BATTLING DEPRESSION: DEALING WITH ANXIETY

by - August 15, 2018



Since I like consistency and themes make blogs easier to write, I've decided for the foreseeable future, Wednesdays will be postings related to my issues with depression. Part of the reason is to help get thoughts out of my head. By writing them here, it'll be some cheap personal therapy. There is probably someone reading this who might be dealing with a similar issue and can either use what I write as support for their issue or can offer advice. If you don't have these issues or can't relate, just look at this is a text version of a bad reality show you can use to feel better about yourself.

Before I get into this, I should make an update regarding the last Depression Blog.  As I had hoped, after a few days of reflection and realizing what was going on inside my head, I was able to reconnect with my friend and our friendship is back to where it has been for the past 18 months. I am grateful to have the support.

This past weekend, I experienced something to a degree I hadn't ever felt before and can't figure out why. My friend, Pam and I went to the Saban Theatre to see, imo "the Voice of Chicago" Peter Cetera.  The Saban is a somewhat intimate venue. We were sitting in the balcony. During the first song and crowd banter, there was one lady in the front row pacing along with Peter trying to take his photo. Several members of the crowd also thought they were having a conversation and yelled comments, declarations of admiration and song requests. This is something that I am really not a fan of when I go to shows. My rule is the person on the stage with the microphone gets to talk. Everyone else does not. So I was already unnerved by the crowd reaction. Now, I don't think the audience should sit in silence only politely clapping after each song. I have no problem with cheering and singing along. Just don't like people trying to have individualized conversations.

I was pleasantly surprised that Peter's voice still sounded good and I recognized all but one of his first six songs. After the first verse of the seventh song, he asked two people in the front row individually to stop recording. Once the song was finished he half jokingly, half seriously complained about people not knowing how to turn the lights off on their phones when taking pictures and said it was distracting and frustrating as a performer to deal with on stage. He then said, "the next person who doesn't turn off the light, we're going to come down there and beat the shit out of them for ruining the show for everyone."






Since I have very little faith in humans to not be self-centered, inconsiderate jerks, I was expecting no one would take a picture during the next song and then eventually someone would turn on a spotlight. This thought kept running through my head to the point where I couldn't even look at the stage. I stared at the ceiling trying to calm myself down and questioning why I even cared. It's not like I was going to take a flash photo. If/when someone else took a photo, they would be the ones to feel the wrath of "Pissed Off" Pete.

No matter how much I talked to myself, there was no rationalizing with my brain. Ultimately someone was going to do something and then much like Axl Rose in St. Louis in 1991, Peter Cetera was going to jump into the crowd and start a riot. Of course this wasn't going to happen. Peter Cetera is 73 years old. None of this matter. I couldn't move on and simply enjoy the show. Even with Peter singing "The Glory of Love" from The Karate Kid Part 2, I couldn't relax.

I ended up going out into the lobby for the last half of the show. Thankfully the Theatre had speakers in the lobby so I was able to continue to listen to the show. I sat in the lobby and ran through some breathing exercises. Ultimately, I returned to a normal mental state. Since the show was almost over, I decided to stay in the lobby instead of risking the return of the anxiety by returning to my seat.

The next night, Pam and I went to the Greek Theater to see Alice Cooper. The Greek is a larger outdoor venue. More people yet I didn't have any anxiety issues. It was actually more entertaining watching the crowd this time. There was a guy probably in his late 50s/early 60s rocking a skullet who was playing air guitar and drums during Ace Frehley's opening act. At this show the crowd did the usual cheering after each song and didn't (at least from where I sat and could hear) yell out random comments. 

While I do think I have social anxiety, normally it only rears its ugly head when I'm in smaller group settings where I need to talk. As I said earlier, I don't have much faith for crowds to not be annoying. Even though I may get frustrated with people is a large setting, I don't really get anxious. I don't know what was different about this time. Unfortunately, the anxiety at the moment isn't the only issue. Since Saturday night, I have replayed the scene at least twenty times. I'm hoping by writing this I can exercise this demon and move this thought out of my consciousness. We'll see what happens.

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