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26 Aug 2013 - 13:30106517
does anyone suffer from anxiety here
I have social anxiety and quick dips of depression every so often and you may think what does this mean?? well it is basically a intense fear of social interaction and people just like a person with claustrophobia reacts to being in say a coffin.
If I was in a costume that covered every part of my flesh I am sure I would do so much better with people. Anybody that has anxiety in particular social anxiety that goes to cosplay events????? most of you seem like social butterflies and to me that scares me.


26 Aug 2013 - 13:43106519
You'll be happy to know there are quite a lot of people like that in the cosplay community and as you get to know more, you'll come to recognise individuals who do get anxious or nervous before and during conventions. They tend to tell a select handful just so their friends know what to do if they get panicky. More often than not though they're very discreet about it and sit in their rooms or a quiet spot for a while until they calm down. But don't be surprised if they don't come forward right away.

For me, I've never been formally diagnosed with anxiety but it's something that's always been there. I actually even get worried and scared meeting up with those I know very well (sometimes I'll be sick because I get so worked up) and it takes me a while to settle in with them. But they're very patient and have helped me to be a part of the community to the point that I'm able to help run panels with them. It takes patience on both parts and getting to know people.

Leading up to cons I'll have tears or moments where I don't feel like my costumes aren't good enough or having doubts about whether going is a good idea to go. Thankfully I've got a very understanding fiancé who pulls me away from them to do something else and come back later. And I too like to make sure I'm covered up in costumes especially with the amount of internet trolls getting their hands on images and writing whatever they want. I'm working towards a time where I can do more exposed costumes without feeling as though I'll be judged or ridiculed for it.


26 Aug 2013 - 13:53106523
my problem is I turned to anger to fight my anxiety, I had such a bad 3 years in college I hated it so much it felt like everyone was against me. I was doing a foundation degree in games design and although my passion for it was great the other students just kept seem to be dragging me down to a deep dark hell pit. Every time I thought I was making a improvement on my social skills something would be there to remind me of my place and rip me a new one and once again drag me down, down, down.
I never new cosplayers would be like that, it is true I have only watched cosplayers from my computer but they always seem so confident and happy


26 Aug 2013 - 13:57106524
I hate meeting new people. With a passion. Talking to people really... upsets me, particularly when it's people I don't know and when it's in a crowded place.

I use cosplay as a shield, really. As people see that rather than seeing me, if that makes sense. I view it as protection from people. Out of cosplay, I'm a very closed off individual.

As an example, was asked a few questions at a busstop by some tourists, it left me very close to tears. They were nice people, they were just curious about the area, but I was put on the spot by people I don't know and that's a bit issue for me...


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Ayacon Plans
26 Aug 2013 - 14:00106527
well there is help you know? I tried CBT, counselling and therapy. The CBT was great as I used to be really paranoid about other people but maybe that something that can help you that is if its your mindset that keeps creating all these scenarios and mind reading and reading the future like how a paranoid mind works.


26 Aug 2013 - 14:01106528
Thats the beauty of cosplayers. When they put on their costumes they also put on a new persona to be in character. For a lot of people, including myself I get to cosplay as the real me; Someone who would get up and sing in front of 100 people in the same karaoke room, someone who would have the balls to get up on stage and dance in front of a whole convention (around 1000 give or take).
In the real world I dont think I could ever bring myself to do that without feeling as though I would be judged for it or criticised.
These people really are a wonderful bunch and it's not without its faults or bad eggs (people who may poke fun at costumes or choices). But it's just knowing about how to pick them or choose them. My recommendation for getting to know cosplayers is to look out for certain groups so they will have similar interests as you. Though these days they transfer from forums to FB and they can be cliquey, so those on CI or forums for say MCM or wherever it is you're wanting to go to would be your best bet. Be willing to listen and reciprocate in a good conversation and even learn how they put parts of their costumes together.

People in the real world aren't as understanding and are out for number one but I wouldn't entirely lose faith in them either because there are decent people.


26 Aug 2013 - 14:09106530
I don't know I just had to many bad experiences just so many people that use and abuse you and squeeze you for all your worth and right when you need them the most they are gone.
Like I said I have so much built up anger I wanted to revenge on my ex friends for years it was so hard to control my urges It was a really big wakeup call to how vile and toxic people can be.
I mean it is trade at the end of the day isn't it? that is what relationships are, you make me happy I make you happy but if your depressed all the time then I am going to leave you. I am in Blackpool by the way that is Lancashire which is in the north west.


