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WIBU to sit in this empty seat?

(33 Posts)
FlowersAndShit Fri 11-Mar-16 11:02:34

I'm agoraphobic and have social anxiety and managed to walk 10 minutes to the doctors for a blood test earlier. I usually sit right by the entrance where there are 4 chairs in a row. There is also another waiting room further down but I was feeling self-concious and anxious and just wanted to be in and out and not draw attention to myself by walking into a partially full waiting room.

There was a woman with a 4x4 buggy sitting in one of the chairs, an empty seat next to her and the other seats had bags/a walking stick. An elderly woman was standing talking to the woman with the pushchair, and a man was also standing, I assume he was her partner. I went to sit in the empty chair next to the woman and she said someone was already sitting there.

I was so embarassed and got up and said it's ok, i'll go in the other room. Cue everyone staring at me and me going bright red sad. This sort of thing is why I'm too scared to go places.

Oysterbabe Fri 11-Mar-16 11:05:03

Have you spoken to your doctor about getting help for your anxiety? The situation you describe really shouldn't be causing you stress.

whatdoIget Fri 11-Mar-16 11:05:48

They were probably just bored with waiting and you provided a distraction! Have you acknowledged to yourself how well you did to get there in the first place and how useful it was for you that you managed to have the blood test? Ie give yourself a pat on the back and get this incident in perspective. It seems like a big deal but it wasn't. Water off a duck's back kind of thing smile

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Fri 11-Mar-16 11:07:02

Flowers I'm sorry you were upset by that. I don't know whether this helps, but those people probably weren't really staring. IME nobody pays that much attention to what is going on around them, and I bet none of them will ever think about it again. They'll have all forgotten by now.

Well done for getting to the doctors for that test though flowers

thelonelyhamster Fri 11-Mar-16 11:08:16

If someone was already sitting there, the seat would not have been empty!

I can't be doing with the 'saving seats' nonsense, particularly when some are piled up with stuff making them unusable .

FlowersAndShit Fri 11-Mar-16 11:08:23

Thanks, I know i'm overreacting but my biggest fear is being humiliated in public, and thats how I felt sad. I've had this problem since I was very young.

Hereward1332 Fri 11-Mar-16 11:14:27

Totally empathise with the anxiety.

In this case YWNBU to sit there. It was empty. You could not have guessed someone was using the sit. The only way you could have known would be if someone told you. When they did, you moved, so behaved quite correctly. No-one thought badly of you, so no humiliation.

You may be able to tell that I run through such scenarios daily.

thecitydoc Fri 11-Mar-16 11:19:22

you were perfectly entitled to sit in the seat as NO ONE was sitting there. My Nanan used to say the only thing that reserves a seat is an arse.

AdrenalineFudge Fri 11-Mar-16 11:19:41

I do think when you suffer from social anxiety the experience you describe can seem very amplified and as if you're on stage with a massive spot light shining on you. I think you did well, how were you to know that someone was already sitting there. In truth I don't think anyone thought anything of it.

ImperialBlether Fri 11-Mar-16 11:31:40

Well, you know what they're seeing the doctor for, if they think there are people sitting in empty chairs!

Floggingmolly Fri 11-Mar-16 11:34:25

Somebody wasn't already sitting there, unless they were fairy sized. I always feign deafness in those situations and plonk myself down anyway.

PinotEgregio Fri 11-Mar-16 11:43:21

flowers for Flowers.

I'd bet you any money than no one in that waiting room remembers that incident now.

You didn't do anything wrong at all. I hope you can get some help with the anxiety.

PinotEgregio Fri 11-Mar-16 11:44:01

To answer your question: YWDNBU.

bluespiral Fri 11-Mar-16 11:48:05

YWNBU to have sat there, it was empty! Well done for having made it to the doctors.

It was an empty seat, therefore it was reasonable for you to sit in it. I might look up if someone was talking in a waiting room but only to check that I hadn't missed my name being called. People will have forgotten about the incident by the time they look down at their phone or similar.

Things that might help to remember:-
1) Most people aren't interested in random strangers and forget passing interactions very quickly so something that feels huge to you is insignificant to them.

2) Even if those people did think for more than a nanosecond about the interaction you will probably never see them again and even if you did they wouldn't remember you and you wouldn't remember them.

3) Your behaviour was socially acceptable.

