If like me you suffer from anxiety the last place you may want to be is in a crowded festival. However, why should you miss out on all the fun? I suffer from anxiety and never want it to get on the way of living my life to the fullest. So I created a list of tips to have the best experience at festivals for fellow anxiety sufferers like me…
Festivals are a sign that summer is here because warmth and sunshine aren’t really constant during this time of year here in the UK. Festivals are about enjoying live music, seeing your favourite performers and having a good time with your friends. But as an anxiety sufferer I can see why you may not think I’m the most qualified to talk about festivals.
I’ve been to only one so far in my life. It was during my second year of university. My friends and I decided that because we were attending Reading University, it would be a shame to not go to Reading Festival. I love going to concerts and since I’ve been living in the UK I’ve been to quite a few.
The thing is I have anxiety, thus making my experience challenging most of the time. However, the feeling I get when I can sing along with my favourite artists is greater than my anxiety. So, I push through the horrible feeling I get whilst waiting in the crowd for the concert to start. Of course, anxiety is different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it. To be honest, my festival “experience” was not stressful at all, apart for one moment when I needed to pee but none of my friends did, and of course, I felt guilty thinking that I was annoying everyone. Of course that wasn’t true; it’s all in my head!
So, to be able to have a good time I did a few things, on my OWN terms…
It’s a no-brainer to understand that if you lose your phone and you lose your friends — it’s the end. In order to prevent this happening, charge your phone to the max, bring a portable charger if you’re really worried and keep your phone in a safe space (invest in a bumbag; it’s a festival fashion at its best). Also, hold one of your friend’s arm the whole time. They’ll hate you by the end of it, and you’ll both be sweaty, but it works. Despite having a phone (and a map) I still have to admit that we managed to lose one friend… and get lost.
When we walked out of the festival we somehow took the wrong exit. We ended up in the car park where the security guard told us to go back to where we came from. We walked for an hour altogether just to leave the venue. Fun times indeed.
I hate camping, it’s one of my nightmares. I’d rather spend more money on a room than sleep outside. Sleeping in a tent and not having a proper bathroom next to me is stressful. I know that camping is part of the whole festival experience, but if it means you won’t have a good time – I say at the end of the day — it’s not worth it. Thankfully my friends didn’t mind not camping and they were ok going for one day and heading home straight afterwards. Obviously, because we had a student house in Reading it was easier for us to go for the day. If sleeping in a tent is not something you like, you could book a hotel room or Airbnb near to the festival. Saving up and spending more money in order to have a fun time is okay.
Most importantly going with good, trustworthy friends is paramount . The last thing you want to do is going with someone who doesn’t care if you’re having a panic attack or not. My friends agreed to miss the Wombats so I could go pee ( yes, I pee a lot by the way). Later on, that evening, singing along to The 1975 in the MTV tent was one of the best memories. It was amazing and it was definitely worth it. If you feel safe around the people you’re going with that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get the perfect Instagram picture. No one looks cool at festivals anyway, so don’t worry. As long as YOU’re having fun that’s what’s important.
So go put more enough glitter on your face to look like a disco ball and have the time of your life!