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Messages - nataliejc

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Gategoers at The Homecoming / An Agoraphobic Goes to Gatecon
« on: August 27, 2016, 01:04:30 PM »
As we're getting closer and closer, I thought I'd take a moment to offer up some information about me and the peculiarities of helping an agoraphobic manage the con experience.

For those who don't know, agoraphobia is the extreme or irrational fear of crowded spaces or enclosed public spaces.  At it's most extreme, it keeps a person housebound.  For me, personally, what it means is that when I am in a crowded place, particularly a place I don't know well, I am prone to panic attacks.  They can hit without warning, but I can sometimes feel them coming.  I am usually very stubborn at a con or a gig and fight to control the panic so I can stay and enjoy what is going on (which isn't the wisest solution, but like I said, stubborn).   :'(

This is me! 

How you can help me:  for starters, don't be afraid to approach and say hi.   :)   Please do not offer physical contact unless I initiate.  Unexpected hugs can trigger an attack.  Do not touch my back. This goes double if you can see I am using controlled breathing, I am sweating or my face is red. These are signs I am already fighting off panic. Touching me when I can't see you can make it worse.   :(

If I am obviously in distress, the best thing to do is give me space.  I tend to focus inward while I'm working through it.  I will look up and make eye contact with people around me when I am able to be social again.  If you try to talk to me while I am in the midst of an episode, I can be snarky, even cold and sometimes mean.  I don't mean it and I won't remember it after.  So I apologize in advance if I do that.  I'm not evil. 

I am, in spite of all of that, a rather friendly person with an outgoing personality when I am not dealing with self care. So please do come talk to me.  I promise I won't bite.

And, if you're a reading person, someone who likes vampires and the like?  I published a book this year titled, "Forever".  I will have a limited number of copies on me (likely in my room or car), so if you're interested, hit me up and I'll make you a deal.   8)
The following users thanked this post: kimberli.2020

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Gategoers at The Homecoming / Re: Meet-A-Gater
« on: September 17, 2015, 02:59:30 PM »
Hi Natalie,
That's really inspiring to hear of your determination to come in spite of the agoraphobia, but don't worry, after a year here at Gategoers you will have a great many friends waiting to welcome you in Vancouver.

Are you driving up from San Fran or flying? I've done the drive southwards and what a fantastic scenic route it is. Loved every mile of it.

We're probably going to fly, since my roommate for the con is coming from England and we're putting the con in the middle of her 2 week visit, we want to maximize our time in each location. 

I do my best not to let my agoraphobia keep me away from things I love. I've only attended small cons, mostly in England, but I do a lot of live music gigs as a photographer.  I've learned some techniques that help me function, but most of those aren't really do-able with a con (they involve getting to a venue early, before the crowds, usually standing at the front where I can't *see* the crowd, and stuff like that.  With assigned seating....it's always terrifying and a battle to control what is in my field of vision).
The following users thanked this post: Gems81, Mags

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Gategoers at The Homecoming / Re: Meet-A-Gater
« on: September 15, 2015, 04:30:13 PM »
Hi folks, I'm Natalie.  I've never been to a Stargate con of any kind.  This one just happens to fall just around my birthday and when one of my best friends in the world is visiting me from England, so we've decided to fold the con into our vacation.  We'll be coming up from around San Francisco.

You won't miss us, we're the pair of folks on crutches or cane (she's crutches, I'm cane) clinging to each other because we won't likely know anyone else.  I'm also doing this con, in spite of my agoraphobia and am slightly terrified (read that as absolutely petrified).  It looks like this will be bigger than any of them I've ever done, and for most of those I knew enough folks to blunt the edges a bit.

So...sorry from the get go if I get quiet and unresponsive (start of a panic attack) or overly talkative and blithering (really anxious and trying to stave off panic)....and that's probably more than you wanted to know about me anyway.
The following users thanked this post: Richard, Gems81, Gate Geek, Mags, +ChangesAT, Anne M Catino, Jesses Girl

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