Fears Friday: Fear of Crowds

My fear of crowds is unconventional.

I get on stage, I play and sing in front of hundreds of people and I love doing it. So how does someone who can do this, be afraid of crowds?

It’s rather simple actually. First, aside from the fact that I am super nervous;

  1. when I get up on stage I get into a different state of mind. It just happens and I am trying to figure out how even to this day. It’s like I sorta become a different person. With music, I love to do it because it makes things easier for me.
  2. Also, I almost become a different entity. I am a singer and musician, they are the listeners. Anxiety becomes more prevalent about messing up in regards to my fellow band mates than I do the crowd. I actually feel comfortable when I am on stage and performing.
  3. This also has to do with the fact that it’s rehearsed. I know what to do, I know what to sing because the words are already written and I’ve sang them before. The chords are there for me to read and I have performed them many times.

But the crowds I have trouble with…

Are the kind where I have to blend in. Where I have to be among them. It’s not because I feel too highly of myself, because that is the farthest from the truth. It actually becomes the opposite for me. I feel like I am beneath the people I am with. It is almost like I have a microscope over me and that people are analyzing my every move.

Growing up and being in the circle I was raised in, you were looked at closely. I had to watch who I was with, what I said, how I acted, and who I communicated with because I was looked at so much and judged about who I was.

It has a lot to do with my weight problem. When I picture myself walking down the street, I picture myself this large mass that everyone has to move out of the way for. I feel like this side attraction in the circus.

The stares become more evident the more I just look around. I feel like aside from being judged on how I act and who I am with regards to my personality, I feel that the harsh reality of my weight and the non-acceptance of the people in this day and age are more prevalent.

A typical day in my mind when preparing for crowd interaction:

Me: So I am invited to this social gathering. There are people there obviously so I can’t avoid it. But I think I can do it.

*Thinks about it all day*

Me: Why do I not want to do this? You know what? I am going to go anyway. I am going to tell myself how It’s going to be.

*Immediately regret the possible lie I told myself*

*Looks up how to prepare for social interaction*

Person’s blog: “This is what I do to prepare myself”

Me: Ok, great! This seems easy enough

*Reads comments*

Commenter: It didn’t work

Me: I am doomed to be by myself forever.

*Still Sykes myself up to go*

Me: My friend will be there, it will be so much fun. He/she will keep me from feeling alone.

Also Me: But they can’t babysit me. They will leave me alone because they have other friends there.

*Starts to have anxiety*

Me: Once I am there I will be fine I just got to get there.

Also Me: I’ll get there and people will start looking at me and I will be all alone because my friends have other friends.

Me: You are such a burden, you should stay home. People are going to hate you and wish you stayed home. You should do them a favor.

Me: I will hate it, my friends will regret me being there and everyone will hate me. I am staying home.

This is just an everyday process for someone who battles with anxiety and fear.

I don’t really think it’s a fear of crowds so I need to rephrase. It comes from the fear of how I will look in the crowd.

I worry so much about what people will think of me that I end up getting myself out of possibly enjoyable experience. This frustrates me and I know it’s something that I need to change but at the same time, I go into protection mode because I have been burned so many times. Also stems from my dad who basically ignored me and only had something to say to me when I did something wrong and just to say how terrible of a son I was. This stems to the churches I belonged to where I was basically the odd person out, the black sheep, the outcast. I feel that by putting myself out of harms way, I am protecting myself from harm.

But I am causing more harm than good.

I know I need to change and I am starting to. I have my good days and bad days. Does anyone else have this issue? I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I would like to hear from you. How have you helped yourself conquer this fear? How can we put a stop to this? What steps have you taken to ease this fear and helped you have a better life?

 

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