Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Human Touch

I have claustrophobia sometimes. I freak out when I am in large crowds or confined spaces with other people. Today in church I was claustrophobic. The man sitting next to me was sitting really close and I felt like I had no personal space. Then he started brushing against me when we stood up, or bumping into me as we sang. Every time he unintentionally touched me, my freak-out level rose. I managed to make it through the service without running out of there like a crazy person. But I can never understand why this happens to me. I mean he wasn't any closer to me than anyone else was to the other people sitting in there. Why was I freaking out? So I spent a lot of the afternoon trying to figure out why this stuff bothers me so much and how powerful the human touch is.

In everyday life I'm not a very touchy-feely type of person. At least to most people. But any of my ex-boyfriends will tell you I love to cuddle and would always be holding on to their arm or lying my head on their shoulder. On the other hand, my friends will tell you I am not a huger. I guess it is part of my defense mechanism because I don't want to let people too close. My boyfriend at the time could always fill my need for human contact. I trusted them and knew that they cared about me so it was ok to be physically close to them. Plus it is a whole lot easier in romantic relationships to outwardly show your affection. So I didn't really need to have any other physical human contact.

But I haven't had a boyfriend (or even a date) in a very long time. So I have had little to no human contact in months. Yet I still freak out when people touch me which makes no sense to me because a good long hug would be really nice right now. I don't understand my claustrophobia, but it is definitely there. However I can't wait to have someone to be close to again because no physical human contact what-so-ever is not a good place to be either.


Jamie said...

I get like that with strangers. If I don't know, you need to stay away from me. I hate taking the EL when it's crowded, everyone is all up in my business!

magda said...

It's a crazy feeling when I read a post like this and am all, oh my gosh, me too. Like, exactly. I could have written this.

I definitely have my personal bubble, and I don't like it violated. But I remember when I first moved to a new city, and was living all alone in a world void of contact--I was in a packed train coming home one night, and was squished up against people. I remembered, then, that it had been MONTHS since I'd had any contact other than maybe a handshake. I missed it. Those kind of cramped quarters usually freak me out--I think I was just in serious touch-deficit or something.