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Fear of people - Lotus33 - 12-20-2014 10:47 AM

Hi!

Well, where do I start? First off, I am a 29yr old female and I live in the UK.

For about 12 years I've had what I think of to be social anxiety disorder. The first time I became aware of it was in 2001/2002 when I was a college student and I had to catch the bus coming and going to college. Traveling to the college wasn't a problem but returning home was more problematic.

The bus stop I used to get home was located at a very busy road with traffic lights. Sometimes I finished my sessions early and there wouldn't be any traffic but on the days when I was there until 2pm-4pm there would be the van drivers and sometimes car drivers leering at me. Some of them have tried to speak to me. I smiled at them just to be friendly and give out some form of confidence but that seemed to have backfired when they responded to my attempts of friendliness.

When I got off the bus for the 20 minute walk home I would get car drivers beeping at me, some of them shouting things out, and I didn't like to cross a particularly busy side road because I was afraid the drivers wouldn't let me cross - so I took a very long time crossing the road by waiting until both ends of the road were clear. 005_ssad

I started work in 2004 and things weren't so bad. My confidence grew and I was very good in my job. I was never off sick, never late and got my work done. Many of my internal customers were friends and we laughed and joked together - even went on nights out with them in town.

In 2007 my boyfriend managed to get a job that meant us having to move about 10 miles away from my work and family home. So, I moved out of my grandparents' home and transferred to the new property. At first things were manageable and the buses although ran every hour were more or less frequent but it was a pain for me to get into work because the bus took 55 minutes to get to my place of work, sometimes came late and meant me being coming to work late, stopped running when there was huge disruption from the snow in 2008 (which meant me having to walk an additional 20 minutes in blizzards, at times and with my toes ending up blue). The other people who got on the same bus as me were mainly much older than I and both my boyfriend and I came to realise that the area we lived in was mainly one that people retired to.

As a result I felt very much like a foreigner to them as I was much younger and I became very nervous and tense when they would get on the bus because I imagined them glancing or staring at me as they got on and passed me after they paid for their fare. So I would sit on a side seat and turn away from the main crowd of passengers on the bus. It was around this sort of time I began to fall out with my manager - who was worried about the changes in my mood. She thought I was becoming very angry and sulky but I had to get up at 6am every morning - sometimes 5.30am depending on which buses were running - to be on a bus for 55 minutes and praying that the bus I needed to get would arrive and get me into work on time. I just didn't want any lateness to show up on a perfect record of attentance and punctuality but sometimes this couldn't be avoided and I guess that those factors were the cause of my anger.

In 2010 things became much worse. I lived much closer to my work but the bus stop was, again, on a busy street - a main road that led into the city centre where I worked. Strangers would queue further up from the bus stop, waiting for the same bus, as if they were there first. I didn't let them jump the line when the bus came and sometimes I would glare at them or put my foot in front of them if they tried to come around me and jump the line. Same thing happened coming home, too. Around this time I experienced what I can only describe as facial tics/twitches in this situation - mainly around my right under-eye area.

In 2011 I became aware of feeling very ill. I started to get pale, sweaty, losing weight, very tired, had dark circles under my eyes and the front of my neck swelled up, making it difficult for me to swallow and at times breathe. I was so self-conscious of my neck and afraid that strangers in the street would notice that on wintry days I would wear scarves. To cover up my pale face I would use foundation but I didn't use the right shade because sometimes my dark circles were more noticeable. I walked to work from the bus stop and to the bus stop from work and I was a very fast walker - I think I powerwalked. Laughing6

My illness was confirmed in 2013 although it wasn't easily found and I was made out by my family to be imagining it. At times I was called a hypochondriac - not to my face but behind my back. I was put on medication for it and the cause of my illness was confirmed at the start of this year but the situations in which my anxiety affects me seems to be increasing.

These are the situations/scenarios that trigger/provoke my anxiety:

* Being in a crowded area (like a shopping mall/shop) on my own. It also happens when my boyfriend is with me but not as much. Possibly agoraphobia/monophobia?