26 Aug 2013 - 14:16106532
I've had plenty of that believe me, to this day I don't know why I got ditched since I always enjoyed their friendship. I imagine that its gossip and influences of the less than friendly people but at the end of the day it would only be poisonous to me to let myself be eaten up by it every day. Planning for revenge is just letting that poison run rampant, so I'd put it to bed and count the blessings that you do have. Like, you're about to embark on a pretty interesting hobby and can make friends into the same things as you there. Most people go out and spend their hard earned cash on booze and cigarettes and thats their idea of a good time. With this one you can learn a lot of new interesting skills which will even help you in real life!
So let go of the past, I did and looked to the future and made new friends which understand me and wont use me or make me feel terrible for what I do.

As for me, I'm in the Midlands (Stoke specifically) which isn't a highly concentrated area for cosplayers. I know of one other. Do you plan to go to May Expo next year? And were you ever into Digimon? I know of a group on FB running which I'm part of and that could be something you could work towards?



Last edited by Angel Tear (26 Aug 2013 - 14:17)
26 Aug 2013 - 14:20106533
I have never cosplayed. You should see my eyes their like pandas I heard Koreans even like eyebags and the models try to get them because there they are seen as cute eye hammocks.
Trust me letting go of the past was the hardest thing i have ever done in my life it took 6 years and still it comes back sometimes to remind me, it is like my own mind has it's own mind and is working to get at me you know its very true about what they say about yourself being your own worst enemy.
People that were like brothers to me left me in the gutter it was just so so painful I mean how could they do that to me, when we were together we smiled so much my cheeks hurt.
I have got one friend in America right now, a online friend he is a furry I will admit I have done some terrible things to him out of paranoia of losing him but he is not a real friend I can only text chat him and that is it.



Last edited by bluewolf9498 (26 Aug 2013 - 14:28)
26 Aug 2013 - 14:34106534
Quote bluewolf9498:
I don't know I just had to many bad experiences just so many people that use and abuse you and squeeze you for all your worth and right when you need them the most they are gone.
Like I said I have so much built up anger I wanted to revenge on my ex friends for years it was so hard to control my urges It was a really big wakeup call to how vile and toxic people can be.


I've experienced this from friends. It's heartbreaking when people you trust and care for turn on you. It's soul destroying, really, and it makes it super hard to trust people.

However, you need to forget about them. A moment thinking about them, and how you hate them and want revenge is just a wasted moment. They've already had a horrible input in your life, you shouldn't let them keep you in that horrible place.

So, I'm gonna just go out and say; I find that the people on the con scene are generally a lot nicer. Face it, you're gonna have something in common with someone cosplaying from a series you like! Instant ice breakers ftw!!

Cosplay has been a huge boost to my confidence, I've met great people, and never had a bad experience with another cosplayer. Apparently, you get drama llamas but I've managed to avoid that

I'm Norfolk base, so like, very few cosplayers that I know of and then really hard to meet up with others XD Our infrastructure is god awful for anyone who wants to get out of Norfolk.


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Ayacon Plans
26 Aug 2013 - 14:40106535
I have suffered badly with social anxiety in the past. I was bullied in secondary school and it was really not a happy time in my life for me. I pretty much blame everything that's gone wrong in my life on that period ^^; And trust me, I've also had thoughts about what I would say/do to these people if I ever met them again. But it just tends to make me upset and remember things I'd rather not.

I find it very hard to talk to people I don't know and to then build that trust up to a degree where I feel like I can be myself without them being offended in some way. It took me a whole year to get to that stage at university!

I did try counseling but I personally didn't feel as though it helped. I was told I was an introvert and had very bad social anxiety. All it did was help me understand myself a little I guess. But what did help me was cosplaying. One of my only friends started doing it and so I joined in. I have slowly expanded my group of friends since and gotten a little better every time because of it

My social anxiety has never gone away and I don't think it ever will. I'm still terrified of getting a job because of the new people I'll have to meet! ^^; However it does get easier over time and I can tend to recognize people who I feel I would get on better with quickly.

