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Wee, anxiety, concerts and me

I love concerts don’t get me wrong but they also fill me with dread. Last night I went to see Elton John, who was of course spectacular, but he wasn’t the only thing on my mind. 

I’ve suffered from anxiety for quite a while and whilst it’s certainly not as debilitating as some other people’s, it’s less than fabulous. You see, I spent 13 years in the Navy and during that time, you get taught about things that you wouldn’t otherwise think of, particularly when it comes to being in public places. Things that can put you on edge.   

I also have a very serious issue with an overactive bladder. Whilst it might be a little TMI, it basically means that I get severe spasms when I need to go to the toilet and I need to stop what I’m doing or I will wet my pants. Fun, right? Loads of fun as a 37-year-old woman. The other fabulous thing about it (note the sarcasm) is that if I have to get to the toilet in a hurry, in order not to wet myself, I basically have to waddle like a duck to keep everything where it should be. Again, an awesome symptom of bladder dysfunction.

So how do these two conditions affect my concert-going desires? I’d like to walk you through what it feels like to go to a concert at a large stadium and you’ll soon see why attending is a double-edged sword for someone with anxiety and what I like to call a dodgy bladder.

  • Book tickets – yay we’re going!
  • Where will we park? I hope it’s nearby so I don’t have to walk far. I hate walking far and needing to go to the toilet.
  • Will there be a toilet nearby my seat?
  • Can I get out easily or am I going to wet myself – maybe I should wear my Modbodi underwear just to be safe.
  • Did I book aisle tickets? I hope so.
  • Will the people I’m going with know where to meet me in case of an emergency?
  • On approach to the stadium I see people with bags of different types and sizes.
  • Will security do a good enough job?
  • Their casual look in the bag did nothing – what are they even looking for anyway?
  • Awesome, there is a metal detector – what if someone brings in something that isn’t metal? Will they be able to get me with it?
  • Great we’re at our seats. Ugh, we’re on the floor and have to navigate past 15 other people just to get out of our aisle then up the stairs to the toilet.
  • Ugh there are two lines of 30 women waiting to get to the toilet.
  • Maybe I should go in the men’s room. Would anyone mind?
  • I wish I could use the disabled toilet as this is a disability but people will judge me as I am able bodied. They can’t see what is hiding beneath the surface.
  • Ok, concert is about to start. Should I go back to the toilet? I’m just going to annoy the people who I have to get past.
  • So where is the emergency exit?
  • Have we organised a rendezvous point in case of mass emergency?
  • If someone shoots someone in front of me, should I hide under them and pretend I’ve been shot too?
  • How long should I wait?
  • How am I going to get home?
  • Their bag looks awkward, I hope the security guards checked it.
  • Oh man, that bag is unattended, who left their bag unattended?
  • Are we all going to be able to get out?
  • I’m glad we’re on the floor in an open-air stadium, at least the stadium seating and roof can’t collapse on us.

And all of that, is before the show has even started.

Why am I sharing this with you? Maybe to share that despite the cool, calm and collected façade that we can all show on social media or in our personal or work lives, we all have our own crosses to bear. All have our own challenges that we are facing. Some have disabilities that are not immediately apparent.

I don’t want to have to miss out on events like this, but feelings these feelings, experiencing these issues I have no control over is fricking hard and it makes things like this so much more challenging. But when you see the joy in a performer’s eyes, the crowd chanting along to a song that was written over 40 years ago, it makes it all worth it. Until the next concert…. Then it starts again.

 

February 23, 2020 by Kelly Walter

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