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UER Forum > Rookie Forum > Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone? (Viewed 6989 times)
sm0kescreen 


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Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< on 10/24/2016 6:32 PM >
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Don't know if this is the right forum? I hope it is, sorry if it's not.

I want to start exploring and scoping out places in my area to explore, but I'm kind of in a catch-22. To preface this, I have professionally diagnosed anxiety and mental health issues, and I'm autistic, so I have a lot of social problems, depression, and extreme fears that I can't kick even though I know they're irrational. I'm aware that I should just "get over it" and stop being a total baby about everything, but I've been trying to do that for over ten years, so I don't think I'm going to have any sudden success. I don't have any offline friends (haven't had any since middle school, and I'm an 18 y/o freshman in college now :/) and my handful of online friends don't live in my state (Florida).

But whenever I consider going by myself, I have a lot of anxiety about being assaulted or murdered while I'm alone, or getting injured and trapped somewhere. It's a general fear I have everywhere, even at home, but urban exploring kinda ramps it up a bit since it generally involves less public areas. Most of my life it's rendered me functionally incapable of doing things, or at least not without a lot of anxiety, since I'm scared about a bunch of stupid stuff all the time. I know it doesn't make sense and nobody would probably want to attack or murder me, but it's kind of like that worry you get when you realize you left the stove on, cranked up to 11.

I'd like to meet some people to hang out with and maybe explore with if they're interested, but I have anxiety about other people too. I worry that people secretly hate me, or that they'd hurt me if they had the chance to, or that they'd trip me/otherwise screw me over if we ever got into any danger or if they had the opportunity to do so during an exploration. I know it's a stupid worry too, but it's kind of hard to trust people, no matter how much you like them, when you feel certain that somebody is pretending to like you and actually wishes you ill.

I'm kind of rambling at this point, but to sum it up - I have no offline friends, don't know how to make any, and have anxiety about both being alone and being with other people. (Good job, brain! What a great recipe for a functional human being!) Don't know if I should just resign myself to being alone and not doing anything my entire mediocre boring life, or if anyone's got any advice. <:/




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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 1 on 10/24/2016 6:50 PM >
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Id suggest that meeting / making friends will be a lot more rewarding to you than taking a few pics of some building or storm drain to post on the Internet.

start slow at first do some low risk infiltrations try some live locations they can be great, 1. not too many tweakers and 2. if youre caught just tell security you got lost



[last edit 10/25/2016 12:42 AM by Explorer Zero - edited 2 times]

mulletcat 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 2 on 10/24/2016 10:06 PM >
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I don't have anxiety but before some of my night time explores I get excited/scared. Whenever this happens I try to think of other things and not of the task at hand, this gets my mind off it and I can function a bit better. Like 2Xplorations said you should start with some easy stuff, if there's a construction site near you, go in on a Sunday (workers don't normally work Sundays except private contractors). Hopefully this helps, good luck on exploring!




foxhollow 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 3 on 10/24/2016 10:13 PM >
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You don't have to "get over" anything, someone that tells you to get over that kind of thing is just nuts. However, it doesn't have to end with that diagnosis. Don't let the label of mental illness hold you back from what you wish to do, because you can do it and I'm sure a lot of people would agree with me. If I lived in Florida I'd be happy to go and check out a place with you, but sadly, I'm on the other side of the International Date Line, so it might be a little bit of a commute. As for offline friends, if you can't meet anyone from school/uni, youth groups, clubs, work, etc, then you may want to consider searching for Reddit or Facebook groups on urbex in your city. It worked pretty well for me, that and Instagram. If you upload some nice shots and use some good urban exploration hashtags, someone in your area might say "hey, nice shots, I've shot there once before, etc, etc".

Don't give up on these things, it can be hard at first to both explore alone and try and find pals that like the same thing, but you just have to keep at it and success will come




I'm out there, Jerry and I'm loving every minute of it.
wranglerroadhead 


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Safari Kay

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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 4 on 10/24/2016 11:18 PM >
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Anxiety and adrenaline are that awesome drug we explorers crave! Ride that sh*t like a Cali surfer on a tsunami.




