"When I was about 11, I stood in a room with my mom and her employees after an office Thanksgiving luncheon. They were chatting away about various things and we were all snacking. I took a bite of turkey and as I went to swallow it, it lodged in my throat. I kept swallowing as hard as I could but it wouldn't budge and I couldn't breathe. I didn't have a drink near me, either.
So, I stood there attempting to get it down while giving NO INDICATION that I was literally choking on my food because I didn't want to interrupt the conversation or draw attention to myself. My vision was starting to black on the edges and I was full-on panicking inside when I finally got it swallowed down. I remember breathing heavy through my nose and my eyes watering, thinking how stupid I just was but now I DEFINITELY couldn't say anything about it.
Sometimes it feels like anxiety will kill you, sometimes it almost does."
"The other day at my small office I went to the bathroom to fix my shirt, which I had worn inside out. When I went into the stall the bathroom was empty. As I flipped my shirt around, someone walked into the stall next to me. I also used some toilet paper to wipe my nose (slight cold) and dropped the paper in the bowl. This triggered the auto flush sensor and it flushed. My predicament began when I realized I also had to pee, but since I had already used TP and flushed, my twisted mind decided this would seem really weird to the person next door. 'Why would someone use the bathroom, flush, and then stand up and pee again?' said no one ever, but I couldn't, they might recognize my shoes and know who I was.
So instead, I hatched a clever deception. I left the stall and washed my hands to seem normal, despite that I hadn't even used the bathroom. After drying I walked loudly to the exit and opened the door into the hall, then I said, 'Oh, excuse me,' like I had accidentally bumped into someone else coming in, and walked right back in. I made sure to change the sound of my footsteps walking more quietly so that stall-man would think I was a different person and not some freak playing bathroom charades. Then I went to the urinal and peed and then washed my hands again, using the farthest sink so he couldn't spot my shoes."
"About 15 years ago I was a young teen browsing the electronics section of Walmart. As I was leaving that area this guy and girl around my age were coming into the electronics area. They saw me and both enthusiastically said 'Hey!!' like they were happy and surprised to see me. I didn't recognize them but I thought maybe we had a class together or something so I was like 'Hey!! How's it going?!' feigning cheerfulness as I tried to place where I knew them from. They both looked at me weird and made a face then walked past me to a guy and girl behind me, greeting them.
I was so embarrassed and anxious I just got out of the electronics department as fast as I could without running and went to the next department over, which ended up being the bra and panty area. A female employee came over and asked if I needed help, looking at me confused because of the department. I was flustered and said, 'Sorry, just trying to find electronics,' to which she replied 'Oh it's over this way come with me.' I didn't want to go back but now I was obligated so I followed her back and as we approached I saw the two teens I had the awkward interaction with and their two friends all look up and stare at me. 'There ya go hun,' the employee said. And then she started chatting with the cashier in electronics.
At that time Walmart's electronics section was like a big square with only one opening for entrance and exit to deter theft, so now I'm trapped in this area with the people I just had the awkwardness with and the employee that just escorted me from women's clothes. I was so embarrassed and my whole body felt hot from anxiety. I just blankly stared at the video games behind the glass until the other people left and then I took off."
"Was at a picnic with some friends. I thought it was going to be about 10-15 people, but turned into like 50-75 people within an hour. Enter extreme anxiety. I went up to the grill to get a hot dog and a cute girl walks behind me to get one as well. I notice and start sweating. My barbecue homie hands me my hot dog, but because I was so nervous I drop it right onto the cement. I didn't know to get another one, so I picked it up with dirt all over it, took a bite, and walked away.
Added bonus: a bush I'm really allergic too was nearby so the next week I had an allergic reaction all over my body from it."
"This still haunts me. I worked retail and got better at talking to people, but still had major anxiety. If it got too bad, I'd ask to go out for a smoke break, which my manager was very cool with. I mainly am just very awkward with small talk. A lot of my job was helping customers, talking to people that seemed lonely or needed it, and just being kind. I loved helping people and actually had customers ask about me frequently, which always made my day. They'd even give me gifts on holidays - I freaking loved our regulars.
But anyway, one slow day, I started talking myself up in my head. I wanted to try to improve my small talk and be nice. I had skimmed through the newspaper earlier and saw one of our regulars had died. It didn't say the reason why he passed, but he'd always been very sweet to me, so I was genuinely sad. I'd already had a few customers bring it up, since everyone knew it, but one woman was insanely rude about the deceased. She told me what a horrible person he was, that he'd died of syphilis from cheating on his wife. People can be rude, so I just brushed it off.
