attending a furry convention when you have anxiety (wip title lmao)
disclaimer: i am not a professional. if you are struggling with your mental health, i hope you get the help you need.
these are tips based on my own experience as a person who has anxiety. as with any advice, you might find that none of this applies to your situation. take what you need, and leave the rest.
identify your anxiety — what exactly are you anxious about? write it down or talk about it with someone you trust. processing your feelings can make you feel a little better.
plan for the worst — it's extremely unlikely that the nightmare catastrophe scenario you've imagined will become a reality, but it may make you feel safer to have a plan in place. that way you can combat anxious thoughts with "if (x) happens, i can do (y) and it will be okay."
use the buddy system — ask someone you trust to go with you. it's reassuring to have someone there to support you.
take breaks during the con — i had a blast at my first convention, but i spent plenty of time in my hotel room recharging. getting out of your comfort zone is essential for growth, but too much all at once can be stressful. don't push yourself too far past your limits. bring something to do for when you need quiet time: a book to read, games to play, supplies for art or journaling, etc.
follow the 6-2-1 rule — every single guide to furry conventions will mention this, and rightfully so! for the love of all things furry, please take the 6-2-1 rule seriously!
i made the mistake of eating gummy worms all day and my tummy hurt. in case you don't know, the 6-2-1 rule is as follows: for each day you spend at a con, please be sure to get at least 6 hours of sleep, 2 square meals, and 1 shower. all of these are self care, and caring for yourself properly improves your mental health. despite what silly people on the internet will tell you, this is not "neurotypical bullshit". it won't magically *poof* away your anxiety, but it will help! you are an animal (no, not your fursona! homo sapiens is a species of animal!) and you have a body that will not function properly if you are not meeting your basic needs for food, water, sleep, exercise, hygeine, etc.
use your coping strategies — you know yourself better than anyone. what helps you manage your anxiety? deep breathing, mindfulness, medication, etc. whatever coping skills help you, don't forget to use them during the convention.