Walking through a sea of people, everything starts to get smaller, your heart is beating faster. It’s getting hard to breathe and you are fighting back tears. Your body is shaking. You just want a way out.
To some of you this probably sounds way too close to home, and to others you are probably rolling your eyes saying, “She’s exaggerating.” Anybody who truly knows me, knows I absolutely love theme parks…BUT they also know to leave me alone while I am exiting them or if I am in a section with way too many people. I completely shut down. I go from laughing and having fun, to almost bawling in .5 seconds.
Well recently I encountered something that really bothered me, which I’ve gotten before, but this time it was a little too close to home…
When I was recently at the theme park I was with two people. One of these goes to the park with me often and knows the signs of when I am going to completely shut down, the other person hasn’t really been with me recently, and their reaction is more of a “You’re being dramatic”, or in a picking on me tone, “They are just people…there aren’t that many.” To be honest this made things ten million times worst.
This is the first time I’ve talked about this or written about this. But this is very important for others to see. If somebody says they have anxiety or social anxiety, do NOT jump to conclusions that somebody is overreacting! Please be there for that person who is clearly a mess and having a mental breakdown. If you are with them some place and they say they need to leave…LET THEM LEAVE!
Please, please, please do not push them to stay and then a half hour later ask them why they aren’t talking and have zoned out.
You NEED to show them you love them.
You NEED to show them you care!
It is very important to be there when the person needs space.
Sometimes we do things we can’t explain. Speaking personally I overthink way too much, I will overtext, and my mood will go from happiest person on the Earth to complete shut down in less than 5 seconds. BUT….I have friends who have proven to me that they are there for me no matter what.
So if you are the friend or family member of somebody with anxiety do not give up on them! Do not judge them if they need a mental health day, or if they need to leave a party early or if they don’t want to go out. Offer to stay in and watch movies or something instead. Just be there for them.
If you are the person who has anxiety, remember that you are NOT alone. There are others out there just like you. Find people to surround yourself with who love you and care for you. Surround yourself with those who won’t be mad if you ask if you can stay in instead. Surround yourself with those who will distract your mind while exiting a theme park instead of making it ten times worst.
No matter what, know that you are loved and cared for and you are not in this alone!