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Old 04-16-2005, 01:25 PM   #1
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Unhappy fear of seeing people you know in public

Okay, I have this odd fear of seeing people I know in public. I guess many of us do. But even your friends and some family. I mean I can only handle seeing certain people like maybe someone I knew all my life. But some, I've known only for a school year or a couple months I back away and run. I do anything to avoid them. I don't want any eye contact, nothing. I was to avoid them at all cost.

I mean when I was little and I saw people I knew even my aunts and uncles and cousins I would hide under my mother's dress. But now I have no one to hide behind I have run.

I thought this was because I was shy but at school it was different. I started to get older I started to talk more and socialize. I mean everyone liked me. I wasn't popular but I wasn't a nerd. Most people thought I was really nice, funny and outgoing and smart. At school I loved talking to people. I love having that free time in class just playing around and talking. I never really feared peforming infront strangers. I mean they would only see me once and that was the end of it. I could sing, dance, play in a band, be in a play and even do something stupid and I could say speech to anyone, especially infront of strangers. But I couldn't peform under certain peers I saw in school outside of public. I could say a speech perfectly and make jokes infront of them in school but outside never. But there would be certain peers like my really close friends that I've known since elementary school or the people I've known since the beginnging I met them that they would never judge me. They always had my back.

I thought I that this was a really long phase in life as it started to fade when I was in jr.high. But then going to a different school then all my peers from middle school I knew it was going to change. But I didn't think much because I have more confident and what's to worry they're just strangers. But I did not careless about noticing that these strangers were going to become friends and people I saw daily.

I was fine in high school but I avoided having a boyfriend all my freshman and half of my sophmore year. Which was quite odd. At times I really liked the person and they would like me back. But as soon as I found out they liked me back I ended. I would make up lies to say I was taken.

I realize I had this fear when my older sister asked me to go to youth group at the church everyone my high school pretty much attended. The school I attened was upper class and more judgemental. I wasn't poor and I was higher than middle class. My mother owned two nursing homes and her buisness was still growing. I told my sister and her husband that I do better with people when I'm with strangers and I only see them like once a week. For a while that was my answer. They really wanted me to attend youth group so I get find people who were as close to God as I am. Then my sister seemed fed up and told that I was just being stuck up. I knew that wasn't the answer. I knew I was only afraid to see this people who attended my school outside of school. Then I made up an excuse. I said I know many of these people who attend this youth group and hear most of them do drug and get drunk and I don't want to be with those kinds of people. I mean I wasn't completely lying but I wasn't completely telling the truth. Yes I did know many of the people who attended that youth group and I know they did do drugs and drink. But I knew people who I hung out with outside of school and went to school who did drugs and get drunk but not front of me. I just really only feared seeing people I knew outside of school. I guess I always set a border line. School | people outside of school. My social was not to be mix with people I talked to in class or people I waved hi in the halls. no never. My sister and her husband asked me to go to the youth group at their church where they were from. I went. I was nervous but I did fine. I made a lot new friends and got numbers and screen names. I mean my theory wasn't wrong that I did a lot better strangers. I mean I didn't even want to try the other youth group from where I was from. I would get this panic attack and just stress and I couldn't anything. I just wanted avoid them. I prefered being in a hospital in bed sick than having to see them or talk to them.
I know I didn't have a problem speaking infront these peers because I was always graded excellent and I spoke comformtably.
But I took a chance. Some guy naturally invited me to the movies. I text him and asked if he was serious and he was. I was like this is just a friend thing. I told him that I was already going with some friends and if he wanted to come go ahead. I didn't care much. My friend made this like a huge deal. To make matters worst we going to the most popular hang out of my school. I was kidding myself. I saw so many people that went to my school. I could not breathe. I just wanted to run. I wanted to go into a bathroom stall and stay there till the place was empty. ANYTHING. Just not seeing that many people. It was crowded to make everything worst. Then I saw him with some of his friends and he looked like he was looking for someone. I ran to get the tickets and ran into the movie theatres. While walking the theatres I saw more people. I was about to faint. I wanted cry so much. But I couldn't because I was infront of two my friends. I didn't want to look lame and just over reacting over some stupid thing. But it wasn't I was so scared. I felt like I was having a panic attack. I wished i was running marathon than being here. I wish anything else but here. But as soon as I was in the dark and no one could see me I was good. Then I was looking out for anyone from my school. I got my chocolate strawberry and I saw people I knew but I knew they couldn't see me. There were two side when we went to go walk around. One side that was dark and no one was there except adults going to the nice restraunt. The other side was crowded with people I knew. So of course my friends wanted to walk on the side that was crowded and stuff and food they can get. I walked on the other side. Then I went inside a store with them that no one I would see would go in. I walked and it was crowded only by this fountain place so I was like its cool. Then I saw this kid from my World Cultures class and I stopped then I thought I could walk on the left side of my friends so he would not see me. And then I saw the guy that asked me the movies again and I just froze then I saw more people. It just more crowded again. WOW. I stopped and turned around and went on the dark side with adults at restraunts.
Now that I'm older and about to go to college I really would like to get over this phobia. Please help.

 
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Old 04-17-2005, 09:47 PM   #2
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Re: fear of seeing people you know in public

I have that exact same problem sometimes. When I go out, I don't want to run into anyone I know so I tend to only go to places far from home. I think the root of this fear comes from my childhood. When I think back to middle school and high school, I remember having a lot of trouble associating with people because I always felt different from them for some reason. I felt like everyone wanted to be bad when all I wanted to do was be good and do good in school. It always seemed to me like I was never cool enough, didn't wear nice enough clothes, didn't do drugs or drink like a lot of people were starting to do, wasn't having sex like everyone else was bragging about, etc. I always felt that because I wasn't much like the so-called "cool kids" that I wasn't any good...as if I didn't have the right to feel confident about myself... see what I'm getting at?

Now as an adult, I often fear running into a lot of those people around town because it kind of brings back those old memories. As if anyone even still cares, right?? The truth is, I was nice to everyone in high school and middle school, even if they weren't nice to me...that, in the end, is all that really matters and all that anyone will really remember about you anyway. If people want to think you're no good because you want to BE good, then its their problem and not yours.

So, the heart of the problem really lies in self confidence issues. Seems to me that when you are truely confident and secure in who you are and what your purpose in life is, there is never a need to fear judgement or scrutiny from others. I've had a problem with self confidence for a long time but as I'm getting older, I'm realizing how foolish it is to live like that...always worrying about what others will think of me... please...what an incredible waste of time.

Think about this...if every major inventor of the last 100 years worried about what other people thought of what they were doing and listened to their scrutiny, we would still be riding a horse and buggy, reading by candle light, and there would be no computer for me to type this post on...Now what does that tell ya?

 
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