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skatchkins 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 5 on 10/24/2016 11:26 PM >
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I'm a super anxious introvert myself. That second pair of eyes really helps on explores though. It's pretty hard to find a solid partner for this type of stuff that can offset your cons with their pros. While I love exploring with my wife, she's a lot like me, so sometimes that just doesn't work. Believe it or not, my best exploring partner is my long ago church college group "bible school" teacher. My first explore, I called him up on a whim and asked if he wanted to "break into an abandoned building to take photos with me." He said, "Let me finish grilling these burgers and I'll be there."
The things I'm anxious about, he's not, and the things he's anxious about, I'm not etc. Especially if you're wanting to play photog while at a location, it helps lower my level and let me concentrate on shots. And somehow in turn, playing photog grounds me even more. So maybe the person you find to explore with won't be who you'd first think of.
Anyway there are plenty of people on here that s'plore alone and do it well. I hope they chime in with other info.




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blackhawk 

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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 6 on 10/25/2016 12:10 AM >
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Posted by wranglerroadhead
Anxiety and adrenaline are that awesome drug we explorers crave! Ride that sh*t like a Cali surfer on a tsunami.


Mmmm, adrenaline, now we're talking.
Most us are adrenaline junkies, the 12 step program couldn't do shit to help us

Fear is normal, useful to a point.
Never let fear command you, it is a poor leader.
Learn to listen to it and know when to bug out.
You must learn to work this out, one step at a time.
If you feel uncomfortable with people it's perfectly fine to explore alone.
Life is not risk free, none of it.
Living is a risk no matter what you do.
Learn to limit your exposure to unreasonable risks.
What defines unreasonable? You do.
Learn by doing. Read as much here on UER as possible.
Learn from others mistakes and successes.

Your biggest risks are falls, structural collapses and in drains, drowning.
These are mostly preventable if -you- look and think before you do something.
Read the Hellholes thread in the Main Forum.
https://uer.ca/for...=1&threadid=122644
As far as being attacked or murdered, very unlikely. They're called abandoned for just that reason.

If you don't pump steel, start now.
Strength is useful and builds confidence.
Chin ups, push ups, Romanian dead lifts, back squats, and dead lifts in that order, learn to do them letter perfect, one at a time. It will take a year plus, but you can start -now-.

Don't worry about the little things; they will sort themselves out in time if you search for the answers.
Push forward.

Welcome to UER.



[last edit 10/25/2016 12:22 AM by blackhawk - edited 1 times]

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Skye_Ann 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 7 on 10/25/2016 1:33 AM >
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I've got diagnosed anxiety and depression, so I sort of get where you're coming from at least.

I had a REALLY hard time getting out exploring when I was just starting out - but luckily my family has an interest in history and my Grandmother took me to my first few places. Try talking to your family if you think they'd be interested. Tip: don't phrase it like "breaking into abandoned buildings!" try and find some history to the abandonments you want to explore - also makes for a good alibi. ;)

Otherwise, UER has been a good place for bonding with people with similar interests. You don't need to become "friends" per say, if you worry about them fucking you over - but exploring buddies who share the same hobby. Most of us here are here with good intentions, so don't let that worry you.

I don't know what the exploring scene is like in the states - but in Canada you're pretty safe if you go alone. Most places the biggest problem is structural safety, or angry property owners. But for that reason, I always bring a buddy just in case. I avoid going alone unless I have no other alternative.

Overall, don't push yourself too hard because that can worsen your health conditions (I've had panic attacks from exploring). But also don't let your concerns prevent you from at least trying.

If nothing else works - there's always the other forums so you can enjoy the hobby vicariously.




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Aran 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 8 on 10/25/2016 6:07 AM >
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I find that looking at things through a purely logical standpoint helps whenever I am nervous. A bit of fear is not only okay, it is good. It keeps you on your toes. However, nervousness causes you to make mistakes.

Try to calmly think through contingency plans for various scenarios. Being able to think "If X happens, I will do Y" has a huge benefit in both preparedness and staying calm. Identifying what exactly you are nervous about and having a plan for it definitely can help, or at least for me it does.




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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 9 on 11/21/2016 12:59 AM >
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While I think the ideal number for an exploration is 3, especially if you are in a sketchy building with structural damage, if you explore alone, just leave your destination and estimated return time to someone you know. It could put your mind at ease to know that if you ever get stranded or you lock yourself in a room, at least someone knows where you are.

Also, get your preventive tetanus shot, it's one less thing to worry about.




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Peptic Ulcer 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 10 on 11/21/2016 1:42 PM >
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First, welcome! You had a great post and being open and honest is a really good way to kick things off. With regards to your question(s) you are admittedly in a bit of a quandary. Not being able to be alone or with others puts you in a tough spot, however all is not lost!

