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Struggle walking past people

D

Darby

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Joined
Nov 9, 2013
Messages
182
I struggle walking past people on the street, in supermarkets, and anywhere really. I'm super paranoid that they're staring at me which makes me want to stare at them to see if they are or aren't. In my peripheral vision, I can feel myself looking at them as I pass by which makes them on guard and slightly paranoid themselves. I by no means look at people though I avoid eye contact and usually end up pretending to look at my surroundings which my self-consciousness tells me they can easily tell I'm doing to avoid looking at them. Or looking to the floor. But to look at them makes them feel uncomfortable I can tell, even just a glance at them because I've got so much anxiety built up my glances are like daggers going into their eyes. I'm also always the first to look away but I guess if I initiate looking at them then that's going to almost always be the case. So I can't win if I look or don't look because if I don't look they look down on me and consider me inferior even if it's subconscious they're doing it. If I do look I make them feel uncomfortable and perhaps angry even. It's also bad because I get these thoughts that I'm projecting my energy onto them and it creates a feeling for both parties that I'm going to say hello to them but I don't and then I just come off as rude. That's another thing, do you or don't you say hello as you pass by. Also what's really hard is smiling, I'm depressed so pretending to smile just comes off as creepy because there are no genuine feelings behind it. So I try my best to smile but my face must be just one of anxiety-ridden features that they think I'm being rude as opposed to trying to be nice to them. So again I avoid even attempting to smile or nod to them as I pass by. Basically, I'm just a complete mess when I'm outside, a thousand thoughts and sweating, anxious and it leaves me avoiding going out.

I just want to be able to go outside without this intense anxiety in let's face it not really high on a social anxiety level in terms of difficulty and challenge.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Jul 31, 2020
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4,807
Location
Canada
I'm in a small enough town. One thing I find awkward sometimes is when walking down a sidewalk on a quiet road and there is one person some distance away and we're walking towards each other. It's a minor thing. It wouldn't surprise me if most people find this a bit awkward. We often say hello or whatever and none of it means anything really, but the old social anxiety has a talent for turning nothing into something.
 
zula77

zula77

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Joined
Jan 10, 2021
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76
Location
York
Yes I relate to all of this. I hate walking past long queues of cars, I feel like everybody is staring and I start to overanalyse the way I walk until I've convinced myself that I am walking in a peculiar way and everyone is laughing at me. I try to smile at passers by, but worry that I look weird doing so, and don't say hi unless they say it first. Fiddling with something in my pocket helps, as does having something on my mind to distract myself, or if the scenery is nice and I'm appreciating nature or wildlife
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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Feb 27, 2020
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7,892
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Nashua NH
I’m sorry this is such a struggle for you. I hope you are able to find a way to think about it less or not have it affect you so much. xo, j
 
M

Mav2126

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Joined
Mar 14, 2021
Messages
78
Location
New York
I COMPLETELY understand what you are saying and I do the same thing. It is such an excruciatingly painful way of being. I don't think people - even psychologists and psychiatrists really truly understand how painful it is to have social anxiety. It doesn't go away and it impacts all areas of your life. Please know that you are not alone.
 
Empish

Empish

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Joined
Apr 7, 2021
Messages
173
Location
Uk
I struggle walking past people on the street, in supermarkets, and anywhere really. I'm super paranoid that they're staring at me which makes me want to stare at them to see if they are or aren't. In my peripheral vision, I can feel myself looking at them as I pass by which makes them on guard and slightly paranoid themselves. I by no means look at people though I avoid eye contact and usually end up pretending to look at my surroundings which my self-consciousness tells me they can easily tell I'm doing to avoid looking at them. Or looking to the floor. But to look at them makes them feel uncomfortable I can tell, even just a glance at them because I've got so much anxiety built up my glances are like daggers going into their eyes. I'm also always the first to look away but I guess if I initiate looking at them then that's going to almost always be the case. So I can't win if I look or don't look because if I don't look they look down on me and consider me inferior even if it's subconscious they're doing it. If I do look I make them feel uncomfortable and perhaps angry even. It's also bad because I get these thoughts that I'm projecting my energy onto them and it creates a feeling for both parties that I'm going to say hello to them but I don't and then I just come off as rude. That's another thing, do you or don't you say hello as you pass by. Also what's really hard is smiling, I'm depressed so pretending to smile just comes off as creepy because there are no genuine feelings behind it. So I try my best to smile but my face must be just one of anxiety-ridden features that they think I'm being rude as opposed to trying to be nice to them. So again I avoid even attempting to smile or nod to them as I pass by. Basically, I'm just a complete mess when I'm outside, a thousand thoughts and sweating, anxious and it leaves me avoiding going out.

I just want to be able to go outside without this intense anxiety in let's face it not really high on a social anxiety level in terms of difficulty and challenge.
See the advice I gave to Karmaman in the 'Just trying to get through anxiety and depression thread'.
 
BrianHorlicks

BrianHorlicks

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Joined
Apr 14, 2015
Messages
3,974
Location
England
If someone stares, or looks at you,
It not necessarily a bad thing,
What if that person likes your hair, your jacket, jumper, top, your wearing?
The trousers, skirt, dress?
Shoes, heels, trainers?

Think of it as good thing,
No one is seeing you in as inferior,
Or less worthy,
Empower yourself that its a good thing,
A great and fantastic moment,
Make yourself feel proud,
And walk tall.
 
J

JeanPierre

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Jan 4, 2021
Messages
2,090
Location
Southern USA
Most people are either just as socially anxious or not thinking about you at all.
I finally learned this after many, many years.
The masking has definitely helped, as well, for me.
I hope this helps a little.✌
 
sunset547544

sunset547544

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Feb 27, 2016
Messages
1,070
Location
UK, London
I don't give eye contact on the street unless absolutely necessary, I find that way people don't really pay much attention to me. I think once eye contact is made people feel like they are being judged.
 
Empish

Empish

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Joined
Apr 7, 2021
Messages
173
Location
Uk
I think generally most people would just take a relaxed glance to see if it there was anyone they know walking towards them. If there was then a simple 'Hi' as you pass is all that's necessary. If you don't know them then there's no need to look at them.
Your eyes feeling tense and like daggers could be due to a food intolerance to Nightshades which I am going to soon write a post about. I talked about this in a thread titled 'Trying to get through anxiety and depression'. When I eat NS or smoke tobacco (also a nightshade) I get lots of tension and pressure in my eyes (as well as anxiety) which makes looking at others very awkward.
 
J

JeanPierre

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Joined
Jan 4, 2021
Messages
2,090
Location
Southern USA
I thought I'd mention this.....I wear an earbud in one ear w/phone in pocket and listen to my favorite tunes when shopping or walking. With sunglasses outside.
Takes care of a lot 😎✌
 
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