Hi. My name is Erin. I have, and do, suffer from extreme waves of both depression and anxiety. Both of which have the ability to incapacitate me, and make me outwardly shut down, while inwardly I’m beating against the unrelenting steel bars of emotion that I am utterly trapped in. Desperately trying to escape my own mind.
“I’m in a glass cage of emotion!” ~Ron Burgandy
I am not “shy”. I am quiet. I keep to myself. But I am not shy. You want to talk one on one? Absolutely you can ask me anything, and I have no problem sharing my world with you. I have no issue sharing my thoughts. I have no qualms about sharing my past or present demons.
But throw me into a crowd and I feel as though I may suffocate. I will scan the room repeatedly in silence while I try to veil my sweaty palms and shaky limbs with nervous laughter and “deer in the headlights” eyes.
I am not shy. But I have an extreme fear of crowds. I don’t frequent malls. I don’t like going to restaurants that are busy. If I ever go a pub (which is few and far between) you’ll find me at the pub that only seems to have one or two other patrons, in the back corner where I can easily watch everybody.
Crowds make me feel like the world is caving in around me. I rarely handle that feeling gracefully. More often than not I end up clawing for oxygen in a race to escape out of the nearest door.
That said… every so often there exist people in my realm who actually understand this. Who help me navigate. Who show me that I am not in that crowd alone – even if my panic is not a feeling they themselves share. They get it. They stand with me and make sure I am still breathing. And I want to say that I cannot state strongly enough how much that simple kindness means to me.
There are those moments where I feel so stuck in my own head that I physically can’t move. When somebody crosses my path that both sees and genuinely understands that part of me – without judgment – I am always amazed. When there are a number of people that care enough to talk me through it, that just blows me away.
When I freeze like that I feel very much like a lost little girl again. I’m thrown into the foggy haze of my youth where I was too afraid to even speak at all. To find people that can pull me out of that… there are no words to express how absolutely awesome that is.
Thanks all. You let me breathe. Wine helps of course (haha) but really what makes the biggest difference is simply knowing I’m not there alone.