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#1 Kaktus

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 01:14 AM

Hi friends. I haven't been here in a while. I am a disaster. My anxiety is totally debilitating. I've always had social anxiety, but today, it has me frozen. I came to a town about 4 hours away, to visit my husband, who is working the harvest for a few weeks. I was okay last night, but this morning, I was gonna do his laundry. The motel has a washer and dryer, but it was a weeks worth of laundry, so I decided to take it to a laundromat so I could do it all at once. I needed quarters and went into a grocery store to get some and that's when I realized I was having some sort of issue. It took a huge amount of effort just to ask the cashier for a roll of quarters. So then, I drove till I found a laundromat, and when I got there, I saw that it had actual employees that were working there-it wasn't just one of those where you take your clothes and nobody is there. .. and I couldn't get out of the car-i was afraid that they would stare at me. I sat there a minute but then I panicked because I was afraid the workers were looking at me through the Window. .. and away I drove. Back to the hotel to do the wash.
When I finally finished that, I decided to go exploring the town. It is an old cowboy town and has a fairly interesting history and some old buildings. I parked at a park and decided to walk around on foot. There was a farmer's market set up so I thought I would go look at it. But when I got to the entrance, I noticed several people taking and some lady was standing right in the walkway...and I couldn't do it. I just kept walking. I took a few pictures of the old buildings and then I started noticing there were people inside and all I could think about is that they were starting at me, hating me for being a tourist, judging me for being fat, stupidly dressed, etc. And I started to panic and practically ran to my car and drove straight back to the hotel.
My husband wanted me to go out to the field where he is driving the combine, so I somehow managed to find my way or there. But when I got there, I couldn't make myself go down the dirt road because I knew his bosses were there and I was too embarrassed. I was sure they would be talking about me and laughing at me if they saw me. This was thirty miles away from the hotel, and yet, I turned around and drove back to the hotel, crying and frustrated. I went to my room and my brain just felt like it shut down and I feel asleep for a couple of hours. So, when I awoke, I decided to maybe try again. I sat in the car in the parking lot for about a half an hour trying to work up the courage. I wanted to just drive there unannounced, but I was worried that my husband would be hurt if I didn't ask him if I should bring him some food or a cold drink, so I thought that I should call him. ... but I didn't want to do that, because I would be "stuck" and HAVE to drive or there because he would then be expecting me. ..so finally, after a huge struggle with myself, I forced myself to call him. He was so sweet and he was wishing for cold water and a candy bar. So I went into a convenience store and bought him a candy bar, but forgot the water. .. but I was too embarrassed to go back in so I had to drive to a different convenience store.
I finally set out, once again, to drive to the field he was working in. I found it but I had to turn onto a small dirt road. .. so I did, cautiously- I drive a Mustang, and it's rather low to the ground. I could see the field, I could see the combine, but I couldn't figure out how to get TO the combine. I could see some men parked near the field, standing around chatting - this is "good-old-boy" country and I already knew they were taking shit about me, here comes some curly-headed weirdo, driving a Mustang down a field road. .. and I couldn't bring myself to drive to where they were and was fairly sure that was where I needed to go. .. so I just kept driving, praying that I wouldn't get stuck and that there would be somewhere for me to turn around if needed.
I got to the end of the field and tried to find somewhere to park my car. . but there is really nowhere. .. there are fields and field roads, but nowhere to park unless you have a four-wheel drive vehicle. I somehow managed to turn my car around and tried to head down the same road I had taken to get there, when suddenly, a large semi pulling a grain trailer was headed toward me. There was not room for two vehicles, so I had to back up a ways. .. and after the semi passed, I was already so worked up, I just couldn't take any more, so I followed the semi to the paved road and drove back to the hotel. I sent my husband a text saying I'd see him tonight and that I want feeling well. He called me just a few moments ago and I apologized and explained to him that I am having a really bad day. He was very nice about it. The corn is tall and he was very busy cutting it and never even knew I was there.
So I am back at the hotel, sitting in my car in the parking lot, trying to get my head together. I want to run to the grocery store and buy him some bananas, but I am not fit to be seen right now and need a few more minutes to calm down. .. typing this on my phone has helped me greatly. .. if you've read this far, thank you for letting me vent. I have to try to figure out what to do about this anxiety. I know how irrational all of it sounds, but I just freeze up and I can't handle people looking at me when I arrive some place. I'm okay if I'm with someone, because that takes some of the focus of of me, and I'm not too bad in large chain stores, like Walmart, because they are very busy and nobody is really looking at me then.
Okay, okay. . I'm going to attempt to buy bananas.
Ugh.

#2 fiona

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 02:13 PM

Kaktus -

 

Thanks for sharing your story.  I too get frozen by anxiety but it is less serious than yours.  The one thing I have to say though, after reading your whole story is that I admire you for the way you simply pick yourself up and go out there to try again.  You have a lot of courage you probably don't recognize.  Many people get frozen and stay frozen - you seem to always try again.

