Fighting my Social Anxiety on South Pier, Blackpool
So, This is my first vlog speaking to camera, I'm anxious as hell but that's actually the point of the video. So, at the moment I'm here on South Promenade and you can see a tonne of people around me, I hope the audio quality is okay!? it's a new microphone a little lapel microphone so I'm not sure if you can even hear me, it's super windy, it's windier than I thought it would be, anyway, so this video... let me start walking actually... have a little walk on the beach...
So this video is not going to (let me just switch hands) this video is not going to appeal to everybody, the two people I would like to aim my videos at are, I know a lot of family and friends who can't get out and about, through mental health issues and physical issues, these videos are for those guys. I wanted to just go around Blackpool vlogging but then I sat there and realised I'm really not the right person to do that kind of stuff because I've got no confidence whatsoever, I get anxious at the slightest things like right now I'm feeling like I'm about, I can feel my breath going you know like struggling to breathe that's usually the first sign of a panic attack coming on but I'm gonna continue. I just thought I'd make a video that reaches out to those people because that is that is really what my core audience should be because I do suffer badly with panic attacks mainly, I've got some health issues so often it's my heart or my lungs that trigger panic attacks but there's so many people out there now, due to Covid, we've seen a rise in mental health issues and anxiety for me has come from my my illnesses, my heart issues, pneumonia. And my way to deal with it for the past... I've had it for about six years but actually
for the last two years since I got ill two years ago I was in hospital on a ventilator and then it started to get really bad to the point where I'd wake up in the morning and I'd be having a panic attack (sorry if I keep having to adjust the lighting conditions - it's a new lens and new camera so maybe I should just fix it there for a little bit) yeah so, My only answer for escaping pan ic attacks without physically running away from the room (which actually I did at one point, I tried going from different rooms that didn't work) so my only answer was to when I woke up in the morning and instantly started having a panic attack was to just try and go back to sleep again and so I found myself for a year and a half, just before the start of Covid, I got ill and started having panic attacks, I had to close my business down it actually wasn't due to Covid, whether I would have survived through Covid or not... probably not, I was only a small business... I'm just going to show you what I'm doing right now to try and fight through them you know, fight or flight and I 'm fighting, I'm choosing to fight. So my plan today is to put myself in an uncomfortable position where I'm around crowds, lots of noise unpredictable situations, you know the fear of embarrassment the fear of ... ... I don't know I don't really understand what the fear is exactly that's that's one of the things about anxiety it's just a feeling sometimes. Most of my panic attacks and anxiety is irrational and I know that staying in bed and falling back to sleep isn't the answer, the answer is to get out and do things. So, for me today, the plan was to come to South
Pier which is just over there, I'll turn the camera around for a little bit and start walking. So, South Pier... there's two two main reasons why I thought this was a good idea today. First reason it gets me out the house, gave me something to look forward to although when I woke up this morning I was filled with anxiety the idea of coming down here with all these people here. So that's the first reason to just force myself to get outside and I thought South Pier would be great because there's going to be tonnes of people around when I get up there, it's going to be very crowded, there's gonna be an element which is super prevalent at the moment which is social distancing, so that is a massive problem on the pier because there's not much room and it's packed full of people so if you've got a fear of that at the moment which a lot of people will have, now we've come out of lockdown, hopefully for the last time, that's going to take a lot of people a long time to get over to start mixing with others. There's you know there's all sorts of stuff going on on the pier, a
lot for the brain to process as you're walking around especially when I'm on my own and especially when I've got a camera in front of me you know talking to myself. The other reason why I want to go to South Pier is because I actually used to work on South Pier when I was about 21 years old. I worked on the the big swing up there if you can see that, the Sky Coaster, the one that's just been yanked up in the air now... in fact we'll walk towards that a little bit. My memory of that time when I was 21, I worked there for a year and a half I think, a season and a half and I was full of confidence and I'd never experienced any anxiety at that point in my life let alone panic attacks. So I just thought that coming back to a place like this where I have nothing but good memories of positive memories it'll be a huge contrast, so if I can come back now and I dare to go on this pier on my own, with all these people around, no social distancing ... you know it's hopefully that will help.
