What you don’t see

I’m afraid.
I’m afraid of people.
Terrified by the way they besiege me,
Extending forward their lively limbs
Fingers moulding contours, I cannot understand
Because my mind is entirely focused
On the walls of this room-
The way they’re shutting upon me like a catacomb
This coffin is too small, too suffocating.

“Why are you doing this?”
I’m not frantically shouting at you, please carry on.
Let your lips morph into formless words, unheard,
Because my mind is entirely focused
On setting itself ablaze,
Building conjectures only to smoulder them the very next second,
Shooting riffs of piping pain through my temples-
Their impact- so strong, so agonizing.

“Please stop!”
I’m not frantically shouting at you over there-
Three metres away, glancing in my general direction,
Curling the corners of your mouth to unleash an exuberant uproar.
Because my mind is entirely focused
On intently weaving together all the “what ifs”
Into a dishevelled cloth, with an untold purpose.

You can see I’m perspiring more than usual,
What you can’t see is the fire within me savagely mushrooming,
The cloth thrusting itself out with a newfound purpose,
Mercilessly strangling me.

“Don’t say anything!”
Yes, I am shouting at you.
The words you utter- their crass cacophony,
Thumps wildly within my ears, repeatedly,
But their meaning nimbly glides away.
I’m sorry I haven’t replied yet,
Because my mind is entirely focused,
On engulfing me wholly.
You -the unforeseen catalyst, I- the explosive product,
Of this ruthless chemical reaction.

Please notice how I’m brawling endlessly,
To push against this tumultuous resistance.
My lips unfeignedly attempt to uncase my voice,
But I’m sorry. It’s happening all over again.
The air around me congeals.
This rigid enclosure refuses to melt its way through my lungs.
Meanwhile my mind remains entirely focused
On exacerbating the bedlam within it.

I watch the back of your head shrink in size.
The din of your footsteps gradually diminishes.
The fire snuffs out.
The cloth lithely slides away.
The thumping declines.
The air unfreezes and dances jovially.
I’m sorry I didn’t say anything.
I’m sorry you were bored.
But I can’t thank you enough for leaving.

IMG_20151211_103420I wrote this little piece of poetry in order to bring awareness to a mental disorder that’s very often looked over. Social anxiety isn’t about being “awkward” or “uncomfortable”. It’s about trying so hard to be able to face another human being to a point where you’re physically drained and you need to retch. It’s near impossible to overcome this “fear” because we have to face social situations everyday, we have to socialize. So this one’s for the socially anxious committee- you’re not alone!