FlowersAndShit Fri 11-Mar-16 11:56:38

Thanks all, was expecting you all to tell me to get a grip!

ilovesooty Fri 11-Mar-16 12:02:50

I once fled a bus because someone criticised me for not giving up my seat to someone else. I'd already offered it and they'd refused as it was a side seat and there was no where for them to hold on to. I ran off in tears at the next stop because I was embarrassed.
Well done for getting to the doctors.

AdrenalineFudge Fri 11-Mar-16 12:03:26

Flowers Not at all. I understand just how crippling social anxiety can be. I've a few spare grips if you'd like them though grin

Doubledeckers Fri 11-Mar-16 12:04:44

Sorry to hear that you felt embarrassed. You weren't to know that the seat was already taken and it's acceptable to sit in an empty seat in a waiting room. As others have said, I don't think the other in the waiting room would think you did anything wrong and would have forgotten about it now.

Well done for staying and going to the other room. I think that was brave of you.

SilkObsidian Fri 11-Mar-16 12:21:55

I understand how you feel. I used to have social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia and this sort of scenario happened a lot. I would mull it over for weeks, cringing at the memory. Going to the doctors filled me with dread, I hated waiting rooms and used to take diazepam just to deal with the waiting room.

You did nothing wrong. The seat was empty. TBH you can't really 'reserve' seats in the waiting room and the woman was rather rude to say you couldn't sit on the empty seat. What if you'd been feeling faint or unwell? I would have probably have sat there anyway and moved when her friend returned.

Whats medications/therapies have you tried? I had 2 years of counselling, CBT and NLP plus various meds, and made a full recovery. I'm now very confident socially, have lots of friends and love getting out and about. But for the best part of my 20s I lived like a recluse.

Just a thought, do you have a friend who can come with you to these appointments? What helped me most was my (very patient) best friend who came out with me. I felt less self conscious and less anxious with her by my side and we debriefed afterwards. It helped she was training as a psychologist at the time (so she benefitted too and used me as a long term case-study). But anyone kind and patient would be better than trying to go out alone.

Do keep going out and don't lose hope. When you reach a certain stage of recovery you will suddenly be able to do a lot more, and the anxiety starts to fade. Mine is a distant memory now. Social anxiety and agoraphobia are horrible conditions, unless you've been there it's hard to understand the depth of that horror.

During my 'exposure therapy' I did many things that were socially unacceptable, because I panicked halfway through an exercise! This included jumping a taxi queue twice blush because I was desperate to get home. I also pushed people out of the way to get through crowds, kept my bag on seats on trains, ran out of a hair appointment halfway through (the mirror and chatty hairdresser were overwhelming!) and fell asleep in a restaurant at a birthday party because I took so much diazepam I couldn't stay awake blush
But you know what? Nothing bad happened apart from cross stares and a few barbed comments. I felt awful (and would never behave like that now!) but when you're in hell you just do what you can to get out the other side. Even if you make a massive social mistake, the humiliation fades with time and you learn to dismiss the memory rather than relive it. Learning to forget things is a skill.

Good luck!

diddl Fri 11-Mar-16 12:31:28

Maybe someone had gone for a wee/bloodtest & would soon be back.

An easily made mistake.

FlowersAndShit Fri 11-Mar-16 20:57:55

Thank you, everyone.

Silk I've been on antidepressants since I was 16 (25 now). I've had all sorts of therapy and I did get a lot better by myself a year or so ago, but it's crept back up again sad.

I haven't got any friends, so getting out and about is even more difficult as I'm a billy no mates. I am going to an anxiety support group every fortnight which helps. I get the bus into town and meet the group for coffee/lunch. They are all lovely and we get on well, but the youngest member is the same age as my mum, so it's a bit tricky.

betsyderek Fri 11-Mar-16 21:28:45

The first response in this thread is just downright bullying. I would imagine someone who suffers from agraphobia has to be quite brave to go out to the surgery. What a horrible thing to say. I expect all fat people eat too much and poor people are just bad with money.

OP is a bigger person than most of us for managing to fight a crippling illness

betsyderek Fri 11-Mar-16 21:31:44

😸 at falling asleep during a birthday party because of diazepam

leelu66 Sat 12-Mar-16 00:22:16

Asking someone if they've been to see the doctor for an issue is 'downright bullying'? confused

Yes, it's a tad thoughtless to tell an agoraphobic that they should not be stressed in a public space but hardly bullying.

OP has had some good support in the thread generally.

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