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Anxiety: Being Mindful of Your Needs

The moment when you walk into a room, you see a lot of people, maybe one or two you know, but the rest you have no clue who they are. You want to go and meet people, but something inside of you paralyzes you. What used to be so easy, like going up and introducing yourself to people, is now suddenly the most difficult task anyone could ask of you.

This is what my anxiety feels like. I have not always felt this way, and this is only one scenario of what my anxiety can look like. This is often what my anxious moments look like, but I also have felt it when there are lots of people in smaller spaces, walking into a busy store, talking with an upset person, or running on a deadline.

For almost two years I lived in another state, only knowing a few friends when I moved from one city to another, and I would have to meet new people every day. At first it was tough, putting myself out there, meeting complete strangers, but by doing this, I have met some of my dearest friends and some who even feel like family to me.

Now with this experience, as well as my time at college, I would consider myself to be a pretty social and outgoing person, generally speaking. I can be seen as very quiet in new settings or in large groups of people, mostly because I don’t like to be the center of attention.

With this being said, to go from feeling confident in meeting and befriending strangers, to then being almost paralyzed in any social setting was very difficult for me. Some days it became almost impossible to do anything but wake up and make it through a day of work. There have also been days where I wanted to be social with my friends, but it took all of my energy to make an appearance. After showing up, I would be overwhelmed by the group of people. I would quickly retreat to my room, curl up into a ball, and just try to calm myself down, sometimes crying myself to sleep.

Anxiety, Alone, Crowds
Anxiety: Feeling alone in a crowd

Experiences such as this started becoming a more frequent occurrence, and so I wasn’t able to make plans with friends because I could never anticipate how I would be feeling. For someone as social as I am, experi