Sometimes (and I know I hated hearing it myself back when I was suffering badly) you just gotta put yourself out there. If I never had (eventually) then I wouldn't be here now. I'm now even volunteering in a local shop! Something that I wimped out of doing a few years ago ^^;

Er, anyway. I talked a bit much there! That's my story.


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Last edited by Lady Bahamut (26 Aug 2013 - 14:44)
26 Aug 2013 - 14:49106539
..I thought it would be like that for college, I have a huge passion for video games and research them everyday so as soon as I hear someone talking about them my ears perk up and I instantly become alive and start listening with a new found sense of energy and pride.
I did 4 years at college I think trying to educate myself to get into the games industry, we all had the same interest games but they just were totally different people we never clicked and I remain afraid all throughout college hiding in toilets for breaks and just walking around aimlessly.
The final year we did group work where we had to make a horror game, I was in charge of the games plot but in truth I contributed a lot more down to the games mechanics, its setting which I must tell you was incredibly unique and the monsters. The team leader was a control freak and the one girl that I had to work with that did the concept art well she actually reached out to me and wanted to be my friend...but I said one bad thing I shouldn't have and from there on she liked to pretend I did not exist. They did things behind my back and threw away my games plot without telling me why or what they though of it.
I was like a outsider they had to have me around me but they didn't like it.

I just haven't had my lucky encounter with people yet, it just seems so much like a fairy tale to me now that I will meet real life people and like them and click with them and everything will just get better from there on!! I tried to meet up with online friends but they either say no i'm crazy or they just cannot afford it



Last edited by bluewolf9498 (26 Aug 2013 - 14:53)
26 Aug 2013 - 15:02106541
Quote Lady Bahamut:
I have suffered badly with social anxiety in the past. I was bullied in secondary school and it was really not a happy time in my life for me. I pretty much blame everything that's gone wrong in my life on that period ^^; And trust me, I've also had thoughts about what I would say/do to these people if I ever met them again. But it just tends to make me upset and remember things I'd rather not.

I find it very hard to talk to people I don't know and to then build that trust up to a degree where I feel like I can be myself without them being offended in some way. It took me a whole year to get to that stage at university!

I did try counseling but I personally didn't feel as though it helped. I was told I was an introvert and had very bad social anxiety. All it did was help me understand myself a little I guess. But what did help me was cosplaying. One of my only friends started doing it and so I joined in. I have slowly expanded my group of friends since and gotten a little better every time because of it

My social anxiety has never gone away and I don't think it ever will. I'm still terrified of getting a job because of the new people I'll have to meet! ^^; However it does get easier over time and I can tend to recognize people who I feel I would get on better with quickly.

Sometimes (and I know I hated hearing it myself back when I was suffering badly) you just gotta put yourself out there. If I never had (eventually) then I wouldn't be here now. I'm now even volunteering in a local shop! Something that I wimped out of doing a few years ago ^^;

Er, anyway. I talked a bit much there! That's my story.


I need a job to I am trying to train myself at the moment to kill my anxiety through exercise, I tried drugs but they make you feel empty and unfeeling.


26 Aug 2013 - 16:12106547
I am naturally a very shy person myself.

I do get days where I just want to close myself up from the world but at the same time I get moments where I enjoy the company of new people. The main issue is trying to reach that 'wavelengh' or level of comfort around the person. I am much better at 1-on-1 than groups by far. It does bother me sometimes and I often feel awful when I feel uneasy around someone at a convention during an 'off' day since theoretically they would be good times to help towards my recovery from it.

Sometimes I tell people about my anxiety and they dont believe me as I sometimes show a positive side before showing any weakness.

I used to go on a forum for people with the same issue as us. I no longer go on it unless I REALLY need some help since most of the posts I read tend to be negative (like low esteem or never recovering from anxiety) where I am trying to move away from these thoughts and taking my time to recover.

I am very determined to get over it as much as possible. My self esteem at school was horrendous >< Now I am meeting new people at conventions and I still swear to this day they they are one of my main contributions to my recovery

Even little things like entering AMV competitions and submitting to conbooks can spark good conversations at conventions as I found Im taking any opportunity for a confidence boost these days


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Last edited by Psychoelle (26 Aug 2013 - 16:14)
29 Sep 2013 - 17:08107721
I think I know how you feel. Usually when I'm at conventions, it makes me feel sick or makes it harder to breathe and when I'm in the crowded halls I sometimes get so overwhelmed that I struggle to think properly. It always helps to just sit down somewhere if it gets really bad.

