I’m Afraid of the People and Not the Disease
As I lay awake in bed, I can see the sun glistening through the windows. It’s morning and another day has begun. “It’s time Johnny,” the voices in my head grow louder. I cringe at the thought of enduring the same misery over and over again. I want to stay in my room, I feel safe here.
“There’s a whole world out there,” says one voice.
“The world isn’t safe!” says the other.
My whole life I’ve listened to these voices battling in my head. I’ve never fully understood what they say most of the time and I find it frustrating to decide which one to follow. Social phobia is a mess but it’s the people I’m afraid of and not the disease.
Sighing once more, I leap out of bed to go to college, my assignment needs to be submitted on time.
Walking briskly through the great halls of the college, I am overwhelmed by the same unwelcome feeling I get every day. I avoid looking at the students passing by me. “Good, don’t look them in the eye, they hate you,” the voice rambled. “Just a few more minutes,” I mumbled to myself. I hurry towards class and to my usual seat at the back of class. I can sit there all day, next to the window. That way I’m able to keep myself occupied, staring outside the window into the gardens, minding my own business. As I approach my seat, I realize it has been taken by another student. I freeze when I see him, staring. He turns to me asking if I needed anything. “My seat dammit!” I think to myself. I resist answering him, turn around and look for another one. The back benches had been occupied quickly. I kept looking until the only seat I could find was right in the middle.
“No not this one, everyone can see you here!”
“Calm down, relax”
All my fears had come true
The voices had started echoing again. Mr. Jackson had just stepped into the class, leaving me with no other option. I took the seat. He saw me. “Young man, are you new?” he asked me. I looked up from my notes. I was confused. Of course he did not know me, for him I was never here. I wanted to go back to my happy place. He asked once again, louder this time and I knew I had to get up. My heart raced as I rose from my place, reluctantly. Unable to speak, I shook my head. “Well introduce yourself then,” he demanded. “Oh God,” it seemed like a nightmare. All my fears had come true. The whole class looked at me. It seemed like time had stopped and the world stood still and here was I, a boy in despair.
“I uh….I’m…I’m Joh Joh,” I stuttered at every word. Everyone’s eyes were on me. I was trapped. “Cat got your tongue?” someone called out from the back and the whole class broke into laughter. Perspiration dropped from my forehead as I tried to keep calm but it was difficult with all these people staring and laughing at me. I tried to speak again but failed and they laughed again. I wanted to run away. I wanted to be left alone. “Run Johnny, they’ll kill you.” It was the voice again, my sole companion. I took my bag and left the classroom in silence. Mr. Jackson called out to me but I ignored him. Walking briskly I kept thinking of what everyone must be thinking of me. They must be thinking of how stupid I am. I made a fool of myself. I felt nauseous. I looked in my bag for my medication only to find that I was all out. Great. It was a bad, bad day. I wished the earth would just swallow me up right now. I shouldn’t have left my dorm in the first place. I’m better off alone. The voice was right, the world is not safe, the people in it are not safe. They make me feel like an outcast.
Social phobia has taken the best of me but I fear to seek help. If the people hate me now, what will they think of me when they find out about my condition? I’ll be an outcast for life. I must keep it secret, I must hide. I’m afraid of the people and not the disease.