So, fast forward a few hours and this sweet, but quiet, little older lady comes in. I try to strike up a conversation about the weather, but she's not very receptive, so I start feeling my anxiety hit. I still don't know why, but I brought up the death I read in the newspaper. The conversations from earlier popped into my head. Anxiety, stupidity, and word vomit, I don't know. She gave me this look which, for whatever reason, made me stutter out, 'Yeah, I heard he died of syphilis from cheating on his wife, terrible way to go.'
God, I instantly wanted to bash my head against the register repeatedly. Why the heck did I just spout that bullcrap rumor? But before I could even apologize or react, she tears up. I freeze. Oh no. I felt ice cold panic bubbling up. She starts sobbing and screams, 'Screw everyone in this town! My husband was a good man. It was brain cancer! He died of brain cancer!!!' My heart was pounding, a full-blown panic attack coming on, and I couldn't physically make myself say anything. Couldn't apologize or explain. I just stared in shock. She storms out, and I went and hid in the bathroom and cried for thirty minutes.
Out of everyone in my town of 6,000 people, I managed to find and talk crap about the deceased to his widow out of anxiety the ONE time I try to direct conversation. I still feel sick thinking about it. I'm a terrible person and have never tried to make small talk again."
"I was talking to my boss after a long day of exams and assignments. I go to leave and she catches the door before I can leave to say goodbye. For some reason my wired brain made me pretend to shoot her with my fingers and say 'zoop' as I walked away.
I thought about it the whole way home."
"So first of all, you have to understand my anxiety is super bad. I've gotten much better in the last year, but I'm still not great now, so I was awful back when this happened, a few years ago.
I was visiting my girlfriend in college for the weekend (her first year there; I was a senior in high school). We'd been having fun that day, getting Slurpees from the neighboring 7/11, etc.
As the day went on, though, she had class and I elected to stay in her room and hang. Now, she had a single dorm, but how that works is there's this shared living room thing connecting several individual rooms, so you sorta halfway have roommates. And there's a shared, multi-toilet bathroom connected to the main room, too. Anyway, sitting in the room for hours (her art class was really long), I eventually needed to pee. But all of the other occupants were hanging out and talking loudly in the main room. I was way too scared to go through them to the bathroom without my girlfriend, as it felt awkward to have some rando walk through. I tried to wait, but it went on for two hours before I couldn't hold it. I freaked out and decided to pee into my empty Slurpee cup, fill it with tissues so it couldn't spill out, put it by my girlfriend's trash, and get rid of it later. That being said, I was beyond embarrassed and really upset, and in my freak out I began to cry out of emotional overload and shame.
So eventually she comes back to find me on the floor, crying of shame, with a Sslurpee cup full of tissues and pee. Luckily she gets it and felt super bad for me, because she's the greatest."
"One year in high school I didn't have anyone in my lunch period that I was friends with. So instead of making friends with the other kids there, I'd eat really fast then say I had to go study in the library, and would instead just wander around the halls until lunch was over.
Except you weren't allowed to roam the halls like that, so I had to sneak around to avoid any teachers/hall monitors seeing me. I spent a lot of that time going from bathroom to bathroom, kind of just standing there waiting for time to pass.
I didn't actually go to the library because I didn't want to spend my free time studying (I wasn't a huge fan of school in the first place). Sneaking around was honestly more appealing to me."
"My boss invited me to a party at her friend's massive house. I'm a 21-year-old female; everyone else was in their late 30's or older, and most people came with children. Quickly realizing that I had very little in common with these people, I started drinking as fast as I could without making it obvious.
Decently hammered, I decided that I'd rather play outside with these people's three-year-olds than have to pretend to be interested in what the adults have to say. After about 20 minutes of playing, the kids started rolling around in the grass. Drink in hand, I joined them without considering what might go wrong. Obviously, the glass shattered under my weight.
Too socially anxious to go inside looking for a recycling bin and make it obvious that I was the first one that night to break a glass (my boss broke two a couple of hours later), I decided to hide the glass in a nearby bush and get it at the end of the party when people would be cleaning up. The end of the night came, and of course, I forgot about the broken glass in the bush.
I still occasionally see the woman who hosted this party and it makes me nervous because she never addresses me or says hi, and I don't know if she knows about the glass or if she just thought I was a total weirdo for hanging out with a bunch of little kids."
"I recently moved to a new city, and there's a Subway across the street from my complex. I decided to go there for dinner and wanted to get a footlong for that night and another one for tomorrow. Except I'm a big guy, they wouldn't believe I wouldn't eat them both in one sitting.
So being the idiot I am, I ordered one for me and had my phone out pretending to get an order from my 'brother.' Pretty sure they knew, pretty sure they judged, jokes on me though, I ate them both in one sitting anyways."
