On the surface, I am strong, independent, confident and give no f@£ks about what other people think of me. But start to scratch down to the inside, and you’ll find a very different person. For me, this is another topic I have never discussed with anyone before, so please bare with me as it does make me feel very vulnerable.

Okay, so you may have read my previous blog discussing all the stares that we had because of using Sign Language with my parents. I’m afraid, it doesn’t stop there. I think it’s been so instilled in me that people are always watching and judging.

Here’s a perfect example. I’m currently sat at my local train station waiting to get into the city centre to do all of my Christmas shopping (yay!), and I’m on the platform with a few other people. They may not be looking at me, they may be. I have no idea. But the anxiety bubbling away inside of me feels like I’m constantly being judged. Is there something on my face? Stuck to my back? Did I not zip up my jeans? They are looking and secretly laughing at something.

Clearly, they aren’t. These are all the scenarios going around in my head. The strangest thing is, this only ever happens when I’m alone. I guess when others are with me, I have the distractions from my thoughts, and completely forget about everyone else around me.

Is it normal to feel like this? In a society where mental health is now the forefront of everyone’s minds, it feels a little more acceptable to talk about feelings and emotions. But I’ve never heard of anyone feeling the same way as me. Am I just different? Is there something wrong with me? Please shed some light on this situation as I have no idea how to deal with it.

(I promise I will put in some more light hearted stuff on here soon!)

19 Comments

  1. I experience high anxiety at times and when I’m bright enough to remember to I use distraction techniques. My first is look around for something beginning with A and the B and so on through the alphabet. For some reason R somehow evades me when I expect to have trouble with X.

    Second one is think of an animal beginning with A and then B and so on, that is easier.

    Then look for something coloured in every colour you can think of.

    I’ve managed to stay sat doing this initially feeling panic inside, and of course then comes, can people tell that I’m feeling panic?! And if you stay with these distraction games long enough not only does the anxiety reduce but often it can go away completely.

    Perhaps I should try town’s or villages beginning with each letter of the alphabet.

    But mostly, remember you are not alone. There are likely to be people on your platform also trying to reduce their anxiety.

  2. You definatly not the only one, I think we all have deep insecurities locked away. I try to avoid walking anywhere on my own or standing in crowds on my own because of the thought that everyone is looking or judging me, I even get paranoid of how I’m walking like it’s I forget how to walk when I’m on my own as I concentrate that much incase someone I know drives past or is walking towards me and laughs. I was taught to try and imagine a certain comical outfit or people around me being naked to take my focus off myself which does take the edge off 😂

  3. Have you ever thought they may fancy you or like you bag,outfit etc .its funny because another reason they maybe looking is that you give an air of being determined and in control of your destiny.remember being different is a positive thing and you will go far.

    1. I’ve tried thinking that one, it’s a really good distraction, until your brain goes into overload again. Lol! Distraction techniques are usually really good though!

  4. Hello Wayne
    I do know exactly joe you feel but in my position I am the opposite as I am only deaf person in my family and I have always wondered how do I fit in that? My family do not sign and in family gatherines they are all talking and felt left out! Even we are out I feel people looking at me like why am I not involve in conversations or staring at me like there is something on my face but it is all in my head! It hard to talk to someone as they don’t get what I am talking abt or be in a situation as me!

    1. My parents have the same problem with their family, a lot of them don’t sign and they often feel excluded. It’s really difficult as I can’t be with them 24/7 to help them out all the time, which makes me feel very guilty. But yes, I see that same frustration on their faces everyday! This is why more people need to learn Sign Language!

  5. There’s lots of people feeling the same/similar way. But I don’t think it makes things easier. I use to have similar problem… it felt nasty. I couldn’t cope with that anymore so I took the action and went to therapist. She help me to understand I’m the one who is responsible for how I feel. It took me 12 months but I’ve learned that I’m strong and I’m the one who can help. No drugs just breathing and relaxing techniques and also finding a reason for my feelings.
    I felt like the world was basically eating me alive. What I’m saying is: I’ve managed to take control. You can do it as well👌💪❤️ Go get help, don’t think about it too much.

    1. I think your advice is amazing, I think speaking to someone who can help me overcome these thoughts would be a great idea. I’m so glad it’s helped you! x

  6. It happens to me all the time with my social anxiety. I’m constantly in the mindset that people are judging every part of me. I avoid public transport and most public places at all costs, some days I even struggle to leave the house. I tend to use my phone as my crutch and just mindlessly scroll through social media so I don’t have to have any interactions with other people.

    You are definitely not alone in this.

  7. In a world full of people who judge others we judge ourselves even more and I ask myself this question all the time…why? We are so lucky and blessed to have a roof over our heads, food in our belly, friends and family who love us so maybe it’s time to give each other a break. Hold your head up high and fight the anxiety, stay calm, speak to someone, open up about insecurities. You are special and always hold onto that. No one is looking at you and if they are smile because maybe they are looking at you because they recognise you from Facebook or they like what they see. Stop beating yourself up, your only human we all get anxious. I fight it now and again and if I feel this way I take a deep breath and feel thankful for being here x

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth, your words are really helpful, and they have really struck a chord with me. We all have our own reasons for being special and beautiful, we should all remember that x

  8. Remember that first class I came to in Manchester and I’d messaged Emma before it in a blind panic?
    It’s all nerves and touches of anxiety, your not the only one I can promise you that!
    When I get like that I tend to stay near the edges of the rooms or near walls whilst outside just incase it gets to much and I can put my palms on something solid and take 5 to calm myself down. (Not the best strategy if you don’t wanna be noticed but when other distraction games and techniques don’t work that one does xx

    1. Aww Lauren! I remember it well. And look how you came out of it! You were such an amazing signer, and you did so well! I’m so glad you have your techniques, they are key to help us overcome our anxieties.

  9. Hi Wayne,
    I have suffered from Anxiety since I was 16 (some 32 years) oops just given my age away!
    I was officially diagnosed two years ago, I often feel like that people are looking at me and laughing at me. On Friday last week I was shopping in Waitrose and was convinced that two children who obviously so excited about Christmas coming and were laughing at the cards. I felt that they were looking and laughing at me.

    To cope with this I started to think to myself of all the reasons why they wouldn’t be laughing at me, I also focused on breathing in slowly for the count of 7 and then breathe slowly out for the count of 10.

    I also try to imagine that. those around me when this is happening are all walking around in just their underwear, which can be a great distraction especially if one of them is a rather good looking guy 😆

    1. Hi Martin! I literally have the exact same feelings as you. I feel that people who are laughing are just laughing at me too! I can resonate with you so much. I’m going to have to try the underwear thing! Lol x

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