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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
The Darkness Offline
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Unhappy Scared to live in the city now - July 12th 2017, 02:55 AM

Yesterday while I was heading to my new therapist's office far off in the center of the city (I went from school which is in the outer reaches of the city) I was on the bus and there was an empty seat next to me. Some people got on at one stop and this man sat next to me, tried talking to me. I thought he was asking for directions or something so I took off my headphones but he started trying to talk to me about myself and then asked for my number. When I wouldn't give it to him he sat there quietly then started laughing from nothing. He soon left the seat to sit somewhere behind me and when I got off he laughed and yelled Here! And throughout the entire bus ride he kept laughing.
This is the second time in this month that a stranger asks if he knows me and tries talking to me, except the first guy asked me if I would have sex with him.
I know many women and femmes in general have these sorts of situations happen to them, but this has never happened to me before now. I was invisible back then and I loved being invisible. Because of all the stories I read about women and femmes being harassed on the street and in public I'm scared of things escalating like it does with some of those women who get physically attacked or even killed because of their rejections. I'm anxious to get back in a bus, much less go back into the city for class tomorrow. I'm fearing for my safety.
Does anyone have experience with this and advice on how to stay safe/invisible?


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  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Scared to live in the city now - July 12th 2017, 03:08 AM

I'm sorry you've been made to feel unsafe.
One way to try to avoid this could be to sit next to another woman on the bus so that men will be less likely to approach you and also don't take your headphones off to talk to randoms. Try to avoid situations where a man is going to block your access to an aisle. That way you can get up.The chance of someone actually killing you because you rejected his advances on a bus is pretty low, but if you're really afraid, as you have every right to be, don't hesitate to ask people to help you. You can get up and go sit elsewhere. Of course you are NEVER responsible for someone's unwanted and threatening advances. And I hate feeling like I need to tell you things you should and shouldn't do. By sadly we live in a world where women often feel like they have to take their safety into their own hands because men won't be held accountable for being discugistmg (not all men I know but this is a rampant and serious problem even if only 10% of all men will take it too far).

You could always try to take a self défense course. There are ones out there for women. Muay Thai, Krav Maga, and MMA are all good. Its nice feeling like I could protect myself if I had to.




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Re: Scared to live in the city now - July 13th 2017, 06:39 AM

I have one idea that may sound unusual.

You may be less anxious if you don't wear your headphones. Try practicing some Mindfulness being fully present in the moment. This is a trick that's good practice anyway for someone who has any anxiety. Bring your full attention to the present moment and just become aware. Don't think or judge, just be aware. When a thought enters your mind, let it go, and return your focus to the present moment. Keep returning your focus to the present moment. When your mind wanders, which it will after about 10 seconds, return your focus to the present moment.

Headphones let our mind wander into some other place, and we become less aware of our surroundings and being present. We start daydreaming, fantasizing, but then we're not present. To be fully present, focus on the present. Focus and just notice.

(Of course when you're alone, you can focus on listening to music. But don't let your mind wander, try focusing all your attention on the music, and when your mind wanders, return your focus to the music. This is another practice of focusing your mind. A side effect of doing this focusing exercise is it strengthens a part of your brain which as another side effect reduces anxiety. It's called Mindfullness. You can research it.)

The idea is to eventually reduce being fearful, by doing this Mindfulness trick. Then you won't fear things so much, and won't worry about things so much, and will feel more confident that you'll be able to deal with anything that comes your way.

(Sorry this isn't a short term solution; it's more of a long term solution that requires a bit of brain exercise.)

Best wishes!
   
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Re: Scared to live in the city now - July 16th 2017, 07:14 PM

I pretty much agree with everything *Always said. You could try sitting next to another woman, or on the outside so you can move, or towards the front of the bus/in view of the driver. Of course you're not responsible for another persons actions and hopefully the situations of women getting seriously attacked aren't too common.

I've been through a similar situation last year and I know how it can leave you feeling a bit shaken up and anxious to be in the same situation again. Hope you are okay though!


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Re: Scared to live in the city now - July 16th 2017, 11:38 PM

I second what Holly said and agree with everything Always* has said. If you have a friend or a familiar face on the bus, ask to sit with them–though you'd more likely to already be sitting with your friend. If you live in a small town and the bus has a more routine schedule, you're more likely to develop what I call a situational acquaintance. This could happen on a city bus, but it's extremely rare.

I would probably also look into self-defense classes. Throwing a punch to the face/groin, or kick to the groin/shins isn't going to get you anywhere and could probably get you in trouble. Know what you're doing if a really dangerous situation ever arises. Always* has provided some good options for classes on self-defense.

I'm so sorry this has happened to you, but if it were me I wouldn't want sympathy.

I would want someone to tell me "I'm sorry men are such (blanked)-up disgusting (blanks)."
   
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