I can't think of anywhere worse to go to be honest but that's not a negative thing that's a positive thing in my eyes. So anyway I'm just going to have a walk to the end have a wander round try and ignore people staring at me and pointing, which I'm sure they're not going to do but you know that's the irrational thought popping into my head that's what's going to happen when I get up there. Right super close to people now so I'm nervous, I'm just going to walk through it and carry on talking let's have a look it's not as busy as it was last weekend ... hello people :) Dibble (Police) are in full force, getting ready, what for I don't know? Okay. So I came
down here to see what the police were doing and they've gone down they've gone down (let me just brighten this up one second) So yeah they've gone that one's gone down there two are walking up the prom now um you can see them really far out there and then there's one down there looking so there's obviously a missing person's thing and this is kind of I was just going to walk away and and go film on south pier but then I thought well this is like a tiny example of things when you do get out of the house and you come out of the house... up until coming out the house you think oh there's, you know, I could do something embarrassing or I could say something embarrassing around a friend or something bad might happen you've got all these negative thoughts that cause the anxiety and the panic attacks but actually when you get out of here things are happening and everyone's doing their own thing and I do remember one time my best friend gave me some great advice, we were heading down to a photoshoot in Manchester and it was a, we had to be there really early in the morning, it was a wedding we were doing it and I was having a panic attack when he arrived to pick me up and I was super super anxious and we got in the car they both eventually talked me into going down there and we had to go to the bride's house first and I didn't know anybody, I wasn't a great photographer at the time you know, I was nervous about so many things and and I remember my friend just said to me (I won't use the the swear word he used but he said) "Nobody gives a f**k about you!, nobody's looking at you, no one cares about you and if somebody does look at you for a second or two, three seconds later they've forgotten about you and it's so true and that really helped me out, that helped me out massively - until I got ill and then the anxiety just started getting triggered by everything that I did so if that's of any use to anyone that's a really good one. Another one I told, my dad's just been ill, we think he's had pneumonia or bronchitis or something and he's got COPD from smoking for years and he's in a really bad way and I said to him the other day whenever you feel a panic attack coming on one thing I do, at least when I'm at home and in a controlled situation is I just kind of talk to the panic attack as if it's a physical thing in the room with me and I just say "do your worst", because we all experience panic attacks differently but the consensus is that you feel like you're gonna die you feel like you're gonna stop breathing, you feel like you're choking or drowning and you know, especially for the first few times you have a panic attack you genuinely think you're gonna die, but even when you're experienced at having panic attacks it's super hard because your rational side of your brain says you're not going to die you're going to get through it it'll you know be it'll be around for five to 20 minutes and it'll be gone but the irrational side of your brain is saying you know it's still giving you all those fight or flight feelings and they take over an irrational side of the brain you just you end up personally pushing it to the side and ignoring that side and it should really be the other way around and so I said to my dad what you should do is speak to speak to the panic attack that's coming on and say do your worst try and take me out try and take me out and I actually had some comfort in that so it doesn't always work but if I'm lying on my bed at night and watching TV and I have those waves of feelings coming on and I know a panic attacks about to happen I just go with it, I just go with it and it's not always, I can't always do it sometimes it takes hold too quickly and then I'm in that world of terror where nothing no thought that cut that cup that I can put in my head we'll get rid of it but ... I think we're going to start walking but anyway, it's worth a try, definitely worth a try. It's definitely not as busy as it was last week but it's still still a good exercise to do.
