What It Was Like Attending a Concert as Someone With a Chronic Illness


I recently went to a concert, one where the people are jam-packed into a small space and people get super pumped up. This was quite a foreign element to me. I am usually the stay at home, sit back and relax type of person, mostly because chronic illness has shaped my life this way. I was so nervous about going to the concert, so out of my element, that I could not eat the entire day. It was mostly due to the fact that I had no clue what to expect. Prepare as I might, I didn’t have anything as a reference.

I didn’t rush into the concert unprepared, chronic illness will never allow me to be a spontaneous person. I had to carefully assess everything I did on all the days leading up to the concert, as not to hurt of exert myself too much. Due to postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, I had to drink a ton of water, along with my Nuun electrolyte tablets, to prepare for the night so I wouldn’t pass out from standing up for such a long time. I also had to wear my compression stockings for the same reasons.

At the concert itself I was constantly worried about being bumped wrong, getting body-surfed over, or getting dragged into the mosh-pit. I stayed in the back where the people were less jam-packed, but I am so aware of my own body that being around any number of people really drains me physically and mentally. It is like my body is always on defense, always ready to take on whatever bad thing that might happen to me. Even so, I was able to lose myself in the music (especially because it was two of my favorite bands), and I had a fantastic time.

The next few days I was felt dead to the world. My entire body hurt and I didn’t have any energy whatsoever. I ended up recuperating just fine and when I did I was incredibly happy. I was so glad that I stepped out of my element. I was able to see that I could do it, I could get through things if I prepared adequately enough. I had such a good time and am so confidant that I can survive it again that I am going to another concert next weekend. I won’t be as nervous to go because I now know what to expect. As long as I prepare, I can live a relatively “normal” life and do things I never thought I could do before. Chronic illness may be a big part of my life, but I won’t let it rule me or stop me from stepping out of my comfort zone.

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