YALC is happening in a few days and my anxiety is really kicking in. I hate that anxiety takes away all of the fun in looking forward to something but I also know from years of experience that all of the worst case scenarios that my head is making up are very unlikely to actually happen. Today I thought it might be therapeutic to share all of my worries with you guys because who knows? Maybe some of you have felt the same way or are also having similar worries about YALC.
Anxiety and OCD
1.) Part of my OCD means that I need my days to be as scheduled as possible. I'm probably the least spontaneous person you'll ever meet. Although I have a schedule written up for YALC I know that this probably isn't going to go to plan. Panel's might run out of tickets, I might be queuing for longer than anticipated for signings, and with the workshop tickets having a lottery system there's no guarantee that I'll get into them at all. Knowing that my day won't be perfectly structured is a really difficult thing for me to deal with.
2.) I'm going to YALC with my best friend Rachel but there are a couple of things we want to do separately. There is also the chance that one of us will get into a workshop and the other won't. This means that there will be times where I'm going to be alone in a really busy crowd which can sometimes lead to a panic attack.
3.) What if I have a panic attack when I'm in a queue and I have to leave and forfeit my place? What if I have a panic attack because I'm in a crowd and feeling claustrophobic? What if I have a panic attack and I'm alone? I know I can always go outside for some space and fresh air and luckily our hotel is 5 minutes away if I feel like I need a longer break but when I'm in the midst of an attack I'm not always thinking clearly.
1.) My brain does this thing where it likes to think of every worst case scenario that could happen and torture me with it: Missing a train, forgetting tickets, horrible hotel, lost booking, finding where we need to go etc; I'm especially worried about the things that are my responsibility such as looking after the tickets which links back to my OCD and having to check that they're in my bag several times.
2.) What if nobody likes me? It's one thing talking to bloggers, authors and publicists online but meeting them? What if I'm not who they expect me to be? What if I'm a disappointment? What if I don't fit in? I haven't been to a proper blogger event before and I'm really nervous to meet so many online people at once. Especially as I know that after years of blogging and going to events a lot of other bloggers know one another really well and although I've been doing this for a long time this will be my first time meeting everyone and that scares me. Should I approach people and say hello? Or would they rather be left alone?
3.) Being an anxious person I tend to be either really quiet or full of nervous energy and chatting away none stop. I'm very socially awkward and have always said that I communicate better through my hands and writing than I do with talking. What if I come across as a nervous babbling idiot?
Some of you might be reading this thinking "if you're that worried why bother going at all?" The thing with anxiety is that it's not fact. They're just thoughts and the worst case scenarios hardly ever happen. I know full well that I'll probably have one of the best weekends of my life but that doesn't stop my brain from ruining the anticipation. All too often in my life anxiety has held me back and my approach to dealing with it over the last couple of years is feel the fear and do it anyway. I also love these quotes from Just One Day by Gayle Forman a book that really changed my life.
“I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don't put yourself in the path of it, you miss it.” ― Gayle Forman, Just One Day
“It's funny the things you think you're scared of until they're upon you, and then you're not.” ― Gayle Forman, Just One Day
I think you do things that scare you, and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump off bridges.” ― Gayle Forman, Just One Day
“You thought too hard. Same with travel. You can't work too much at it, or it feels like work. You have to surrender yourself to the chaos. To the accidents.” ― Gayle Forman, Just One Day
These particular quotes for this particular event hold a double meaning as not only do they help me face my fears but they also remind me of why I love books and the whole reason behind this event in the first place.
I'm hoping that YALC will be one great and beautiful accident.