GOING TO GIGS WITH A DISABILITY/MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
If you follow me on my social media, you may know that a couple of weeks ago I went to a gig in Leeds to see my all time favourite band – While She Sleeps. I love music as it is a great way to loose myself from life a little. However, I do find that being a person with a disability with a fine sprinkling of mental health issues, gigging can be quite tricky.
I always have so many thoughts when it comes to the run up to gig day. What is accessibility like? Where are the doors so I can escape if I have a panic attack? What happens if I get stuck in the crowd and can’t leave? What happens if I struggle with the flashing lights and it sets off my sensory overload?
Honestly, as much as I love going to gigs: there are so many different factors I have to take into account before heading out to jam to my favourite bands. I usually end up looking into the layout of the venue before hand so I can work out my best routes to get out if needs be. I can also get a good idea of where the stairs are so that I can try to work around them.
I find getting seated tickets if possible helps eases my anxiety, I feel less claustrophobic as there is more space around me. If I want to go to a gig that doesn’t have seats available, I tend to prefer to stick to the back so I can get out if needed.
I have also learned that taking someone you trust with you really helps. Having someone who you feel close to and you know can help you if you are struggle definitely eases the anxiety. During this gig, I ended up having a panic attack due to sensory overload (honestly, why are strobe lights a thing?) but before we went, we came up with an “action plan” as to what to do if I panic. This is different for everyone however for me, I prefer to be able to deal with my panic alone. So I find that knowing that I can leave to the smoking area for some fresh air, on my own (to not have the added guilt of “oh they’re missing the gig because of me even though it say it’s fine” thoughts) means I can usually bounce back quicker.
What are your tips for going to gigs with mental health conditions or disability?