I think I'm gonna head down to the Sky Coaster and just have a look at that, that where I used to work. I'm just gonna try and skip past these people... ...All right it's probably too dark in here as well, but I know looks okay, okay now it starts getting noisy, so I'm not sure if you can hear me at all? Let's go this way.... got a little football game in the archery game let's have a look... Let's move on... football These are all designed to be really difficult, the fact that the I think they made you take your trainers off on this one and it's like quite slippery on the floor so when you go to kick the football you've not got any traction, I'm pretty sure that's the trick on this one plus those goalkeepers are really tough to push over even by hand let alone a little leather ball with a bit of air in it. Let me see, I'll be interested if they do still
make them take the trainers off, let's have a look I know he's got his trainers on it'll be easier yeah see did they even move! All right, let's move on... the old go-karts over there not even sure if I can zoom in on this camera or not but I think we're going, I think I'm going go-karting very soon so that'll be a little vlog I do at some point... anyway let's move on... This is really good to see, especially all these little businesses that were closed during lockdown... sad times
Okay, let's make our way through here... So, I used to go to my lunch, every single day, burger and chips I think I had every every day for about a year and a half but we've got them super cheap, we got to know the girls working on there, they probably don't own it now I'm sure. Yeah it's not as busy as I thought it would be actually, still plenty of people around and they'll all be spending money so it's all good... let's try and make our way through
all these people God, this is the queue? wow, that's crazy I'm gonna have to try and find somewhere quiet to talk All right, we found a gap between everyone, there we go Super noisy, super busy, my anxiety's through the roof, but this is why I'm doing it This is the ride I used to work on We'll go around the other side it might be a little bit quieter, you can see what's going on. I actually started off working... this used to be a window and I used to take the photographs and bring the photographs out, that's how I got the job and then the next season I was the guy with the rod who used to grab all the people and then slide down, I used to have so much fun, I used to connect them up before the ride and then do this... Ah you see he hasn't got the slide down, I used to have really battered skateboarding shoes on, that hardly had any rubber on the soles, but they were slippy and that was the good thing about them, I used to slide all the way along. I used to be able to catch three big blokes at the same time! Fun days, fun times. So yeah, last time I was here it was full of confidence and now I'm not it's crazy how life changes 20 odd years ago ... anyway let's move around this way let's go through these guys... look at the queue on this one
So many people want to go on Dodgems, not Dodgems, The Waltzers... A lot of people on there! Let's go and film these guys ... I've been on that ride a few times and it's scary, whereas the The Sky Coaster, I used to be the human guinea pig, every morning so I went on that ride about probably over a thousand times. Let's go have a look at this crazy mouse, no, it's called the Crazy Coaster I'm not sure if I'm getting strange looks off people because I'm a strange looking person or whether I've got the absolute worst jeans ever! Look at a state of these... genuine
by the way, absolutely genuine, but, yesterday or the day before this was actually two holes now it's become one. Well a couple of people on Instagram said don't worry about it it looks fine probably doesn't they're probably just being nice to me :D See if you can see The Sand Castle, The Pleasure Beach, The Big One and me :) I might head over to the Pleasure Beach just see how busy it is maybe just go into the entrance and just yeah just give you an idea of how busy it is on a Saturday afternoon, well actually it's nearly Saturday evening, I think it's about five o'clock in the evening so I'm sure it was much busier than this earlier on today anyway Let's start our journey back the way through ... ("stay in your seats, we'll go again, stay in your seats") I'm gonna end the vlog here ... So yeah it wasn't so bad after all so yeah lots of people looking but I just tried to forget that and get through it and see, nothing bad happens, every time you guarantee it, you'll be sat at home you'll wake up in the morning feeling your usual anxious self and the thought of going somewhere on your own especially or in fact you know, even with people, fills you with fear and you just end up staying in all day and I know every single one of you wants to be wants to be back outside having fun out in nature or out on the Promenade around people but a lot of us don't do anything about it including myself, but I'm starting to try... so if you're interested in this kind of stuff and you want to see me next tackle going to barbecues and parties and more stuff like that really getting out of the house and and hopefully one day you know be a full recovery then subscribe. Subscribe
to my channel, I'm Craig aka Scruffy Diamond, so wherever you're watching this, if you have to make that extra effort to go on to YouTube to find me if you're watching this video embedded somewhere, please do, the support will mean a lot to me and it'll be the reason why I continue making these daft videos in front of people where everyone's looking at me :) But I'm just going to try not to care and see if it improves my life and my mental health. Now I've got the uh two mile walk all the way back to the car it's an absolute nightmare to park in Blackpool I can already feel myself getting out of breath, I've not really been out too long within an hour an hour maybe. Last weekend when I came here when it was bank holiday I was out for over four hours came out twice actually came out on the Friday and then the bank holiday Monday oh no, Saturday then the Monday. Right, I'm losing air so I'm gonna go before it all go before it's
all gone don't forget to subscribe Scruffy Diamond... Peace out