Can't stand crowds... O_O

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New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 6/2/2008 4:41 AM (GMT -6)   
  Hey, I'm new to this subject, (been to the depression one for a couple days now)
      I'm in high school and I absolutely hate crowds. I refuse to go into the cafeteria because it freaks me out so bad. about 2 years ago, one of my friends tried to get me to go in there by grabbing my arm and pulling me, and I started to panic. I got all light headed and I seriously almost punched her. She finally let go of me and it was all okay after a while, but still, all my friends comment about how terrified of people I am. My youth group is going to a big convention thing this summer, and it sounds amazing, but there are supossed to be something like 7000 people there, so that immedeitely makes me back out. Just walking across the courtyard of my school, I'm always talking to myself and thinking about how I know everyone is watching me. It's insanely annoying, because when I'm at home or in a quiet familiar place, I always think back and realise how stupid those thoughts were. But when I get back into those stressfull situations, I forget that I'm being paranoid and unrealistic, and all I can think about is that there must be something wrong with me and how I just know that everyone is looking at me. I've been able to deal with it mostly, but when it's stopping me from doing things I want to... It's just incredibly distressing and disconcerting. Thank you to whoever reads this; it's always wonderful to know that I'm not alone. ~Blue

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.
Advice is like snow -- the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1193
   Posted 6/2/2008 7:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Blue,
I want to welcome you to Healing Well and to the Anxiety/Panic forum.  This is a great community who care and support one another with no judgement.
It's okay for you to be afraid of crowds, don't let your friends force you to do something you don't/can't do.  I believe that you have to take baby steps with this sort of thing and allow yourself to fail at it from time to time - if you do fail, don't beat yourself up about it - it's just not worth it.  nono
I don't like crowds either and avoid them whenever I can, but I'm also agoraphobic so I don't get out much any way.  You need to give yourself some time to get through the depression, try to find out what may be causing it so that you can work through it.  Your thoughts are not stupid, maybe not justified because everyone is not looking at you, but the thoughts aren't stupid.  Stop beating yourself up.
Are you on any meds?  Do you see a counselor?  Even one at your school?  Maybe these are things you can look into doing if you haven't already.  Remember that everyone is not watching you, I remember going through the same thing and it was terrifying.  It ruled my life for a long time and one day I just finally realized that I don't care if everyone does look at me.  If they don't like what they see, then they can look the other way.  Try to think like that and maybe it will help you.
I'm glad you found us and hope you stay with us.  Again, welcome to HW and to the A/P forum we are happy to have you here.  Feel free to come here any time to talk, vent, chime in on others' posts.  We are here for you and care about you.
Take care and we look forward to getting to know you better,

Co-Moderator Anxiety/Panic Disorders

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I am not a medical professional, any advice give is purely from personal experience.

Always seek professional advice from your doctor.

Dx: Agoraphobia, Anxiety/Panic Disorders, Barrett's Esophagus, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Essential Tremors, Fibromyalgia, I.B.S., Mitral Valve Prolapse, Narcolepsy, PTSD, Restless Leg Syndrome, Acid Reflux, Sleep Apnea

Rx: Abilify, Flexeril, Lamictal, Neurontin, Nexium, Requip, Ritalin LA, Rozerem, Valium

 “Be a good listener.  Your ears will never get you into trouble.” - Frank Tyger

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 752
   Posted 6/2/2008 9:02 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi there Bluechicken...You are not alone..Crowds are really not my thing either eyes Recently I went to a Book Fair - hundreds of people pushing in and bustling about me aaargh, it was a great test for me and I am proud to say I coped really well this time :-) (Self praise always good - little steps and you will cope too)

It's all about focus really...First thing is to remember to breathe properly - that light-headed feeling is probably your bodies reaction to shallow breathing (hyperventilation)..Once you have mastered the breathing part and start focusing on what has taken your interest eg. the convention you wish to attend you will be fine :-) It's gonna take some practice but I know you can do it - you just have to believe it too.

Wen has given you great advice - seeking help thru counselling and possibly meds is a great idea and I wish you well.

Sista J.

  •  'Raindrops on roses..'
  •  'Peace of mind will come to us when we are happy with 'not knowing'...
  •  'No more stinkin thinkin...'
  •  'It's not how we survive the storm..But how we Dance in the Rain..'

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/2/2008 9:25 AM (GMT -6)   

Hello Blue,

Welcome to HealingWell and the A & P Forum.  I am so glad you felt comfortable posting to us.  You will find a lot of people with anxiety in a large group of people.
Your phobia of crowds is  impacting your quality of life. It is causing  you panic attacks and keeping you from going places you would like to be I suspect. Symptoms of  phobia typically include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread, so please know the symptoms are self limiting and will go away.
Like all fears and phobias, crowded public place phobia is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism.  You may never identify the original event but through therapy I believe you can overcome your fears.
I understand your fears and how it feels to have others looking at us as if we are differnt then they are, but remember we are all human and each of them may have something in their lives too.  So hold your head up high and be proud of who you are. 
Here in A & P we are all equal so you are part of the HW family now and please feel comfortable posting as we will support you and never judge.
Great advice from Sister J, and Wen.
Take care and stick with us
Gentle Hugs
Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety ~ Panic 
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42501
   Posted 6/2/2008 10:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Blue,

You have been given some wonderful advice from everybody. I am not one for large groups of people either, I have to focus what I am there for (like in a store) and ignore everybody else at the time. I use to get so bad that I could hear everybody talking and it was like mumble jumble in my head, I would have to carry my xanax around with me so I could take it when I got anxious. I am doing a lot better now with crowds. But before it was so hard to do what I needed to do.

I wish you luck with this, I think as said above, that you should talk to a counselor and they can help you through this. There are millions of people in this world and we have to live with that. I would hate to see this phobia effect your quality of life. Keep posting, I am sure that we can help you some.

Have a wonderful day
hugs, Karen
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 6/2/2008 11:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Blue,

Been there. Being in crowds doesn't really bother me any longer but when I was in high school the cafe made me feel very awkward. I used to get there really early get my lunch then go eat in the gym. On the couple times my friends made me eat with them I felt the same way like everyone was staring at me. Then there was speech class, don't even get me started on that. I finally just had to put myself out there and do it anyway and over time these feelings just went away.

Hang in there.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 6/2/2008 11:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Blue,

I normally stay in the Crohn's forum myself. But because of my disease and more, I have been a walking ball of depression and anxiety for the past couple years. I've been seeing a counselor for it, and I would recommend you see one too if you can. They can help you figure out where your depression is coming from and how to deal with it. (My counselor says depression really feeds into anxiety which feeds into depression, and on and on...It can be a really bad downward spiral, as I have experienced.) Then they could give you some kind of game plan to do certain "tasks" to baby step your way comfortably into doing things that make you anxious. If they are a good counselor, they'll never just throw you out there. It'll probably be a physical activity 3 times a week (cause physical activites are proven to help depression) and then probably a task to spend time with people you already enjoy spending time with.

At least this is what I'm supposed to do. And I'm no where near perfect right now, but I'm a LOT better than 2 years ago when I couldn't leave my apartment without panicking.
Dx with crohn's since Oct '04.
Have had symptoms since 2000.
Medications: nothing but a daily vitamin
Recently changed GIs, new GI is thinking something else may be wrong.
I see him on June 4th.  Wish me luck.

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