I feel really uncomfortable around other people

When I'm in large crowds I get angry and I just can't deal with people. I don't really like other people (I prefer animals) they make me nervous and scared.

I lay awake at night thinking and having conversations in my head and i almost always end up making myself feel terrible and crying, I have more conversions in my head than I do with actual people.

I don't know what's wrong with me and why I feel this way. What should I do?

Cynthia Finefrock
Cynthia Finefrock
Assisting with neurodiversity, autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Hi, please be assured that there is nothing wrong with you, though your experience feels distressing. Your brain simply works differently, which is called neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is a neurological / neurodevelopmental difference in brain function. There are many reasons why you could react to crowds this way, including autism, social pragmatic communication condition, high sensitivity, social anxiety, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, introversion, OCD, ADHD, PTSD, sensory processing disorders (such as auditory processing disorder, misophonia, or hyperacusis), etc. The good news is that there are ways to manage this social discomfort, including wearing concert earplugs in crowds (I recommend Hearos) and taking sensory breaks to breathe deeply in a quiet space and splash cool water on your face when these situations become too overwhelming. You could even go to events with people who you feel safe with and come up with cues to let them know you need support. You could even bring a comfort item, such as a fidget, to meet your sensory stimulation needs. The tendency to ruminate on past social interactions, or to repeatedly rehearse upcoming social interactions, is a common thing for neurodiverse people to do; there can be reasons such as fear of judgment, misreading social cues, or performing mental compulsions in response to obsessions. Anger in response to overstimulation is also common, and the reasons could range from autistic shutdown or meltdown, to PTSD anger outbursts resulting from startle response, to feelings of rejection and frustration from social anxiety, etc. I recommend you see a mental health professional who can help with neurodiversity, emotional coping strategies, and navigating social situations. Figuring out the roots of your social anxiety is crucial to your social wellbeing, and you can start by asking yourself what you fear most and what negative beliefs you have internalized about yourself. My practice, based in TX, serves adults and adolescents with neurodivergence, including autism and ADHD. Also helpful could be you visiting an audiologist to assess for auditory processing sensitivities and a neuropsychologist and/or psychologist to assess for neurodiverse conditions.

Lastly, it is common for neurodiverse individuals to find more rapport or safety with pets than with other people. My favorite pet is a cat... "Meow!" What's yours?

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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