You're young so I'm going to give you some life advice from an old fart: Confidence comes from success. Overcoming what you fear or feel to be impossible will only serve to strengthen your self image. You mentioned your "mediocre boring life" and this set me back a bit. Your life is what you decide to make of it. We all have limitations, some greater, some lesser, but how we decide to deal with those is what makes us who we are. You've taken a good first step by reaching out to others for advice and companionship. Now it's up to you to decide what you're going to do with it.

As usual 2X's advice is spot on! Start small. If you explore alone, try rural explores first as they tend to be lower risk and country people are usually a lot nicer and more helpful, especially in the South. Since trust is such an issue go with a family member. Thanksgiving is coming up so you gave a great opportunity to be with people you trust. Even if they don't go inside with you or are uninterested in Urbex, who doesn't like a nice drive in the country!

Social anxiety is a difficult hand to be dealt and I speak from experience. I used to get physically ill every time I had to meet someone new or there was an "event" I had to attend. By forcing myself into more and more social situations I eventually got through it and even became a salesman! Take it slow but try to push yourself a little more each time. It's ok if it doesn't work out the way you expected but just keep trying.

Good luck!




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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 11 on 12/22/2016 7:19 PM >
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It would be better to get some close friends.




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JokerSpecter 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 12 on 5/17/2017 4:44 PM >
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I get bouts of anxiety prior to entering a new location, counting the second visit. I always fix that with eating something and doing some quick exercise.

Mental conditions or not, you would stupid to not place fear in a location. Foreboding or not, any location can be potentially life-threatening. There are variables that should always be acknowledged like, could there be a malevolent person inside? Or Will the security/owner that finds me possibly harm me out of their own fear? What if I run into an animal? You can always familiarize yourself with a location, but you never account for another being.

Blackhawk said it best. Fear is an instinct, your mentor to being a better operator.



ADDITIONALLY: If you face fears that often bind you beyond control, it's probably best you leave exploration alone. Putting yourself through unnecessary strain takes a toll on your heart. If you feel so inclined, maybe go with an experienced friend or two.



[last edit 5/17/2017 4:47 PM by JokerSpecter - edited 1 times]

stealthwraith 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 13 on 5/17/2017 5:02 PM >
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Extraordinarily anxious loner here and I have found having a solid, trustworthy partner is the way to go. After years, and I means years, of partnered explores I've recently started doing some solo ones. I can only tell you this, you have your own triggers and self soothing toolbox; get to know the triggers and gain acceptance for them whether it seems logical or not. Also get to know your toolbox of techniques to self-soothe. Since each person is different you'll have to use your own but once you have knowledge and tools you'll be off to a good start!

I also hesitate to explore with a group larger than 3-4 and I have to know and trust each one of them. So I really recommend a person who is already in your life for your first partner even if they're initially not into this whole exploring thing. It gets in your blood as my bff will tell you. She wasn't super into this but we're almost 10 years in as exploring buddies now 😀




Stealth: adj. designed in accordance with technology that makes detection difficult. Wraith: n. A wisp or faint trace of something
DescentOnARope 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 14 on 5/18/2017 12:53 AM >
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I was about to make a thread about this when I saw this one.

Anxiety has always been a huge problem for me during explores. I'm not worried about getting hurt*, I'm worried about getting caught. Every time I explore, I don't take my time and end up missing a lot because I just have to get out. Last time, about a month ago, we were getting ready to enter a building. My whole body was shaking, my heart was beating so fast it felt like it wasn't, and I couldn't catch my breath. It lasted until the instant we left, at which point I was fine. A big place, and all we explored were two hallways. The people I've told said it was a panic attack, but I have no idea, since it hasn't happened before or since.

*opinion subject to change if I fall three stories and get impaled on rebar.




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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 15 on 5/18/2017 1:30 AM >
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Posted by DescentOnARope
I was about to make a thread about this when I saw this one.

Anxiety has always been a huge problem for me during explores. I'm not worried about getting hurt*, I'm worried about getting caught. Every time I explore, I don't take my time and end up missing a lot because I just have to get out. Last time, about a month ago, we were getting ready to enter a building. My whole body was shaking, my heart was beating so fast it felt like it wasn't, and I couldn't catch my breath. It lasted until the instant we left, at which point I was fine. A big place, and all we explored were two hallways. The people I've told said it was a panic attack, but I have no idea, since it hasn't happened before or since.

