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Crowds? Forget it. I avoid them as much as possible. As such, I don’t go to festivals, and in Chicago there are many festivals held all summer long and now that it’s May they’re about to begin. I don’t like being among large amounts of people gathered together where different individuals are going in different directions, and others are standing still. Too chaotic.

I prefer a “controlled” crowd, where everyone is going in the same direction (e.g., towards a sports arena, in my case). Don’t get me wrong — I still experience anxiety, but not as much as when it’s a free-for-all. I hate the idea of strangers brushing against me, which sometimes happens even at sporting events.

Fortunately, I’ve never had a panic attack while in either of these situations (“controlled”/not controlled), but I’ve come close, and it was scary and very uncomfortable. Whenever I’m about to panic, I tend to sit down on the ground no matter where I’m at that moment. This could be on the street or sidewalk. I become more anxious, and double my efforts to remain in control.

When navigating through a crowd, I always grab part of my husband’s shirt and hold on so I don’t get lost. The idea of being separated is too overwhelming to even fathom.

When we finally reach our seats, I can breathe again, that is, if we’re seated in our team’s section. If we’re in the opposing team’s section and surrounded by their fans, the anxiety starts to unfold a little bit. And this isn’t completely irrational — we were at a game once where our team was losing and their fans jeered at us and hurled insults as we climbed the steps to leave. So rude.

Leaving the arena is much like arriving — it’s crowded, but everyone is going in the same general direction. Once we reach our car, I can finally relax, my anxiety dwindling as we drive home.

How do you feel about crowds?

6 thoughts on “Crowds

  1. OMG! I’m the same exact way. When people are all scattered and streaming in/out through the crowds, my anxiety is in full overdrive. I tend to go with a small group of friends, but they often split and meander around. If I’m left alone, I seek a place and either stand to look outwards over the crowd or sit on a bench until they find me.
    I was never always this way, especially when I was in my teens up until my mid-thirties. Then it was all downhill.
    We have a lot of festivals that are coming up now that the weather is nice. One of which is a street festival I go to every year. I’m already rethinking if I want to attend or not.

    1. That’s a good idea—sitting on a bench. It seems that sitting helps alleviate some of the anxiety. I wasn’t always this way either. As a teen I went to lots and lots of concerts! Is this the street festival where you bought a painting of a dragonfly?

  2. I find crowds very overstimulating. I don’t feel anxious necessarily, but more like my brain has had all the input it can handle.

  3. Yes, I can find crowds overstimulating too. I can have a bit of anxiety, but enough to ignore it at times, rather than be aware. As long as I feel I have a bit of space, I’m fine. But crushed, I just want to get out.
    I would love to experience an outdoor concert, but I don’t think I would hack that one. I’m already thinking about the crowd already.

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