"I was searching for roommates and hired a cleaning company to deep clean my very gross apartment. I left them a key in my mailbox because I was supposed to be at school on the scheduled clean date. I skipped school but forgot the cleaning company was coming.
When they arrived, I panicked and locked myself in my bedroom. Because the house was very old and wonky, there were gaps between the door and the doorframe and I was worried I'd be seen if I just hung out in my room, so I laid on the floor under my bed. I laid there for well over an hour, kicking myself, analyzing how pathetic I was, but couldn't bring myself to get up out of fear that the cleaner would realize someone was home and there would be an awkward encounter.
At one point they tried to enter my room and I held my breath while I watched their shoes through the door gap. I continued laying for THREE MORE HOURS until they finally finished."
"I was in a dance class a few years ago and we had to do improv. Everyone there was a WAY better dancer than me, so I had a difficult time just with that. Well, my teacher gave us five minutes to come up with a dance to a whole song, and you'd have to dance in front of the class alone.
I noped the heck out of there and ran and hid in the bathroom. My cell phone was still in the classroom, but at that point, I didn't care. I decided to sneak out the front door of the studio. Well, there's a small problem there. The walkway to the parking lot was in front of the giant windows of my classroom. I decided to just duck down and run the best I could, hoping no one saw me. I made it to the car and had my dad run in and get my phone. Didn't go back to my class for a few weeks there."
"I was picking up my little sister from school, and I didn't have anything better to do and I didn't want her to have to wait on the long car line, so I got there 40 minutes early. About five minutes before school let out, she told me she was going home with a friend.
I was so scared that the people behind me in line would think I was creepy if I just left the line after all that time, so I pretended to be on the phone, got out of my car and rummaged through my trunk while acting like I was angry at the person on the other end of the call, complete with annoyed arm movements and all, then got back in and drove off."
"I went into a store I used to work at expecting to see my coworkers so I could greet them. A lady was there, but I had no idea who she was. She asked me if she could help, and I stuttered a 'no.'
Then I stood and kind of tapped my feet around like I was a freaking tap dancer and I tried apologizing but instead said 'I uh....I'm not looking for you.' She looked so confused and I could feel my face getting red. I literally ran out. Not just walked quickly - I literally ran and slammed into the door (it was heavy) and hurt my arm.
Though injured, I trudged on. I heard her call out and ask if I was okay as I ran out. Now I can never go back."
"I was in a grad school interview and I was scheduled to meet with a particular professor for 30 minutes. We ran out of things to talk about after about 20 minutes. I am not good at making eye contact, but confident people make a lot of eye contact, right?
So I continued to make eye contact with the professor for about a minute with no words being said, constantly thinking 'don't break eye contact, what should I say? don't break eye contact, this is horrible' until I came up with something meaningless to say."
"A bunch of kids were having get togethers after we graduated 8th grade. I wasn't friends with everyone, but I got invited to like three different parties. I lived within walking distance of them all. I got a ride from my dad to the first one. He dropped me off outside, waited for me to walk in the front door, and then he drove off. Once I got inside I didn't see any of my friends or people I actually talked to. Thankfully, nobody noticed I was there, so I just walked back out and started walking to the other party. It was about five blocks away. As I get close to the house, I was like, 'I probably don't know anyone there either.' So I turned around and started walking to the third party I was invited to.
As I am walking down the block of the last party, I could hear people talking in the backyard but I couldn't recognize any voices. I paced up and down the block a couple times to try and hear a familiar voice. I didn't.
I walked to a park close to my house and climbed a tree and just sat there thinking about all the fun I could be having. I waited in the tree for a while, long enough to make it seem like I was actually out at these parties. Climbed down then walked home and told my parents I had a good time, then went and played Starcraft for like five hours."
"So I was heading over to my buddies house and was going to be meeting his girlfriend for the first time. I assumed they were alone for some reason so my social anxiety was low. When I walked in there were 15+ people (many of which were extended family that I didn't know, so they wanted to meet me immediately) and I was just totally taken off guard.
I finally get to my buddy and his girlfriend, and he introduces her by saying, 'This is my girlfriend, Shannon.' I look her dead in the eye and while shaking her hand I say 'Hi, my name is Shannon.'
This happens all the time, people will introduce themselves to me and I'll introduce myself using their name. It's awful."
"I was in a supermarket in Portugal and this lady was trying to tell me that the free samples are only meant for me to take one. Since I spoke Portuguese, I understood her, but I decided to say, 'Sorry I don't speak Portuguese' in English, then she said it again but in English. So then I started speaking French.
I started to cry out of panic and left the supermarket. So embarrassing. I didn't leave the house for a few days after that."
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