Feeling crowded and overwhelmed

It’s been a while since I felt like this. Heart rate picking up, sweat starting to appear on my face and a rush inside me that just tells me to get out and away from everyone. But I felt like that today.

I was out. Since getting home from the hospital, my energy has been very low and actually I wasn’t quite up for going out today, but I had a package waiting to be picked up that could not wait any longer so there was a big reason to go. So I did. And it was good. However, while my energy kept up – it might even have spiked from the fresh air and walk, I got worn out in a way I hadn’t expected, even if I maybe should have.

I was in line for the cash register in a store, and ahead of me was guy who had both a wife and two children who ran past me in the small isle, and he was busy speaking to the employee in a different language that I didn’t understand. So busy in fact that when it was my turn he didn’t move and I had to literally go stand right between the two men as I paid – while at the same time, suddenly there was another man behind me, who they also knew and he joined the conversation.

I’m not against having different people in my country. I’m not against them speaking their own language – but it made me so uncomfortable to be caught in the middle, with none of them even taking notice of me or making room. It wasn’t considerate of them. It just wasn’t.

I’m so happy I only had two items to pay for, and then quickly I was able to move past the first man (who by the way still hadn’t moved!) and get out of there and find a space for me to breathe and get my body to calm down again.

Being crowded triggers my anxiety. Not being able to get away easily, being surrounded by people. Strangers. It’s not a good feeling for me, and somehow among all the worrying if I would even be physically able to handle the trip I forgot to include the fact that I might meet other obstacles.

The good thing about it all though, is that I made it. I got myself to calm down and stayed another half hour in the shopping center before I left. I felt with a good feeling. I’d done what I came for, I’d gotten what I needed and I was in a good place going home.



  1. As one of the people who also have a ‘thing’ with crowds and feeling overwhelmed when confronted with closeness, I’d like to tell you how I deal with it. It took some time, but after a few incidents when with foster kids (who I was always spouting about community and connection to), I had to face it: other people have close connections. They like to be close to their friends and family. They like to hug people, even when they first meet them (terrifies me!). So I have to consider that if I want my foster kids to recognise that connection and closeness, I have to accept that most people live with those connections. They like to touch, be close, speak to each other as if nothing else in the world will get in their way. Is this the way it should be?
    I think so. My issues come from a separation of, a distance to, the normal community involvement. Abandonment. Loneliness. Fear. These are the things that try to keep me separated and away from the closeness that heals. These things are not my friends. They do not keep me safe. Only the friends and family (my personal community connection) cares enough to demonstrate their closeness to me, in whatever way I can accept it – but first, I had to let them know how far was enough (for each encounter).
    So now I think of myself as part of a pack (wolf pack specifically) because pack is life. I hope you find a way to connect to your community in a safe and structured way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for writing this! I have read it a while ago and not commented on it yet, only because I wanted to honer it with a proper response. But I haven’t been able to give one. So now instead, at least I want to say thank you for writing. It helps reading, knowing that someone else feels different than the norm and the expected ways.


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