The Social Anxiety Soldier

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
I’m finally done with the spring quarter of college. The fall quarter doesn’t even start till the middle of September. That means three months of staying home and doing whatever I want! Well, most of what I want. I won’t have homework to do so I can work on my crochet projects, read some books, do some writing. The best activity of all? Not talking to people. Yeah... Except for my mom, my boyfriend, and my dog, I won’t have to go outside. I think that’s the best part about summer. I’m not forced to, “turn to the person next to you and discuss the text”. UGH! Come on, all we have to do is discuss the text as a class. That way, if I want to say something I don’t have to look at any of the other students. OR, the teacher could just lecture the whole way through. Yeah, I’ll bring that up with the school next time I go down there! Wait... that means I have talk to people. Nope. Never mind.
So, it has begun. The summer. My anti-social summer. Glorious, really. Mom works most of the time so it’s just me and the dog. Most people would think I’d be kind of lonely but it’s calming being by myself. I talk to Joe, my boyfriend, through text most of the day. When he’s busy at work and mom is at work, I’m alone to my own thoughts. It’s nice. Gives me some practice of being “on my own”. I’ll get up around 7 in the morning. Make my coffee. Feed the dog. Eat some breakfast while watching a little bit of TV. I start crocheting once I’m all done with my food. I make sure that the house is as clean as it can be before mom gets home from work. We can eat dinner and watch TV. Once we go to bed, we start the same routine the next day.
Summer has been so nice. Really feeling like I’ve connected with myself again. Feels good to have my mind back. It’s calm. During school, my brain always went 100 miles an hour. It would think about this and that. But now that I’m home I don’t have to worry so much. My mom and my boyfriend tell me that they are concerned though because I don’t go outside or bother to get properly dressed. But, what’s the point? I’m not talking to anyone but them. Why does It matter?
I saw a therapist. My mom suggested it. I knew she wasn’t wrong. I just didn’t want to go. Counseling meant: telling a complete stranger who doesn’t know a thing about me all about my issues. Fun. The first session was fine. I actually thought that the lady might be able to help me. I started doing some activities she suggested. They weren’t awful, but I didn’t feel like they were totally working. A few weeks later, I go in for a second session. “I don’t like going outside to talk to people”, I explain to her like I had in the first one. Fidgeting with her fingers, not making eye contact she asks, “Why?”.
That’s why I was there wasn’t it? So, she could tell me what was wrong with me? I don’t understand why I do the things I do. I don’t know why my brain acts like this. She didn’t care. I thought she did, but she didn’t. My brain shot to a hundred mph again. She thinks I’m stupid. Ridiculous. Pathetic. Dramatic.
“You have to go outside.”
It echoes in my head sometimes. How was that helpful?
I stopped going. Which was great. I moved on.
It’s that time of the year again. School. How? How can the summer go by so quickly? I mean, I just finished the last semester like.... three months ago! No, it’s okay. I already got my schedule done. Two classes on campus and two online. The two on campus classes are one right after the other. I just have to sit at school for four hours and then make my way home. Not hard right? No. Of course not. It’s just people.
But. I do have to start driving again. 34.7 miles. No, not a lot. But it’s through a pass. Which means that I could be stuck in traffic for hours and have to use the bathroom then be late for my first class. If I’m late for my first class everyone will see me walk in. That’s happened before. Back to school means that I have talk to people, see other people, walk around other people, drive back and forth, get dressed every day, make sure I have enough food, be away from my dog for hours. No. Yeah. I can’t do that. I just don’t want to, but I have to. How can I have to?
It’s the first day of school. I can do this. I got dressed this morning. I survived the drive. I’m not going to be late for class. I’ll turn on my headphones and just walk to class. Okay. Cool. No one in the hallway. I’m even here early. I’ll just sit down here for a while.
More people. No, it’s good. I was expecting this, anyways right? All the classes start at the same time. I can’t help that. It’s getting closer to the start of class. I’ll just stand up. Is it hot? I’m super-hot right now and I’m just wearing shorts. I feel like I’m going to puke. I can’t breathe. Feels like I’m going to faint. My heart hurts. Am I shaking? Why am I shaking? I don’t want to do this. I can’t do this. How can ten minutes last so long? I got to make sure I’m the first one in the class, so I can secure the closest seat to the door. Now the class before mine is leaving. Finally. Okay. Any more people? No? Go. Go. Go. Okay. Good. Yeah, okay I feel a little better. Teacher is here now. He’s talking. I’m okay. I’m going to be okay. I just have to sit here and listen for the rest of the day.
I’m home now. First day of school is over. Laying with my dog again, I feel better. I could have totally collapsed today but I didn’t. I didn’t. I’m okay. I made it. For the next eleven weeks I just have to tell myself that with every day I go I will get better. I conquer it, not one mountain at a time but one day at a time.