most of the time you wouldn’t know

I spend my work days dealing with people all day every day. Whether it’s one-on-one or a group of 10…in person or a phone call or a virtual meeting… I constantly have contact with people. I can deal…but at the same time by the time I am done with the day, I’m mentally and emotionally spent…I’m physically tired. I get home and try to be in my pajamas within the first 15 minutes of being home. Sometimes I make dinner for the family…sometimes we eat cereal. I try not to leave my house most nights…and if I do…you should feel pretty darn special. I’m an introvert. I recharge better when I’m alone. I need that time to myself to regain my peace and sanity.

For me this also means that I HATE crowds. It’s bad enough when I know the people in the crowd (like school or church or work). It’s worse when the crowds contain the public.

I love music, but hate concerts. I love football but don’t like going to games. I love seeing my kids faces on vacations, but dread going to parks. I like to go out for appetizers with friends, but cringe when a parking lot is full.

I think you get my point…I don’t like crowds. I’m terrified of getting stuck. I’m terrified that others around me will hurt me. I’m terrified that someone might notice me. I’m terrified that those around me won’t respect my personal space. I’m terrified that I’m going to be alone in a crowd.

For me, it’s not just being an introvert. It’s the anxiety that comes with it.

For me, the anxiety that I feel manifests itself in some physical ways. I can put on my happy smile and do whatever I can to give the illusion that I’m okay. Most of the time, you’d never know how I really felt about everything. Most of the time, you’d have no idea that if I held my hand out, I’d shake. Most of the time, you wouldn’t know that my heart is racing while standing still. Most of the time, you wouldn’t know that my feet felt like cement blocks stuck to the ground.

So, even though you might not notice…don’t tell me that I don’t have enough faith…or that I’m concentrating on the wrong things…or that you got over it and so should I. Most of the time, when I’m in those moments, I’m so scared of those feelings overtaking everything that I don’t have the patience to deal with your lack of empathy. Rather than your words “helping” me, they will do the exact opposite. They will stick in my head and remind me that I’m not good enough to be around you. So then I’ll decide that I don’t need you…I’m not going to magically “fix” myself using your words…instead…I’ll just remove you from my presence and focus on my healing processes with those who support me and don’t judge me.

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