* Waiting for a bus (mainly because of likelihood of more people coming to the stop for the same bus and me imagining them jumping the queue even though I was there first. Also because of the likelihood that the bus may be packed or have lots of people on it by the time it reaches the stop I am at)

* Driving my car (mainly because of the likelihood of being cut up, undertaken or overtaken or other drivers not giving way when traffic signs state or other acts of rudeness such as failing to indicate when intending to turn into another road) Sometimes I have retaliated by sounding my horn - one driver who cut me up stuck out his middle finger, pulled into the 24 hour bus lane and swore at me as I went by.

* Being stared at by strangers

* Having another girl turn back to look at me (when I'm walking behind her), and when she turns back to the person she walks with she says something and they then look back at me. I have actually retaliated to this by asking them what they were looking at, only for them to swear at me.

* Having people standing unnecessarily close to me in shopping queues. For that reason and if I shop on my own I tend to use the self-service till as the majority of shoppers in my supermarket go to the cashier. Some people stand very close to us when we're with a cashier, almost as if they are shopping with us but a glare from me doesn't quite cut it and the person the glare is intended for asks their friend why I am giving them a dirty look. Err, invasion of personal space?

* Having people reach over me to get something on a shelf or on a clothes rail. There is something that makes me tense up when I can see a stranger glancing over in exactly the same space as me because I know there's a good chance they'll reach over/past me to get something, thus stretching their arm past my face or my chest. I think it's a personal space issue again. Sometimes I'll do the same thing back to them but most of the time I say sorry and they say sorry or acknowledge my apology. I'm mainly provoked when they don't say sorry first or acknowledge my apology or say "excuse me".

* When strangers don't say "thank you." My boyfriend and I went to leave our local cafe and this guy wanted to come in just as when we were coming out. I held the door open for him - didn't even thank me. So I said "you're welcome." I don't know what it is with me and lack of manners but me and them don't go hand in hand.

* Having people be in the wrong line to use the self-service till. I had a situation a few months ago when I was in the self-service queue and this lady was in the queue to be served by a cashier. She was getting impatient and when she noticed a self-service till was available she decided to use it. There was someone before me waiting to use a self-service till and I politely said to the lady: "Excuse me, but the line you were in isn't for self-service." Her argument was that she didn't know that there was a line for the self-service and I said, "well, the line for self-service is here - that's why I'm standing here and that's why there's a gap at the other end of the queue." She then started huffing and I said, "I'm sorry you are annoyed, but you are in the wrong queue for self-service." She then strutted to a cashier, slammed her basket down onto the tilll, glared at me, tossed her hair about and said "anyone would think I'm being mean or something." After she said this I felt a twinge in the middle of my stomach as if I had a sudden attack of butterflies, I was shaking, sweating and flushing and although the self-service till next to where she was was unused I wouldn't use it because I would be quite close to her. So I waited for the one at the far end to be unused and went to that one instead.

I don't hate anyone - far from it. I am always polite, friendly and believe in fair play. I was brought up with good manners and I give my "please"s, "sorry"s, "excuse me"s and "thankyou"s when they're due. But when someone I don't know provokes me in any of the above scenarios I react/behave/feel/think what I now feel is inappropriate, is affecting my daily life and I'm worried that I'm being strange. I am hoping to study a course in September next year - I'm hoping to train to be a nurse/nursing assistant because I like to help people but I really don't want my behaviour, my feelings, my thoughts or the things that provoke me to get in the way of this.

I sound as though I'm someone with so many hangups but I'm hoping that there's someone out there who can help/support me with the things that have been going on with me.

Thank you and sorry for the long thread! x


RE: Fear of people - nilrem43 - 12-24-2014 01:57 PM

(12-20-2014 10:47 AM)Lotus33 Wrote:  Hi!

Well, where do I start? First off, I am a 29yr old female and I live in the UK.

For about 12 years I've had what I think of to be social anxiety disorder. The first time I became aware of it was in 2001/2002 when I was a college student and I had to catch the bus coming and going to college. Traveling to the college wasn't a problem but returning home was more problematic.

The bus stop I used to get home was located at a very busy road with traffic lights. Sometimes I finished my sessions early and there wouldn't be any traffic but on the days when I was there until 2pm-4pm there would be the van drivers and sometimes car drivers leering at me. Some of them have tried to speak to me. I smiled at them just to be friendly and give out some form of confidence but that seemed to have backfired when they responded to my attempts of friendliness.

