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Fear of bumping into people you know

I was once teaching a class and experienced it for the first time. It was only the two of us, the student and me. I felt anxious and awkward, and almost passed out. I had to excuse myself and leave the room. Since then, it's gotten worse. Nowadays I am SCARED of bumping into people I know, even some friends. I get so nervous trying to think of things to say that I come off very nervous and awkward. My interlocutor notices I'm nervous and gets a bit nervous, too. Ugh, it's terrible. But the worst parts are initiating the conversation and especially ending it. I get SO nervous that I don't know what to say and I end up saying stupid things. It's really getting in the way. I have plans to apply for grad school but I'm afraid of how I'm going to fare in that environment if I have a mini heartattck everytime I see a professor or classmate. Does anyone have the same problem or has overcome it? Thanks
Category: Anxiety 6 years ago
Asked 6 years ago

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Hi Doug, I'm in the exact same boat as you are, so I know how you feel. Unfortunately, I don't have any answers on how to overcome it, but I do want to let you know that you aren't the only one who feels this way. I had a really bad experience with verbally abusive people at my last job. I'm always terrified that I will see them out in public. If my mind becomes completely out of control on a bad day, everyone in every store looks like one of these people. I get a panicked pang in my stomach until I can confirm that it is not the person that I think it is. It usually isn't. I had one run in at the grocery store with this woman Megan, who was one of the worst at the job. I was telling myself that it wasn't her until she turned to the left and I saw the tattoo that she has on her shoulder. She looked at me and walked away, but it triggered a panic attack. Unfortunately, I was in that open space where the dairy products are kept, so I couldn't just fall to bits right there. I managed to move myself into one of the aisles and turned to the item in front of me as though I was just evaluating a product for purchase. I had all of the common panic attack symptoms going on and managed to call my boyfriend who was able to talk me out of the store. I felt as though I was paralyzed. In my opinion, the fact that you are able to talk to these people at all shows that you are a brave person - especially if you initiate the conversation. I just wanted to let you know that there are others in the world that are the same. It helps me when I know that.
Answered 6 years ago

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