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Sunshinegirl11's avatar

Anxiety due to being stalked, how do I calm myself?

Asked by Sunshinegirl11 (1110points) March 28th, 2018 from iPhone

I’ve been stalked multiple times in my life, but for some reason I have a ton of anxiety after today.

Long story short, I was in the grocery store and this man was following me around and making eye contact. He ended up leaving the store right behind me with no groceries. I held my pepper spray in my hand and made it to my car. I drove home and made sure no one was following me.

I was in fight or flight mode and didn’t even think to contact authorities. What if he stalks someone else who isn’t as aware as I was? What if he actually did follow me home? What if he saw my license plate or something?

It’s now midnight and I’m laying in bed. Every time the house creeks I jump. I keep thinking I see someone in the corner of my eye. I feel nauseated. I’m scared. I’ve locked all doors and windows.

I have left over Ativan from a recent surgery at my dads, but I don’t want my dad to worry or lecture me. I also don’t want to rely on medication for anxiety. What should I do?

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8 Answers

Zaku's avatar

I’m not sure if this will help at all, but… Find a good class on self-protection/defense? As a large male who had positive experiences fighting kids who were aggressive from a young age, I’ve been blessed/privileged but still consider self-defense all the time and take comfort in it. I.e. I sleep knowing I will be wakened by break-ins and where the phones, improvised weapons, doors, exits and hiding places are. I’d make sure my door was locked/barred, that I had a phone and weapon handy, that friends knew what had happened, think about what a breakin or attack could look like, what would happen and what you could do to detect and react to it effectively (summoning help by voice & phone, getting away) and perhaps get someone (and/or a big dog) to keep me company for a while when going about.

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funkdaddy's avatar

I’m sorry this happened. My wife kept having similar experiences and would be pretty cautious afterwards.

One thing that helped her, and might help you, is planning for the next time you feel the same way in public.

You could probably walk up to just about any other shopper and say “there’s a man following me around and it’s making me uncomfortable, would you mind if I walked with you for a minute.” Or something along those lines that you’re comfortable with. Then you’re not alone and just that can make deciding how big of a threat he is a little bit easier. It gets you out of that fight or flight mode you mentioned.

After that, pretty much any store employee will walk you to your car if you ask them. It’s not even uncommon after dark.

Having another person there is even better than pepper spray.

kritiper's avatar

Take a course in Judo, or some other martial art. Or get a big dog. Or take a course in concealed weapons, and get a gun.

CWOTUS's avatar

I can understand your anxiety about being stalked, or even just feeling that. However, I’m most surprised to hear that you had surgery at your dad’s house. Wow! That would make me anxious.

It sounds like you’re doing the right things, though: being aware of people in your area and other surroundings, not losing yourself in a phone display or headphones and music while outside, etc. – and having the pepper spray. Consider that even if he did get your license number – which he probably didn’t, but let’s say that he did – most people would need police or DMV access to be able to reverse-lookup that license tag to your name and address. So there’s not likely to be any repercussion from that.

However, I think that most guys who opportunistically follow you around in a store are apt to be harmless. Maybe lonely and a little bit desperate for companionship, but overall harmless.

It might actually be of value to you to talk to a cop and find out just how difficult it would be (maybe also “how unlikely”) for a stranger to be able to track you based on the public information you exhibit, such as a license plate. And by “how unlikely”, I mean you might ask someone who knows what the “stranger danger” is in your area, for people to be accosted and assaulted – or worse – by people that they don’t know at all. (You’re almost always in more danger from people you already do know… whether that makes you feel better or not.)

Pandora's avatar

As already suggested, there isn’t much you can do right now, but maybe invest in some home security and take some self defense class.
That happened to me once and since I was with my kids, I feared he was looking to snatch my daughter. So when I went to check out, I asked the cashier if they had a security guy working in the store. They said no. So I described the guy and one guy stayed with the stalker guy and other walked me to my car till I drove away. At the time there was two women kidnapped and raped and one was with her baby so everyone was on high alert. I remember tell them I felt foolish and they said I had ever reason to feel weird. The guy had been in the store for some time and didn’t seem to be buying anything.

Adagio's avatar

I’m with @funkdaddy on this, an excellent and practical suggestion.

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