"What am I going to say as an excuse this time?"
Thinkstock photo via TeerawatWinyarat
It’s 6:00 p.m.
The party starts in an hour.
What am I going to say as an excuse this time?
I type it in my phone.
I used that excuse last week.
My heart rate speeds up.
I can’t breathe.
All the possible things that could go wrong
Play through my head like a soundtrack.
What if they ask about why I always cancel?
What if I crash on the way there?
What if they don’t actually want me there?
Just inviting me to save face.
I’m on my way.
I convince myself it will be OK.
I listen to low music to try to distract the rapid wave of worry over taking me. I see the house.
All the cars are there.
I can’t walk in now,
Everyone will be watching me.
I pull over,
And take a deep breath.
After 10 minutes I convince myself to walk to the door.
I take as long as humanely possible.
What if they ask me about why I’m late?
What if they ask me about school?
What if they ask me what’s wrong?
What is wrong?
I replay the question in my head.
I don’t know.
I’m plagued by fear every day.
I’m overwhelmed by the thought of being around a lot of people.
I have to rehearse every possible conversation I may have,
Until I can say it into the mirror without hesitation.
What is wrong?
I’m convinced no one likes me.
I compare myself to everyone.
Why would someone want to be friends with me?
I did it again.
I turned around.
I’m in the car,
Exhausted by the fear and worry that consumed me.
But I feel relief.
I didn’t go.
I spend the rest of the night in my room.
Criticizing myself for everything.
“You can’t even go to party”
my brain taunts.
But I still feel relief.
Saving myself from another confrontation between social anxiety and myself.