When I got off the bus for the 20 minute walk home I would get car drivers beeping at me, some of them shouting things out, and I didn't like to cross a particularly busy side road because I was afraid the drivers wouldn't let me cross - so I took a very long time crossing the road by waiting until both ends of the road were clear. 005_ssad

I started work in 2004 and things weren't so bad. My confidence grew and I was very good in my job. I was never off sick, never late and got my work done. Many of my internal customers were friends and we laughed and joked together - even went on nights out with them in town.

In 2007 my boyfriend managed to get a job that meant us having to move about 10 miles away from my work and family home. So, I moved out of my grandparents' home and transferred to the new property. At first things were manageable and the buses although ran every hour were more or less frequent but it was a pain for me to get into work because the bus took 55 minutes to get to my place of work, sometimes came late and meant me being coming to work late, stopped running when there was huge disruption from the snow in 2008 (which meant me having to walk an additional 20 minutes in blizzards, at times and with my toes ending up blue). The other people who got on the same bus as me were mainly much older than I and both my boyfriend and I came to realise that the area we lived in was mainly one that people retired to.

As a result I felt very much like a foreigner to them as I was much younger and I became very nervous and tense when they would get on the bus because I imagined them glancing or staring at me as they got on and passed me after they paid for their fare. So I would sit on a side seat and turn away from the main crowd of passengers on the bus. It was around this sort of time I began to fall out with my manager - who was worried about the changes in my mood. She thought I was becoming very angry and sulky but I had to get up at 6am every morning - sometimes 5.30am depending on which buses were running - to be on a bus for 55 minutes and praying that the bus I needed to get would arrive and get me into work on time. I just didn't want any lateness to show up on a perfect record of attentance and punctuality but sometimes this couldn't be avoided and I guess that those factors were the cause of my anger.

In 2010 things became much worse. I lived much closer to my work but the bus stop was, again, on a busy street - a main road that led into the city centre where I worked. Strangers would queue further up from the bus stop, waiting for the same bus, as if they were there first. I didn't let them jump the line when the bus came and sometimes I would glare at them or put my foot in front of them if they tried to come around me and jump the line. Same thing happened coming home, too. Around this time I experienced what I can only describe as facial tics/twitches in this situation - mainly around my right under-eye area.

In 2011 I became aware of feeling very ill. I started to get pale, sweaty, losing weight, very tired, had dark circles under my eyes and the front of my neck swelled up, making it difficult for me to swallow and at times breathe. I was so self-conscious of my neck and afraid that strangers in the street would notice that on wintry days I would wear scarves. To cover up my pale face I would use foundation but I didn't use the right shade because sometimes my dark circles were more noticeable. I walked to work from the bus stop and to the bus stop from work and I was a very fast walker - I think I powerwalked. Laughing6

My illness was confirmed in 2013 although it wasn't easily found and I was made out by my family to be imagining it. At times I was called a hypochondriac - not to my face but behind my back. I was put on medication for it and the cause of my illness was confirmed at the start of this year but the situations in which my anxiety affects me seems to be increasing.

These are the situations/scenarios that trigger/provoke my anxiety:

* Being in a crowded area (like a shopping mall/shop) on my own. It also happens when my boyfriend is with me but not as much. Possibly agoraphobia/monophobia?

* Waiting for a bus (mainly because of likelihood of more people coming to the stop for the same bus and me imagining them jumping the queue even though I was there first. Also because of the likelihood that the bus may be packed or have lots of people on it by the time it reaches the stop I am at)

* Driving my car (mainly because of the likelihood of being cut up, undertaken or overtaken or other drivers not giving way when traffic signs state or other acts of rudeness such as failing to indicate when intending to turn into another road) Sometimes I have retaliated by sounding my horn - one driver who cut me up stuck out his middle finger, pulled into the 24 hour bus lane and swore at me as I went by.

* Being stared at by strangers

* Having another girl turn back to look at me (when I'm walking behind her), and when she turns back to the person she walks with she says something and they then look back at me. I have actually retaliated to this by asking them what they were looking at, only for them to swear at me.

