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Odd reactions to large groups of people or public spaces

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I wasn't really sure what category to put this under, because it seems very bizarre to me, but panic attacks seemed the most accurate...Well many times when I'm at a party or a dinner with a lot of people, or just in a big public space like a mall, I start to feel dizzy and hot. I get big red blotches on my chest and arms and legs, I think because my skin is getting warmer. I also sometimes feel like I can't get enough air, or that I'm breathing irregularly. I can't really quite describe it but I know something is off with my breathing, though I think I might just get paranoid about it and think I'm running out of air. Sometimes after this starts happening I get panicky and occasionally start sweating a little. The funny thing is though, I'm a very social person, I'm not shy, and I dont feel afraid of large groups of people. I dont feel panicky until AFTER I start feeling this way.

Anyways, I was just wondering if this happens to anyone else, or if you know what could be causing it.
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replied November 5th, 2010
odd reactions
oh my god yes, i used to feel that way all the time, but it never really dawned on me until i saw another person seeing me panicking. then it became real to me, like all the emotions i was experiencing came out fully, and after years of panicking in public, especially on trains over water or when faced with situations where i had to rise to the occasion and 'be my bright beautiful self' as my mother would say - i would become panicked - but not every time. i too had sweating, irregular breathing, and just a lack of self awareness that i look at and say wow, i'm such a smart person, how could i lose myself so completely? i too am a social person, when i'm feeling free i'm magnetic and have such ease, but when i seize up i feel like a pariah. i've also experienced this while alone, when i'm trying to do something that's very important to me. like this one time i wanted to write an article about a local man who i admire dearly, and i had such a hard time with procrastination etc, so that when the day came that i wrote the article, which was a short time of simply putting down what i knew, an hour on the couch with the computer on my lap - to be honest i had to stay up all night and it seemed like that exhaustion disinhibited me because i only had so much energy and was so determined to get that article done! but as i sat there on the couch doing it i realized i had big sweat stains and was flushed though when all was said and done i felt like a million bucks. i think for me there's a handful of underlying causes. it's a little like saying 'what makes me me' so there are intangibles but... i never felt safe at home. i wasn't accepted for who i was and worse, i was ridiculed and scapegoated within my family. my mom had anxiety, so did an older brother. i wasn't care for in basic ways, and our lives revolved around my mother's emotions, and my dad was there but wasn't there and this wasn't addressed at all, so i think all that's a major part, but i don't think it's necessarily a part of every person's experience who has anxiety. i think that some people are sensitive. it's such a loaded word, i used to rail against it. thin-skinned too, is another idea that is so laden with value and judgment that for a long time i was just angry about what these words - the presumptions both good like oh, the artistic temperament and bad, weak or childish. i feel if i'd adopted the identities that people attach to anxiety (or anything, really) that i'd be cheated out of knowing myself and thus knowing and relating to others and the world in a deeper, richer sense. human beings are subtle and it seems to me, we're shape-shifters - psychologically - to hide for anxiety or as comfort but also for a desire to be known better, deeply, if the other person can follow your twists and turns, if they care enough to follow your patterns and do so accurately - i'm talking about organic human nature not game playing, and for me recognizing my nature has been really hard. in part because i didn't have adequate care growing up but also because it seems like american culture encourages a lot of living to be done according to prescribed and vastly demonstrated routes, and our present day culture seems to encourage one to live in one's head, or at least quietly with others relating to screens. it's a lot to navigate to find what makes one thrive! for me, vigorous physical activity is really helpful. i've always run on the treadmill but i used to hold myself back,i didn't want to make too much noise at the gym or i'd just have this built in thing that said, no, no, don't do that. but recently i see i can run at least 6 miles an hour (give and take) and it feels so much better! easier than running slower! so it's been a great fulcrum for me for understanding myself and finding strength in other areas. what's interesting is, when i would run not as fast as i could i would have ankle pain, but when i just one day found my stride, the ankle pain lessened considerably!
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replied December 9th, 2010
I get that way when i go to the grociery store sometimes or to the mall and even when i am around people i know or have my son with me...If they walk away from me and this feeling comes on i fell like i need to get near them before i pass out, its like i have a fear of passing out and no one knowing?
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