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How Crowds Can Bother Us?

Discussion in 'Anxiety & Panic Attacks' started by LeoTheLion, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. LeoTheLion

    LeoTheLion New Member

    I was reading one of articles by Anthony "Common Issues and Suggestions" and it even mentions about PTSD people's behavior with socialising in crowds. I think it is under Number 2.. I am copying and posting in here..

    Issue #2: Social situations can be very stressful for people with PTSD, as groups or crowds can be threatening and anxiety provoking.

    What I would like to know and maybe you can help me understand is how groups or crowds can be threatening for people with PTSD and stressful for us? I do find it very stressful but can't figure why until I saw this. Now I would like to bring it up for discussion. Anyone can help?
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  2. just me here

    just me here Guest

    Any time I am in a crowd, I am reminded of working farm jobs as a kid. You had to keep an eye on every animal that could hurt you, and when there were several in the pen with you, you had to watch them all, all the time. Crowds are like that for me, I just don't like the feeling that I can't be aware of all the potentials for injury or worse and go into survival mode.

    Believe me, even in a movie theater in the dark, I can tell you which door the last person that left used, where the last person that came in sat down.

    If I am in a moving crowd, like a large line leaving a stadium or worse a large line waiting to get into a concert, I will be at one edge of the crowd with an eye on all the escape routes and places to dive out of the flow if necessary.

    I am unfortunately aware of the fact that all it takes is two guys that accidentally trip over each other and then blame the other guy for the accident, a push, a shove, a woman raises her voice and the crowds adrenaline level triples in a split second.

    Crowds suck, I would rather be back in a pen with the animals anyday.
  3. Nora

    Nora New Member

    For those whose PTSD is the result of a perpetrator's behavior, it makes a lot of sense. Hypervigilance is exhausting. The more people you have to monitor for potential harm to yourself, the higher the cognitive toll. Several times when a friend has turned to face me in a crowd and approached to give me a hug, I've backed away in terror and thought I was about get hit across the face. It's pretty specific visually (most hug approaches don't frighten me at all), so I'm sure it's reflective of what used to happen to me as a child. Like the feeling of being unnoticed/invisible/'safe' to then being sighted/'targeted'. Not sure about other types of trauma though.
    LEMMING and moose like this.
  4. Heather

    Heather VIP Member Premium Member

    I went into NYC back in November and I HATED EVERY MOMENT OF IT it was not fun. Everything about it bothered me, the traffic, the noise, the mass amounts of people.....it was sensory overload. It was just way too much.
  5. BloomInWinter

    BloomInWinter Confronting the Blind Spots Staff Member Premium Member

    I've found that forcing myself to NOT do the face-surfing thing helps. Just look at the people/reason I'm there.

    So many faces are hostile, and as someone who reads neutral faces as hostile...not a good strategy.
  6. KP the nut

    KP the nut Tigger is back Staff Member Premium Member

    It is not the people that bother me, my trauma was not person related.

    BUT I hate crowds. I am enclosed, I can't see around me (5ft 2in tall), I lose sight of people I'm with. I feel trapped, no way of escape and v alone.

    Luckily living in a rural area, I can avoidthem
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  7. Marie E.

    Marie E. VIP Member

    I feel closed up near people, knowing how it affected me in the past how nobody supported or believed in me. Doesn't help how some undermined me and make me thing/feel as if I was crazy on purpose.
    LEMMING and BloomInWinter like this.
  8. kers

    kers VIP Member

    Here is an analogy that shows what it's like for me. You know the weight bars you use at the gym? For me, being alone is like lifting an empty bar--it's easy. For every person in the room with me, add ten pounds. Their presence feels like a mild threat. For every person within arm's reach, add 25 pounds--a stronger threat. For every person who bumps into me, add 50 pounds--I feel immediately threatened. I try to look 'normal' and not show how hard it is and how tired I am, but it's exhausting to be in a crowd.
  9. J.Singarti

    J.Singarti New Member

    I feel unsafe around people, crowds bother me. I am at my best when i am alone.
    LEMMING and BloomInWinter like this.
  10. LeoTheLion

    LeoTheLion New Member

    Kers you really made a good analogy!
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  11. Darkness Shines

    Darkness Shines New Member

    It's because we've been taught to fear strangers. For normal people, imagine that you're walking through an entire city filled with violent felons, all of whom may have weapons and turn on you for no reason at any time. How much would you enjoy that? Yeah.

    It's amazing my husband and I are able to go out and do all the things we do, with the constant hyper-vigilance. That we can go out and face down the streets of London and Washington so bravely most of the time. But, at least in my case, I feel unsafe at home as well, so I don't get much relief no matter what.
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  12. MistyLu

    MistyLu New Member

    Kers made an excellent analogy! That is exactly how I feel in a crowd. It is amazing that I lasted as long as I did with so many visits to Disney Land! That was torture! My husband never understood why.......
  13. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Nothing with PTSD is applicable across every person, hence why everyone suffers quite uniquely and individually. Military for example, will be a large group who will suffer in crowds, often because many who have been on active service, bad things often happen in crowds, ie. a grenade is thrown, knives, hand to hand combat, pistols... all sorts of sneaky things come out against a soldier in third world countries within crowds.

