, or worst enemy. My suggestion is to play with the light, take some more ‘Artsy’ than normal photos. Harry had a lot of different colors, and when I realized with this lighting set up that i could n0t get a good facial photo, I played with the angles and light the best I could to get these.
  4. Have FUN-  Ok, getting to the cheesy part. But make sure you take some time to put the camera down. Enjoy the music, live in the moment. Its easier said than done, but you most likely have waited for a long time for that night, so take time to enjoy it. I sometimes need to take this advice myself. I get overly excited because photography is my passion and I do adore Mr. Styles, and he very kind to my camera. Taking a few songs to just listen and watch will help the experience.

If anyone has any other questions, feel free to DM my Instagram, @allydelmonte, and I will do my best to help!

 

This post contains some affiliate links- which  give me a tiny commission if you were to purchase something from mylinks…