A strange thing that I live with and affects my life daily, is the number of people around me. I cannot cope with too many people, I just start to panic out of control!
The first time I can recall this happening was in a supermarket. I had joined a queue and the queue continued to develop behind me. The sensation of being closed in started to overtake me. A wave of panic washed through me, like a physical thing. I can remember staring at the floor, trying to blot this crazy feeling out of me. I did know that it was irrational, but my body didn’t seem to agree and I was losing control. The more I tried to put it aside, the worse it got. The effort of trying to shut it out was having the opposite effect. I was getting swept away by this cycle of fear.
As I sat in the car, feeling such an idiot, trying to explain to myself why I had rushed out of the shop leaving everything.
This has been a continual problem and is, I think, similar to being claustrophobic, something I also seem to suffer from now and something I’ve never had a problem with. It feels as if I’m being closed in by people, trapped. This does sound completely ridiculous and now, sitting here writing this, I have to agree, but as I’m thinking about more people around, I’m starting to feel that panic welling up in the pit of my stomach.
Usually this is only a problem when they are close, but last Thursday it seemed to be developing into something more. I put my, NHS flag out and waited for eight o’clock. I started to open the back gate and saw people in the street, just waiting too I assumed, but I could feel this thing. It made it impossible for me to go out. Quickly closing the gate, I returned to the back garden and loudly rang my bell. It was as if I was trying to drown out the panic, the racing heart, the pounding head.
This only seemed to really go when I was finally back inside and everywhere was locked and I felt secure.
I know this is happening and the mere thought of situations that mean I will be with others, like appointments, or shopping etc, makes me start to panic. As set times get closer, the intensity of problems start to become more extreme. It is better for me to just not get in this situation. Being with one or two that I know can help. I seem to be able to focus on them, but it is when that focus is interrupted that the problems start.
I’ve been mainly on my own now for a long time and seem to be able to cope well, with no real problems with a few, but when more people close in, I find it terrifying! The problem with this is my reaction. I lose control and snap, becoming violent and verbally aggressive. This is another part of my changing personality, that I don’t think is me. It is certainly something that I detest, so do everything I can to avoid this situation ever happening.
I’m not sure if this is getting worse, but I am at a loss of how to beat it!
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