You're definitely not alone.


29 Sep 2013 - 21:51107738
I have anxiety disorder. I was diagnosed in 2011, though I was under the influence of it before then.

I've been going to cons since before my diagnosis, though I didn't start cosplaying until after it. I'm not a social butterfly at all though. I'm alright in the large crowds, but I find it very difficult to talk to strangers. At the height of my problem I could never have gone to a convention alone. Now I have gone to conventions 'alone', in that I've arrived before friends, and I still find those situations a bit difficult to deal with. I'm not the sort of person who can just talk to people. But, at conventions, there's usually lots to see that doesn't involve too much interaction, so I've kept myself entertained.

In my experience I've found that cosplay can be a shield and a nightmare. At big cons, where cosplayers are everywhere, I've found cosplay fills me with confidence. But, it can bring attention from strangers. I remember going to a convention and taking 10 minutes to walk 100 metres because of people wanting photographs. So, you might want to keep that in mind. Perhaps pick a lower key/less well-known/less-dramatic cosplay for your first time if you think this might be a problem.

I am much better now with anxiety than I have used to be, and part of that has been learning what triggers me personally to get upset. I've learnt that I don't cope well with pressure (even percieved), so I actively avoid any pressure in cosplay. I don't plan cosplays for certain conventions - I adopt the attitude that I'll wear the finished costume to whatever event is next. That way I can come and go with it as I please, and I feel no pressure to wear it until I'm happy to.

I have had good results with hypnotherapy, which has boosted my self-confidence and taught me how to calm myself when I am feeling crippled. It's not a perfect fix, I still have my bad times, but it has been a big help.

bluewolf9498, don't assume he's not a real friend just because the internet is how you communicate. My closest friend is American and we met, and still predominantly communicate, over the internet. We've now been great friends for 8 years

I can honestly say I am now more comfortable and in more control than I have ever been. I can mostly control my anxiety. I still find it difficult to talk to strangers, but that's getting better too. It has taken some time to get here though.


29 Sep 2013 - 23:05107740
I have depression and anxiety. I get iffy in huge crowds but have learned to hide and deal with it quite well. There's a lot of people in the cosplay community with similar issues.

It's great as people are quite understanding when you ask for help with it or need an escape at a convention etc.


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30 Sep 2013 - 00:12107741
Quote Kitri du Lac:
I don't plan cosplays for certain conventions - I adopt the attitude that I'll wear the finished costume to whatever event is next.


This actually sounds like a pretty good tip and I'm hoping to try this out in the next year. I've been cosplaying for some time now and there has been the pattern of burning out before a con or even making myself sick before even getting on the train to go to the event. Each night before having to leave is nothing but tears, tears, and more tears when I should be looking forward to the weekend. So that habit is just going to have to go, this should be just what I need


30 Sep 2013 - 14:28107765
I used to feel pretty sick before going to conventions, especially the being away from home part. I couldnt eat in the mornings as I used to get so nervous in my earlier con days. Thankfully the stress tends to focus more on getting stuff done these days and eating well at the cons. I get grumpy without food

Overcrowding is one of the bigger problems I deal with. I usually get pretty dizzy so I try to sit down if its possible as usually that eases the stress a fair bit or if Im moving from one part of the building to another Id try to take a quieter route when I can.

I was in Prague with the college for a week shortly before Kita 2 and 3 and surviving them made pre-con stress much easier to handle as I get on with cosplayers better than I did with the college folk. Too bad it was very difficult getting costumes done to a standard I'd like but the leap helped in the long term with my overall confidence.

I see conventions as a gradual confidence boost and something to enjoy preparing for to keep my mind away from real life...well until the final week or so XD


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Last edited by Psychoelle (30 Sep 2013 - 14:36)
30 Sep 2013 - 16:11107771
Quote Aerblade:
I used to feel pretty sick before going to conventions, especially the being away from home part. I couldnt eat in the mornings as I used to get so nervous in my earlier con days.


This thread is kinda putting things into perspective for me. Things that other people have experienced and realised it was part of the package were things that I always thought was what made me feel like I was a bit of a freak or at least not on the same level as everyone else. My other half would look so calm and easily neck his breakfast, on any other day I'd be able to but on the morning before cons I would just want to hurl my guts everywhere or need to nip to the bathroom every ten minutes. I couldn't sit down and stay still for ten minutes even if you paid me.