* Having people standing unnecessarily close to me in shopping queues. For that reason and if I shop on my own I tend to use the self-service till as the majority of shoppers in my supermarket go to the cashier. Some people stand very close to us when we're with a cashier, almost as if they are shopping with us but a glare from me doesn't quite cut it and the person the glare is intended for asks their friend why I am giving them a dirty look. Err, invasion of personal space?

* Having people reach over me to get something on a shelf or on a clothes rail. There is something that makes me tense up when I can see a stranger glancing over in exactly the same space as me because I know there's a good chance they'll reach over/past me to get something, thus stretching their arm past my face or my chest. I think it's a personal space issue again. Sometimes I'll do the same thing back to them but most of the time I say sorry and they say sorry or acknowledge my apology. I'm mainly provoked when they don't say sorry first or acknowledge my apology or say "excuse me".

* When strangers don't say "thank you." My boyfriend and I went to leave our local cafe and this guy wanted to come in just as when we were coming out. I held the door open for him - didn't even thank me. So I said "you're welcome." I don't know what it is with me and lack of manners but me and them don't go hand in hand.

* Having people be in the wrong line to use the self-service till. I had a situation a few months ago when I was in the self-service queue and this lady was in the queue to be served by a cashier. She was getting impatient and when she noticed a self-service till was available she decided to use it. There was someone before me waiting to use a self-service till and I politely said to the lady: "Excuse me, but the line you were in isn't for self-service." Her argument was that she didn't know that there was a line for the self-service and I said, "well, the line for self-service is here - that's why I'm standing here and that's why there's a gap at the other end of the queue." She then started huffing and I said, "I'm sorry you are annoyed, but you are in the wrong queue for self-service." She then strutted to a cashier, slammed her basket down onto the tilll, glared at me, tossed her hair about and said "anyone would think I'm being mean or something." After she said this I felt a twinge in the middle of my stomach as if I had a sudden attack of butterflies, I was shaking, sweating and flushing and although the self-service till next to where she was was unused I wouldn't use it because I would be quite close to her. So I waited for the one at the far end to be unused and went to that one instead.

I don't hate anyone - far from it. I am always polite, friendly and believe in fair play. I was brought up with good manners and I give my "please"s, "sorry"s, "excuse me"s and "thankyou"s when they're due. But when someone I don't know provokes me in any of the above scenarios I react/behave/feel/think what I now feel is inappropriate, is affecting my daily life and I'm worried that I'm being strange. I am hoping to study a course in September next year - I'm hoping to train to be a nurse/nursing assistant because I like to help people but I really don't want my behaviour, my feelings, my thoughts or the things that provoke me to get in the way of this.

I sound as though I'm someone with so many hangups but I'm hoping that there's someone out there who can help/support me with the things that have been going on with me.

Thank you and sorry for the long thread! x

People can be difficult. You are very normal with your good manners. Don't let them change you. You'll be a great nursing assistant. Smile


RE: Fear of people - Donny Cornelius - 01-27-2016 06:56 PM

Hi,

I am an 31-year-old Indonesian male.
I have the same issues that you have.
I have had this..this fear of meeting people since I was a little kid.

To make matters worse..when I was in college a few years back I honestly did not know that I don't look my age..This is completely understandable in my opinion, because I attended college in China where most of the people there have young looking faces. I am of Chinese descent too, by the way.
Up until I got out of college and came back to Indonesia and dated this girl. At that time, people that knew her kept asking her how old I was because I looked like a teenager. That's when my self-esteem began to deteriorate even more....

Now I don't look that young anymore, but still don't look my age either. Even after I grew mustache, beard, and all that.

This hinders me to meet business partners, make new friends, etc..
It really bothers me a lot and makes me depressed.
I have seen several hypnotherapists, reiki masters, meditation gurus but this 'fear' just won't go away....

I try to meditate almost every day..every morning and every night..but I have not seen any significant changes also..

As you mentioned above, I too tend to be rude to people. Because....I dont know...my brain always tells me that if you act tough or rude, you will look more manly....when in reality of course I wont look manly at all...

I like to help other people too just like you. I want to be a healer. But, once again, my fear hinders me. Before I help people, I should be healed first right? Question is how...

I have thought up every possible method..

I am hopeless...