Another PTSD thing. So actually I have two different traumas. This one happened to me around 2008.
I wanted to go to see my favourite band HIM. It was my first gig ever and I didn’t want to go alone. So I asked in forum if anyone near to me was going too and if I might join them. Also I mentioned that I was disabled and would need some support.
So I met this girl, I can’t remember her name anymore, at the train station and we went together to the venue. Had to wait an hour or so before the gates opened. So it got more crowdy behind us until we were in the middle of a crowd. Again I mentioned my disability and asked if we could go to the side or let the fans run in first. She refused because she wanted to be in the first row. She told me “to run” when the gates open and I told her again that I was disabled and couldn’t run. Her response: “then just hobble!” I stared at her with open mouth. I couldn’t believe her ignorance! I tried to find a way out of the crowd, but on the ground were empty bottles that fans just had thrown away. Then the gates opened and the horror began. Fans started to run inside, I was pushed, stumbled a few meters before I fell over a fucking bottle and hit the ground. Fans kept running inside, were jumping over me, their feet hit the ground only centimeters away from my face. The only thought that was running through my mind was: “You’re going to die now.” Suddenly I was grabbed and carried to the side, someone helped me up and asked me something. I needed seconds to realize it was the security. I tried to sort my mind and replied to his question if I was okay with “I don’t know.” Maybe he hasn’t heard me or my voice broke, he asked me again. “I think so”. I said this time trying to sound like I mean it. With a last brief look at me, he said: “Then walk slowly.” And I stumbled inside, I found a seat, sat down and began shaking. My whole body was a shake. The security guy hasn’t really checked on me if I was injured. He didn’t even noticed how I had a shock. It seemed like he didn’t care about my safety at all.
I don’t remember anything from the gig anymore. I still have nightmares from this event and before every gig I attend to, I go through the same panic again. I feel sick to my stomach and shake.
Last gigs I wrote emails to the hall managers, asking for safety support, told them this story. From one I didn’t even got a reply. The other one was nice and promised to give me safe place, but when I was there, I felt like the security didn’t take me or my disability serious. I was stared at during the whole gig, saw how one of them talked to the guy at the backstage door that he should watch me and kick me from my place in case another wheelchair user would arrive. The other gig was in Helsinki, and it got so crowdy that I got a panic attack again. I couldn’t breathe, it was hot and felt like I would collaps. I couldn’t really sit because fans were standing on the bench, and standing myself caused me huge pain.
As much as I love going to gigs, I wish organizers and security people would be better educated about disabled people. They only think: disabled=wheelchair user. And that’s very problematic for those of us who don’t use a wheelchair, where you might not be able to tell their disability, and way too often they assume that “it can’t be that bad” or that I’m “not really severe disabled” because I’m a young punk guy with a cane.
Dear concert organizers and security guys, trust me when I say I need a safe place, away from crowd and a seat because I can’t stand for longer time. I’m in no way asking/trying to get “special VIP-treatment” or some shit. I just want to be able to actually enjoy a concert at a safe place!
To be honest, this situations made me question if I will go to a gig ever again. Because I don’t feel safe and I can’t deal with this ableistic shit no more.