It's making me think that maybe I should go to someone about this, but I'm wondering even if I did then what could be done about it? Would I be given any effective treatment or would I be sent on my way as though I'd never said anything? I'd like to say it only affects me during conventions but it bleeds over into other situations I find stressful - like parties and gatherings and even makes me clam up around family members I might not have seen for a while. So perhaps anyone who has gone to get checked out about it could let me know? It'd be great to be able to start undoing the damage.

I've been like this from a young age (a friend when I was about 7 invited me out shopping with her family, and as my mum was helping me to get ready I actually threw up from getting so worked up about it and ended up not going) and even then my family have never thought to tell me that I could be affected by something, they just called me 'sensitive'. I was that child who would cry at separation to go to school and would hate it. So yeah, advice would mean the world to me, this sort of thing doesn't get talked about so openly and it's great to hear people share their experiences and symptoms.


30 Sep 2013 - 16:21107772
Quote Angel Tear:
Quote Aerblade:
I used to feel pretty sick before going to conventions, especially the being away from home part. I couldnt eat in the mornings as I used to get so nervous in my earlier con days.


This thread is kinda putting things into perspective for me. Things that other people have experienced and realised it was part of the package were things that I always thought was what made me feel like I was a bit of a freak or at least not on the same level as everyone else. My other half would look so calm and easily neck his breakfast, on any other day I'd be able to but on the morning before cons I would just want to hurl my guts everywhere or need to nip to the bathroom every ten minutes. I couldn't sit down and stay still for ten minutes even if you paid me.

It's making me think that maybe I should go to someone about this, but I'm wondering even if I did then what could be done about it? Would I be given any effective treatment or would I be sent on my way as though I'd never said anything? I'd like to say it only affects me during conventions but it bleeds over into other situations I find stressful - like parties and gatherings and even makes me clam up around family members I might not have seen for a while. So perhaps anyone who has gone to get checked out about it could let me know? It'd be great to be able to start undoing the damage.

I've been like this from a young age (a friend when I was about 7 invited me out shopping with her family, and as my mum was helping me to get ready I actually threw up from getting so worked up about it and ended up not going) and even then my family have never thought to tell me that I could be affected by something, they just called me 'sensitive'. I was that child who would cry at separation to go to school and would hate it. So yeah, advice would mean the world to me, this sort of thing doesn't get talked about so openly and it's great to hear people share their experiences and symptoms.


I think you're really spot on with how much talking helps. No one discusses things like anxiety, but having a community who understand what it can be like is so helpful. It's far less isolating.

As for treatment/diagnosis. The only benefit I've had from being officially diagnosed was that I got extra time in some university exams, where the anxiety was affecting my ability to recall memorised information. They did suggest some classes, but they were group workshops at a set time every week which doesn't suit my current lifestyle, which is very varied.

The hypnotherapy was suggested to me by my riding instructor (who was a trained hypnotherapist), so that was a bit out of the blue. It has helped, though it had a more general aim of building my self confidence and teaching me how to calm myself down.

What I did find helpful about the diagnosis, however, was simply having it. It sounds kind of odd, but it made my anxiety into something tangible. I was no longer the hysterical melodramatic girl. Rather, I was a normal person with a health problem, which I could then recognise. I can stop myself and say, this is the anxiety taking over. It no longer feels like an intrinisic part of who I am; it's something separate from me that I occasionally have to deal with.

I don't know if that makes any sense

ETA, I can't eat before cons either. The last three I've been to I've not eaten until I got home at night.



Last edited by Kitri du Lac (30 Sep 2013 - 16:22)
02 Oct 2013 - 21:04107844
I used to suffer from anxiety attacks (possibly linked to recurring anaemia at the time) and went through therapy for OCD, and I've always been socially anxious.

What I wanted to say is, cosplay and conventions helped me a lot. I went to my first con with friends, and through circumstances and in the face of the anxiety attacks and my mind telling me it was a bad idea I went alone to the next. I had a fantastic time (though did have to take a break when anxiety got to me a little a time or two) and it helped so much. I had never done anything like that alone before, and it convinced me to go to more events and the confidence began to drown out the anxiety. Two years later, I am living on the other side of the world and have been travelling round Japan on my own and I am planning further trips alone. I used to be so anxious I hated using the bus because I didn't like asking for a ticket.

