Worst Cinematic Experiences: Telling Someone to be Quiet, Followed by a Panic Attack

Cinema: Bexleyheath
Screen: 7
Film: Midnight Sun
Date: 04/04/18
Time: 20.10

The cinema is one of my best places to escape from my anxiety.  

I suffer from pretty bad anxiety. I’m not going to go into details about it but it’s important to realise how uncomfortable I felt doing what I did. The cinema is one of my best places to escape from my anxiety. If I’m in a terrible mood, the moment the lights go down, I know for about two hours I’ll be okay. As the lights went down on this evening however, I didn’t feel comfortable. The couple next to me talked from the offset, and when I say talked, I mean talked. In this sad world, I’ve come to accept whispers and murmurs within a cinema, but full blown conversations are a big issue. It’s like an itch you can’t quite scratch. People are there to escape the madness of real life and these two were ruining it without a care in the world.

As the film went on, I prayed someone would say something. It was a small screen and there were lots of people close enough to do so, but no one did. Maybe, like me, they wanted someone else to do it. Now, to some, it may seem simple to just ask someone to stop talking. But to someone who struggles to have conversations with friends and family, the thought of telling a stranger to stop talking makes me feel sick. The worst part for me is not knowing how they’ll react. If they get angry (despite being in the wrong), I’m trapped next to a person mad at me. It’s also not unheard of for people to get violent in this kinds of situations. And what if they simple turn around and go “No”? I wouldn’t know what to do as I hate confrontation.

The film went on, and so did their conversations. Enough was enough, I was going to ask them to stop talking right now! Twenty more minutes passed and I was still trying to work up the courage. Every time I thought I would say something, I chocked or they then stopped and I thought that it was over. It was never going to be over. So eventually, the moment came. I learnt over and said “Could you stop talking please?”. Heart in my mouth, and you know what the guy said? “Okay”. OKAY. I don’t know why this riled me up so much. Perhaps it was the casual way he acknowledged they were being rude but was hoping no one would call them out? Maybe I had played out every single scenario in my head and I wasn’t prepared for the simple outcome? After this exchange in words, my whole body was shaking. I had to grip my arm rest to stop my shaking from annoying the very people who had frustrated me. That’s when I felt it coming – the panic attack. Thankfully, it wasn’t a major one, I was able to stay in control. But, for what felt like ten minutes, I felt like shit.

…to some, it may seem simple to just ask someone to stop talking. But to someone who struggles to have conversations with friends and family, the thought of telling a stranger to stop talking makes me feel sick.  

If you’re reading this and think it’s an overreaction, I feel it’s important you know how anxiety can cause difficulties in seemingly simple situations. Everyone has their own triggers, and one of mine, as silly as it sounds, is having a cinema trip ruined. As I said at the start, the cinema is one of my safe places. On really tough days, going to the cinema helps as I see a film and also get out of the house (even if it is just into another building). Coming out of the screening of ‘Midnight Sun’ (which I liked more than expected), I still felt crap, but I’m glad I did it. It’s not like I’ve now got a new found confidence and will go around shushing everyone who speaks, but I can look back on this and not regret not speaking up. Overthinking is defiantly one of my biggest issues, and while even over a week later I still think about small moments like this, I can count it as a victory in what was otherwise a bad cinematic experience.

Please don’t go to the cinema and have full blown conversations. It’s just a dick move.

2 thoughts on “Worst Cinematic Experiences: Telling Someone to be Quiet, Followed by a Panic Attack

  1. Laura

    I love how open and honest you are here and well done on telling the people next to you to be quiet! I totally get where you’re coming from, we can so easily build things up in our head and make ourselves feel even more anxious but despite all that you still worked up the courage to stand up for yourself and everyone else at the cinema.

    Reply

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