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What It's Like to Have Anxiety in a Crowded Bus Station

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Although depression is something I struggle with most, I also have anxiety. Most people who know me think I’m fearless, because I don’t show it much, but on the inside there’s a whole other story going on. I’m usually so focused on my depression I forget about my anxiety — but last week my anxiety hit really hard, and I would like to tell you a little about that.

I was walking around the bus station, trying to find a place where there’s no people. My bus was only in another hour, so where can I go during that time? I tried some shops, but got too many suspicious looks from shopkeepers when they saw me just hanging around. I tried walking around, but there were too many people, people just all over the place.

A flashback came into my mind from the previous day when I was waiting for a train. The platform was something out of this world. There were so many people, you couldn’t even walk. I felt sick. Someone accidentally shoved me and I had to jumped out of his way, right past the yellow line. Suddenly the train came whizzing past. I jumped, terrified, but there was no place to jump to. People started pilling out of the train, more people shoving, trying to get on the train, and then me, just standing, concentrating on keeping my lunch inside.

I felt sick now as I walked around the bus station. I decided to just wait by the platform where my bus is supposed to come to. But there were tons of people. I waited and soon more and more people started coming. “Don’t throw up, don’t throw up,” I whispered to myself. I wanted to lie down. I felt like I was going to faint. I wanted to be at home! Tears filled my eyes. I saw someone approaching me, obviously to ask me if I’m OK, but I was terrified. I ran. I ran to the only place where there was no people — out the door to where the buses are parked. Everyone knows the number one rule of the Jerusalem bus station — don’t go out the door until the bus arrives, it’s too dangerous to be out there for too long because of the fumes. But I didn’t care about the damn fumes anymore, I just needed to get away from all the people! I felt dizzy. I felt nauseous. I hoped I wouldn’t disgrace myself.

A few minutes later a few people came out as well. I didn’t mind much because it wasn’t too many people. But then a bus warden came and told everyone to go back inside. They all listened to him. But I didn’t. There was no way I was going back in there. Definitely not. He started shouting at me, I was too dizzy to explain why I couldn’t go back inside, and just then the bus came and I rushed on the second the door opened. I felt nauseous the whole long journey home, and the rest of the day.

That is what “people anxiety” is for me.

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Originally published: December 19, 2016
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