I prattled a couple of months ago about my quest to go to the cinema alone and see Star Trek and then I forgot to post and say that I actually managed it. It was a rather huge deal. It was scary and yet fun and of course with anxiety disorders one of the best ways to move past a fear of a certain place or ‘thing’ is to keep doing it. So today, I headed off to the cinema again to see Monsters University. Going to the cinema alone is a daunting task for someone with social anxiety but I have a couple of tricks I use.
– Distraction on the journey there. I hate public transport though I’m better at coping on it than I was before. I get nervous on the way to the cinema though because of what I know is waiting for me and in my mind that is the scary part not the fun film part that I think of. I listen to music and look out the window and stuff.
– I buy my ticket online before I go. This is awesome for two reasons. One it helps force me to go because I’ve already paid for my ticket. Two it means that when I get there I don’t have to stand in a queue and buy my ticket and worry about if they have me down for the right time and how to pay for it and all the other things I worry about. It is taken care of. It also means I don’t need to deal with people trying to sell me over stuff like popcorn and juice that I don’t want because I don’t particulars want to bankrupt myself.
– I leave the bus before I need to, if that makes sense, in order to make sure I’ve lots of time so that if things do go wrong they can without it automatically meaning everything goes to hell and I miss my film. It removes a good chunk of anxiety when things are going right too because I have that buffer.
– I go during the week, mid-afternoon when it can be quieter.
Today was different though because it is the school holidays and despite it being kind of obvious it only started to hit me as more and more people started to filter in that holidays meant children and I was seeing a U rated Disney film…Needless to say the place was soon packed. By the time the film started there were a handful of seats left in the room. People were using their phones as lights to find spare seats. I had about half an hour waiting before the film itself started, through the adverts and all, to rip myself to shreds mentally and that is what I did. That half hour was horrible.
The more people appeared the harder I found it to get air into my lungs and the more I wanted to run away. I think the fact that the cinema is so expensive is one of the reasons I kept my arse in my seat at first. I kept having to repeat to myself that I could do it, I had done it before, I had no rational reason to fear the people around me. Everything I had been taught in therapy and CBT classes came into play and I got to the start of the movie but I was feeling sick, lightheaded and afraid. My blood sugars rose from the adrenaline spike but as the movie started I calmed down. It was a use of distraction in medical terms really but it is still important that I managed to get through that part.
Monsters Inc. is my favourite Disney movie and a rather random choice I know but I’m not into romances or haunted houses and it felt like when I was growing up there was a lot of that and then BOOM monsters. I was on board with that like a shot. So yeah, getting to see the …sequel prequel was pretty awesome and fun. It felt like it was dragging slightly in bits but it kept me amused and I’m really proud of myself for going. I need to go to the cinema alone again though because it was more challenging today and I need to be able to cope better with a busier screening. Problem is I need something to see. Wolverine has been claimed by the bestie to go see so I need to have a wee think about my next challenge.