    If you have visited a third world country, then you would understand how they function in crowds or make a crowd very quickly when someone or something new is within their community, because they have little or haven't seen something before, so they are attracted to it / them. Bad people often make what they can against military forces when crowds suddenly popup. Markets... etc... often all bad experiences. Very hard to control things from a military viewpoint within a crowd.

    Doesn't apply to someone with PTSD who may of been raped in their home, etc. They will develop different fears, which would be on the list, but not applicable to say a solider with PTSD, or someone from an MVA, etc.
    moose and Marie E. like this.
  14. blueangel371115

    blueangel371115 New Member

    I hate crowds, I feel trapped. Or long lines. I feel as if I can't escape should I need it. My mind is always looking for an escape route.
  15. livergirl70

    livergirl70 New Member

    I agree with Nora, when you are being hypervigilant, it is exhausting to constantly be scanning crowds. People can approach you from any angle and you don't feel in control. I can now manage supermarkets and large stores, but cannot go in the town centre because there are too many ways to be approached, at least in the big shops you are safe from the side because of the aisles.
  16. Jestadud

    Jestadud New Member Premium Member

    What I do because I know I am over alert is turn my back on the room, then watch the reactions of the people I am sitting with, this is like getting a second opinion before your senses go overboard.

    The funniest thing was some guys I used to drink with saying to me, you should sit with your back to the wall so you can see what is going on, yet they sat with their backs to the window and had no idea what was happening outside or who was coming in, they could have been shot through that window for all they knew. Some people have read too many cowboy books.
  17. jewel

    jewel New Member

    For me, people means socializing and that is something I am not comfortable with. I don't k ow about all of you but somehow I lost my words. I have a difficult time making my sentences and I end up saying it sounds like or I motion it out and I feel dumb when I am in conversation. Crowds for me are also overwhelming because there is just too much going on, too much stimulation.
    blueangel371115 likes this.
  18. blueangel371115

    blueangel371115 New Member

    me too. I feel stupid or at least that the person thinks I'm stupid but is being polite. Or that they are lying to me. I feel that everyone is after me or will hurt me.
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  19. shadowchaser

    shadowchaser VIP Member

    I can't breath in a crowd. Combination of my past and anxiety. To many people to try to keep an eye on. To much noise to get in the way of hearing and way to many people who touch you to get your attention.
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  20. jewel

    jewel New Member

    BlueAngel...I feel stupid too when I can't gather my thoughts or find the right words. Then I always feel a need to explain that I have PTSD and hat that means and I get uh huh's and oh reallys? Like I am making up some excuse or something for my loss of vocabulary. When I get angry with people I usually say "may you experience my worst day for just one day and learn some compassion!" Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had understanding and compassion?
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  21. Srain

    Srain "Please don't tell me not to cry." Premium Member

    I don't usually have as much trouble with thick crowds if I only have to look after myself. Like when I was overseas or South, as long as I was just having to take care of me, which seemed never to be the case when I was younger, then it would have been so much easier. However, having to keep watch over someone else and their well-being took up so much more energy. In a large city, in large crowds, I am fairly well in my element, especially at night. It's daytime the noise all seems so much more encapulated for some reason.

    My husband has always struggled with a stutter and so when he is pushing me to get out and do the socializing thing I really have to step back and realize that when I can't find any words at least he can find a few to get out there so maybe between the two of us we'll manage a full sentence somewhere a long the line ;).
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  22. Teddy

    Teddy New Member

    I simply don't cope in a crowd. My brain seems to stop all together. It is like all the noise, (people chatting, chairs scraping etc), comes into my brain all at the same level. I just can't seem to filter out the unnecesary noise. I panic that I am going to be hurt unexpectedly. I have to sit with my back to a solid wall in a restaurant so I can see anything that my be coming my way. I don't stay in the restaurant if I can't. I hate aeroplanes because I worry that the person behind me is going to hit me over the head. Sometimes I freeze and can't talk and other times I can't move at all. Depends on what kind of day I am having.
    I guess the hypervigilance is just too exhausting. I never go shopping unless I have to and then I shop so I don't have to go back in a hurry.
    I like dinner parties that only have one other couple. Any more than that and I can't make sure every one is having a good time and I worry about who I should be talking to next and have I spoken to every one.
    Now I just avoid them as I don't seem to be able to work out how to cope at all.....
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  23. livergirl70

    livergirl70 New Member

    I find it really difficult going out to socialise, which is really frustrating cos I used to love going out to a good party or club, even just going for a meal gives me palpitations. I went out for a xmas meal with some friends and thought I was going to throw up in the car park before I went in. Must have smoked about 5 cigarettes before I managed to go in
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  24. blueangel371115

    blueangel371115 New Member

    I can relate there too. My folks do that. However, family gatherings aren't as bad for me.
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  25. track108

    track108 New Member

    I have combat related ptsd so i feel like someone is going to try to kill me if i dont pay attention to everything that is going on

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