So, Anxiety and the track not exactly the things you would put together well, it’s actually not that unusual. A lot of my favourite race drivers have admitted they suffer from this dreadful mental health condition.
And I am a motor-sport fan and Hobbyist/Freelance photographer so this is how I cope with the unexpected. This would normally cause me to stress, worry and potentially at the worst cause panic attacks.
Before the event…
To help me minimise unnecessary worry 2 or 3 days before the event I make sure I have everything. I am human and occasionally my checks still miss something. I try really hard not to miss anything because I will start worrying and then likely start panicking.
Arriving at the track & the day ahead
This is a really hard thing for me to be honest, I hate unfamiliar environments which is not unusual. However some with anxiety don’t suffer from this. Those that do however need time to adapt at an event I don’t have time for this. I am only there for maybe 6 hours this is where I use my “Solutions” toolbox.
My solution Toolbox for race day’s is my photography I love photography. It requires full attention and being able to think very fast. A fraction of second delay and the shot you really want is likely already gone.
Due to the the concentration I am using while taking pictures is the ultimate distraction. I am not thinking about my anxiety, my surroundings or what others are doing. This reduces my panic attack and Anxiety levels.
But I am always listening for movement so I remain safe.
has It completely stopped the risk?
No. there is always a risk of a panic attack or Anxiety Attack during the day. Thanks to knowing my triggers I can often pick up on signs I am not doing too good.
But even knowing my triggers I can sometimes have an attack that I miss.
Other Tools in my Solution Toolbox
While my photography help’s me a huge amount it’s is not the only tool I use to help me when in unfamiliar surroundings.
The other is google maps. With this being able to work pretty much anywhere with a mobile signal It’s invaluable. I can check out where things are while I could do this with signposts. At a race event they are often hidden or blocked by tents etc.
Going Track Side
This is probably one of the easier aspects of the of the day for me. As most circuits paddocks are pretty compact they aslo become crowded really quickly. I can easily move around Track side in allowed areas if I am not happy.
But again with my photography, I am usually concentrating on taking photos and focusing on ambient sounds etc. So that I can time my photography so really, I am not worrying too much if at all while track side.
The end of the day.
This is another hard part of the day for me because I am happy as I have had a great time. But at this time I start worrying again about how busy public transport is going to be. Coping with an ongoing back issue heightens my worrying and also my anxiety levels start to rise again.
I cope with both problems in 2 separate way’s;
- For my back, I have pain relief helping to reduce the discomfort alongside my monopod for additional support. These are great they as they can take a huge amount of weight. So I am able to use it as a walking stick and help propel myself forwards.
side, I focus on positive’s. I can detect the symptoms of attacks in most cases very quickly now. I have breathing techniques to help with this.
- On public transport I am usually ok as I have developed other techniques to cope with that.
Anxiety website : https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/