Anxiety and Campground Neighbors

We’ve been upfront with the fact that both of us deal with mental issues, but we haven’t really talked about it much. We are sitting in a campground in Wisconsin, where we have been for the past five days. All was going well, but I knew the weekend would bring a lot more people. I didn’t realize how many or how it would affect me.

Right now its 10:05 pm. Quiet time starts at 11pm. Is that going to matter to some people? I doubt it. I’ve seen many people blatantly break the rules, some minor like washing their RVs, others more serious like launching fireworks into the sky. Not only are those types of fireworks illegal in Wisconsin in general, but at this campground, sparklers aren’t even allowed.

There are a lot of people walking the path drinking alcohol. They are loud and so far annoying. Dogs are barking, kids are driving by on golf carts literally screaming for no reason. Our direct neighbors gave us the stink eye apparently because they think we were in their campsite (we were not). Right not the bass of music from some distant campsite is causing my drink to tremble.

So what does this have to do with mental illness? Well, its getting to me. I had to walk to the bathroom and walked past several people campsites crammed full with people. The RVs were nearly on top of each other. I went as quickly as I could and came back to our campsite, staring at the ground the whole time so as to not make eye contact. My anxiety is high. I want to camp somewhere quiet, where we can just enjoy the campfire and not listen to someone playing Nickelback as loud as they can.

But I knew it would be like this, or something like this at least. I didn’t think my anxiety would cause this much stress. I want to go outside, find the offending stereo and throw it in their fire pit. I can’t do that, but I want to.

My social anxiety comes out with crowds of strangers. I’m fine in small groups with people I know. I’m fine with groups of people with like minds. But these people, these strangers who think they are “up north” and will likely be like this all weekend? They make me angry and put me on edge.

I know I should be able to just ignore them, after all, they’ll likely be leaving on Sunday. But that means another 48 hours of dealing with crowds and strangers and loud, annoying music. I fear if someone says something direct to me, regardless of what it is about, I’ll punch them. Fight or flight response and fight is often the first thing that comes to mind.

So what do I do? I try to distract myself. We came back inside around 9pm, so at least we can hide behind window shades, but I can still hear them. That’s the hard part, knowing they are out there, knowing they are drinking and being loud, and knowing I can’t escape any further.



that is where we stand. Its only Friday night and Saturday night is likely to be just as bad. We have to do laundry tomorrow, so I know we will go outside, but I don’t want to. I’m on edge, defensive and angry for no rational reason. Logically, I know these people don’t give a thought about me, but the anxiety persists without my control. I can ignore as much of it as possible, but I have a feeling we’ll be spending more time at National and State Parks where there is some distance between us and the nearest neighbor.

I want some quiet time. Forty more minutes until that hits, so we’ll see if they follow that rule. I have a feeling they won’t and I may have to complain to someone. Some of us are here for the retreat, the quiet and to get away from the busy world outside. Others are here to get drunk and be obnoxious.

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