Lesson learned: as difficult as pushing yourself into doing things your anxiety tries to convince you not to, do it. Anxiety is like that crappy friend that tells you you can't do stuff and why bother because it will only be shit anyway. The only way to shut them/it up is to prove it wrong - to do something your anxiety makes you feel would kill you and then realise hey, I'm still here and that was actually kinda fun.
Start by doing it in small doses - make a phone call, say hi to a stranger at the bus stop, ask a stranger for the time, or for some information you may not even need (what time is the bus/did I miss the bus/where is xx?). Even just as simple as going shopping alone.

Cosplay helps because it acts as a form of deindividuation in a way, as people have said. You are wearing a costume, a mask of sorts, and you can express yourself without the usual reservations you have.
It may not be therapy but that is still psychology.

And the con community on a whole is a very welcoming and accommodating place. I went through years of people around me making me feel like crap and encouraging my depression and I have to say the people I have met through cons have completely flipped that around.
We dress up as cartoon characters - we all have issues here! XD



Quote Angel Tear:

It's making me think that maybe I should go to someone about this, but I'm wondering even if I did then what could be done about it? Would I be given any effective treatment or would I be sent on my way as though I'd never said anything?


Do it. Though therapy's benefits depend on a few things: how much you put into it, how much you get out of it and how good the therapist is. A lousy therapist will make you worse, trust me. Make sure you see the right person.
Do NOT let anyone ignore what you say. With the state the health system is in you could be pushed from pillar to post trying to see someone. If you have the money, sort it out yourself and cut out the middle man.

First, your doctor will try to rule out a GMC (general medical condition). It's standard practise. Per DSM guidelines, you can't be diagnosed with any psychological condition if a GMC hasn't bee ruled out. As an example, when I had anxiety attacks I was given blood tests and even sent for an ECG.
When a GMC is ruled out, ask for a referral. Don't wait to be given one, ASK. The doctor will then arrange for someone to send you a letter and it is up to you to then contact them and make an appointment. If you know who you want to see, let your GP know.

Do your research too. I know some people say don't, it's like WebMD syndrome, but it does help just to understand your condition. I've been dealing with depression (I cycle between depressive states and hypomania) for over 10 years now so it's easy to see patterns and understand what helps and what doesn't. Though it never gets easier to deal with, it gets a little easier to survive.

As to the 'what can be done about it?' question. You see someone, you get a diagnosis. A diagnosis is everything, I can't even stress how important that one little aspect it - you take a clin psych module they will spend the first lecture/seminar hammering home that point. A diagnosis opens options to treatment and understanding, it makes access to help easier and some people may be even more understanding. The simpler way to put it is: without a diagnosis, you're on your own.


Sorry for the tl;dr X_X.


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05 Oct 2013 - 15:29107915
I've been meaning to come back and thank you for the advice you gave, and I'll definitely be following it! Thank you so much for telling me exactly what I needed to know. Hopefully now I can start getting myself on track


05 Oct 2013 - 17:10107917
Quote Angel Tear:
I've been meaning to come back and thank you for the advice you gave, and I'll definitely be following it! Thank you so much for telling me exactly what I needed to know. Hopefully now I can start getting myself on track


Good luck! It's not easy but it's definitely worth it. The worse thing about a lot of conditions is that it is often taking that first step and seeking help that is the hardest. When you can finally do that, half the battle has already been won; you have something to be very proud of .
I sincerely hope it all works out for you.


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05 Oct 2013 - 22:42107929
Just popping my hat into the ring here, to say that I too have issues with anxiety and depression, both intermingled quite tightly with one another. Actually, at Ayacon this year, when my panel basically ate itself and deleted itself from my laptop on the Saturday, and I had to cancel it on Sunday. Yeah, that was a fun time to get the depression, at a con, and when you're trying not to look like you're about to cry, lest people be put off by it. It was a painful feeling having to tell people that my panel was cancelled and explain why, again and again and again to each newcomer to the panel.

Anyways, for what it's worth, I just wanted to say to any fellow sufferers, that you're not alone. Take what comfort can be taken from that, as you wish.


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