Hi there. I’m really lost on this one.
My boyfriend and I are both in the furry fandom. He’s much more charismatic and nice than I am (though I may be biased). He has social media where he gets art pieces done, and I really want to join the fun.
I have really bad anxiety, to the point where even putting change into my wallet in the line for checkout in a shop can give me a panic attack.
I’m just scared. I know it’s a fandom where some less than stellar people, art thieves and bullies are very prominent, as I’ve been driven away from the fandom before. But I would love nothing more than to get art with my man! Any tips to overcome this and enjoy the fandom with him?
Thank you very much in advance.
- A Very Anxious Dragon
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My goodness, you do have very severe anxiety, don't you? A lot of people don't understand such anxiety, but over the last couple of years, I have had direct experience with my husband, who has PTSD and anxiety from the war (he was on the front lines). Such anxiety can be the result of many things, such as past trauma or a difficult childhood; it can also arise from certain genetic and biological factors. These are things for a doctor to diagnose and treat. Have you consulted with a doctor about your anxiety? If not, you really should. There are a number of medications that can help ease your anxiety, if not dispel it entirely, that will make it easier for you to live your life.
There are also several non-pharmacological treatments that can help. This is always where I go to Eastern advice on treatments, such as meditation and yoga or qigong and practicing mindfulness (learn the ways of the Buddha). Also, simple exercise and improvements in diet can help a lot--you would be surprised. Try to get outside and do something physical (walks help me a lot); do not eat processed foods and foods with lots of additives; try to eat fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats whenever possible. Drink herbal teas, especially tea with ginger, chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, passionflower, or a simple green tea. Caffeine can exacerbate anxiety, so try to avoid coffee and soda.
Okay, that all said, let's get back to furry interaction. I have an idea: since you are fortunate to have a furry mate with lots of experience doing stuff in the fandom, how about you work together as a team? I know a couple of furries who have Facebook and other social media pages jointly. You can have the "Dragon and Wolf" or "Dragowolf" (I'm just guessing he's a wolf, but whatever fursona he has, combine them) and start soliciting artwork together. That way, you can lean on him some to navigate through the fandom. He can still, of course, have his own pages, and when you are ready, you can go solo, too, but I think it would be really helpful to you to do this jointly until you can get into a comfort zone where you are confident enough to do stuff on your own (what a blessing to you to have a furry bf!)
And this can work in any social context because you will find "less than stellar" people everywhere, not just the furry fandom. Form some mutual friendships with you, your boyfriend, and his friends. Go out and socialize together.
Also! Lean on your fursona, your alter ego. You're a dragon, and I bet there is a very good reason you are one: you admire the strength and beauty of the fire lizard, don't you! Fursonas often represent what we wish to be. I know this is true for me and my alter ego, Grubbs Grizzly. Grubbs is much more outgoing, laid back, and chill that Kevin Hile. He is the kind of person I wish to be. So, when you are a dragon, BE a dragon. Adopt your fursona's abilities, strengths, and personality traits. Become the dragon. This can do a lot to help you with anxiety! When you go to buy art or interact with furries, do so as the dragon. Don't be "Very Anxious Dragon." Be "Bold! Powerful! Dragon"
So, that's my advice: work on managing your anxiety, partner up with your boyfriend as you venture back into the fandom, and be the dragon.
Hope that helps!
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