*opinion subject to change if I fall three stories and get impaled on rebar.


If it brothers you this much, take a break.
Getting hurt, the sound of an imploding joint, the snap of tendons or the snap of a breaking femur and the pain in colors that follows always should be your greatest fear... or that feeling of endless free falling.

Being to stressed and fearful distracts you and can get you hurt. Some time off will help.
There are also many low risk sites, small steps before leaps of faith. Fear must be controlled.
Learn from your experience and modify your response by will and logic.
Master yourself to master the world.

Consider exploring with permission; some the best untagged, intact industrial sites I've done were with permission.




I wear zoot suit jacket with side vents five inches long,
I have two-tone brogues yeah you know this is wrong.
But the main thing is unless you're a fool,
Ah you know you gotta know, yeah you know, yeah you gotta be cool.

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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 16 on 11/16/2018 2:11 AM >
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Posted by DescentOnARope
I was about to make a thread about this when I saw this one.

Anxiety has always been a huge problem for me during explores. I'm not worried about getting hurt*, I'm worried about getting caught. Every time I explore, I don't take my time and end up missing a lot because I just have to get out. Last time, about a month ago, we were getting ready to enter a building. My whole body was shaking, my heart was beating so fast it felt like it wasn't, and I couldn't catch my breath. It lasted until the instant we left, at which point I was fine. A big place, and all we explored were two hallways. The people I've told said it was a panic attack, but I have no idea, since it hasn't happened before or since.

*opinion subject to change if I fall three stories and get impaled on rebar.


i have a very similar feeling and it's a very annoying thing to keep happening but perhaps as you keep doing it you get more comfortable with it. but i find the desire to explore is just this constant niggling at me that i have to do it even if my anxiety is at an all-time high. damn brains, it makes it so annoying. i think keep pushing and if you want to leave, leave. and go a little further each time




llugguss 

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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 17 on 11/30/2020 12:38 PM >
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In such a situation, you definitely need friends and the warmth of their communication, I am sure of this, because I had to face it myself and feel all the horror of anxiety. I didn't have a chance to talk to anyone because I moved to another state and all my close friends and relatives stayed in Texas. My anxiety just kept getting bigger, which is why I decided to buy white vein kratom, as it was a good way for me to get rid of fear and anxiety. I just stopped worrying about all the things that previously made me worry



[last edit 8/27/2021 3:57 AM by Steed - edited 2 times]

samw1seg 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 18 on 12/6/2020 8:06 PM >
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Just start slow and take it from there. I have anxiety, but I feel comfortable checking out some locations alone like the more "public" ones. I'm talking about places that are hidden in plain sight where you might find teenagers chilling and people out walking their dogs. When you're checking out places that are a little more "intense" and off the beaten path it definitely helps to have at least one like minded person along for the ride. If you live in a big enough city, put out some feelers online or at school and see if you can find someone relatively trustworthy to explore with. Good luck!




element x 


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Re: Dealing with anxiety before a first exploration/exploring alone?
< Reply # 19 on 12/11/2020 6:32 AM >
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I second the advice about taking it slow and not pushing yourself too far! I also have quite a few mental health issues myself, anxiety being one of them. Easing yourself into it and building up confidence is also a good idea. I think knowing your limits and learning how to trust your gut are one of those things that you build up overtime.

As for dealing with anxiety regarding people, anxiety brain is tough as hell. When you're exploring with people, being able to trust them is super important! Learning how to redirect anxiety thoughts when it comes to people can be a good way to deal with it. I definitely feel you there with the feeling that a friend, especially if you don't know them that well, could screw you over.

For me, I tend to sort things out with "how am I feeling about it" and "what's real in this situation". So, for example, say you have anxiety that one of your new friends/exploring partners is going to ditch you. Ask yourself "why do I think this person is going to ditch me?" and then go from there. Is it because they're a person you don't know very well? Is it because they've exhibited some red flags they're not trustworthy- and if so, what are those red flags? Investigate to yourself why you might think that way and take it apart !

These things are definitely easier said than done and I'm definitely speaking from doing this (and other therapeutic techniques) over several years, but ya gotta start somewhere. They might help you manage your anxiety too. Again, you know yourself best.

If you're comfortable to send me a pm, I can direct you towards some resources.




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