 

You are stretching yourself a lot to go into a whole town and situation you're not familiar with.  I'm sure your husband appreciates just having you there and all the nice clean laundry.  As far as your attempts to go out to the field maybe you should find a way for your husband to meet you just outside of where he is working so you won't have to encounter everyone else that is there.  Confronting a bunch of strangers for the first time can be very scary.  Maybe if he introduced you to one or two of them it would give you some grounding, so you would be more familiar with things.

 

Sounds like the situation is temporary, so you can comfort yourself with that thought.  If all this continues when you are back home in your normal surroundings, I would say that you need to get some kind of help.....doctor for meds, counseling, support group....something.  You will have to investigate what is available in your area.

 

Good luck and please write again to give us updates on how it's going.

 

Regards,

Fiona

 

 



#3 Patski

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 01:43 AM

Hey Kaktus,
I'm sorry to hear about your anxiety, and how it's affecting you.
I agree with Fiona. It's very difficult to put yourself into an unknown situation like that, and it's a lot to take in at once. I can see how it would be very easy to be overwhelmed by all of that.
Sometimes I can get like that to. Having issues going into public and very nervous in certain social situations.
I try to remind myself that the people probably aren't judging me as I think they are. And that I'm probably just another face in the day to them.
Lists can help. That way you have two things to focus on, the goal, and crossing it off the list.
It almost preoccupies you slightly more. At least for me.
I wish you the best of luck. Just remember to BREATHE and take it one thing at a time.
Keep your chin up!!
Sincerely,
-Patski

#4 Kaktus

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 05:43 AM

Thank you, friends, for your replies. While I'm sorry that others suffer from this misery, I don't feel so alone. Looking back at yesterday, it all sounds ridiculous. But I know that I can not wall into a business or home or restaurant or anything of there aren't enough other people around to take the focus off of me. I can't even go to yard sales any more.
Well, Hubby returned and was very kind and understanding. This morning, he drove me to the field and I rode in the combine for a few hours. I did enjoy that. I already know his bosses, but it doesn't help me. I have so many self esteem issues on top of this.
Anyway, I made it back home safely. I hope this crap lets up a bit.
Again, thank you for listening and for your kind words.

#5 Lida

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:26 PM

To someone who has never felt the kind of anxiety you described I guess it is hard to take it seriously.  But I know exactly how you feel. When I am in such a situation it feels to me that there is a spotlight shining on me, like I am on stage and my mind is so overwhelmed by the fear of somehow screwing up that I feel blinded.  There is a Co-Op store in our town that sells many unique products you can't get anywhere else but I find it very hard to shop there because it is mostly men who are talking and joking and it feels like I have wandered into a men's bathroom or some social club that I don't belong to. I know my reactions are unreasonable but I have a long history with this going all the way back to grade school and oral reports.

Good luck to you on this.

I am glad to hear you have a loving husband who is patient.



#6 Kaktus

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:12 PM

Wow, Lida, that describes how I feel EXACTLY...

#7 Lida

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 12:00 PM

I was reading this morning about the artist Norman Rockwell.  Although his art depicted mostly warm familial subjects, his life was very different. He suffered from anxiety all his life, bordering on panic attacks.  He used medication and also therapy.  He was a distant father and husband.  He had such incredible success in his career yet he always felt very uncertain as to his worth.

There's a lot of us "bent cans" out here.



#8 NJCat

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 11:01 PM

((((Kaktus))))  Are you feeling any better? Honestly I only got threw the first 1.5 sentences in your post, and wanted to quickly respond before I lose my concentration and end up doing something totally different!   I'm not doing great myself.  I'm off to read the rest of your post and this thread now.  Thinking of you! 

I'm glad you posted but sorry you had to.

 

Carol



#9 NJCat

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 11:16 PM

Wow, Kaktus, I've felt SO much like that.

My (ex) therapist calls it "Paralysis by analysis"

 

That "we" as humans can tend to analyze something to the nth degree, until we are frozen with fear. Almost literally (but not REALLY frozen in the freezing way!!)

 

I do the same thing!!  What I try to remember is, that for the most part, people are not looking and talking about me .... even if I'm wearing "different" clothes etc.  "all" people just aren't that shallow.  It takes some trust in others - most "well adjusted"  people are too busy thinking about themselves, or too involved in the conversation with their friends, or too busy thinking about the hot jeans they just bought! LOL

It's really true, when you think about others, -- would you agree most people are decent people?

If so would you agree most decent people don't make fun of others behind their back, etc? That would make the decent people somewhat mean-spirited.

BELIEVE me I'm reminding myself of this as I type it. 

I've had a HORRIBLE 2013 and have slept most of the year away.  Long story, I was going to post about it, we'll see. I can't concentrate long enough to hold a thought, so my BtB entry might not happen until next year. haha?

 

You are beautiful, I've seen your pictures and I say so!!!

 

Hugs,

Carol

feel free to email me Kak!! carolhop AT optonline DOT net