Star Wars Celebration – Attack Of The Anxiety

Used with permission.

Star Wars Celebration happening in Orlando, Florida, this week is the San Diego Comic-Con of Star Wars. To anyone with anxiety that sentence translates into a lot of people and a lot of stress.

::INTERNALLY SCREAMS::

Okay. Breathe Dakster. Breathe.

In..

Out..

In…

AHHHHHHHH

Okay. I’m back.

So what do you do when you have an anxiety or panic attack disorder yet you want to have some fun at the largest Star Wars convention in the world?

Take a buddy! I can’t emphasize this enough. Take a friend to help you if you get overwhelmed. They will be the Chewbacca to your Han.

Study the convention map. This will alleviate the stress of not knowing where you are going. This will also help you know where your exits are in the event you need them. If you have a smartphone, download the app and set it to notify you of changes.

Have your tools on hand at the ready. For me, this means having my chatelaine with my coloring book and yo-yo, pens on my hip, cell phone in my back pocket, headphones in my front pocket, Tylenol in my wallet with my ID and money. I’m also going to have a tsum tsum friend to use as a fluffy stress ball when the time comes.

Ask about the medical badge sticker. This gives you assistance when it comes to waiting in lines and helping you get help in other areas of the convention where allowed. Your companion can get one as well to help assist you by standing in lines and such. The medical badge area is near the registration desks.

Know where the quiet spots are. At SWC the designated quiet room is on the second level at W223, right across from the show floor queue and panel wristband queues.

Pop in your headphones and zone out. Load up your phone or mp3 player with your favorite tunes and movies that will help lighten your mood. I keep Dana Carvey on my comedy playlist to help me laugh a little. For music, I stick with happy upbeat songs like Disney soundtracks. And it might sound dorky, but I also keep Michael Bolton Live At The Royal Albert Hall.

Dress up. Okay. Don’t call me crazy just yet. I’m going to say that 75% of the convention goers will be dressed up in one way or another. When you cosplay you are costume playing. It is an acceptable thing to become the character you dress as. So when you dress up as a character, people see the character. You can become someone else and it’s acceptable at the con. Go for it!

Practice Mindfulness. Buddhify has taught me how to use mindfulness to calm my nerves. One of the mindful techniques is listening to the sounds around you but not focusing on any of them. Just close your eyes and listen. If that is hard for you, try focusing on your breath and just allow yourself to feel what it feels. Taking slow deep breaths.

Star Wars Celebration starts Thursday, April 13th and runs through Sunday, April 16th. Saturday tickets are sold out with limited availability on-site. Stay tuned to GeekMom and GeekDad for all the fun. 

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Dakster Sullivan is a network administrator by day and a cosplayer by night. She loves discovering new books to read, tech to play with, and ways to express her herself. She has anxiety and depression and strives to educate others about these invisible illnesses.