Today I was completely floored by my sociophobia for the first time in a long time. I was supposed to help with a lot of work in our garden, removing trees and bushes. I had gotten myself dressed in proper clothes, knew that my grandfather was there helping out, and walked down the stairs – everything good at this point – through the kitchen and out to our entré, where I was to find my shoes, and then I looked out the window. That’s when it hit me. I didn’t see my grandfather. I saw my mother’s man, and a lot of strangers working. Finding my shoes was no longer a priority. I had enough trouble just catching my breath. Was I supposed to work with all these strangers? Why hadn’t anyone briefed me? What were they doing here? Were they really working? Could I be safe out there? Where was my grandfather? Did they see me? Can I turn around?
I could, and I did. As in a trance I went back up to my room. Closed the door behind me and looked at the wall. Just stood there staring. And shaking. I knew what was happening. I knew pretty quickly that it was silly of me to react in this way, that this was just my sociophobia playing a trick on me, but no matter what I told myself, I couldn’t let go of the fear in me. The fear that something terrible could happen if I walked out to them. That something terrible WOULD happen. Physical hard work has never been my greatest strength – would they even want me out there? Wouldn’t I just create problems, slow them down? Wouldn’t they all wish I would just go back inside?
I couldn’t let go of these thoughts. And I still just stood there staring. My breathing was slowly becoming normal, but I was still more or less paralyzed. As I said, this was the first time in a long time that I’ve felt it this much. Normally I have it in smaller doses whenever I’m in situations where I’m afraid that people I don’t feel comfortable around have some kind of expectation to my behaviour, and I have learnt to deal with that. Learnt that it’s really not that bad, that I don’t need to over think those situations, but just find somewhere else where I can relax. But this came so unexpected, so violently. It has made me fear that it is coming back. That this is something that will happen again, which is silly based on just one instant. But still I convince myself that there is some sense in this fear.
I finally calmed down, picked up my guitar and distanced myself from the world outside. When my mother came home, I told her what had happened. She didn’t quite understand or take it seriously, and I can’t blame her. We haven’t talked about it before. It was always just something I expected a mom to know about her son. Maybe she has known it, but just didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary strangers-stay-away attitude that most people have. I think my sister knows about it, at least a bit. She automatically takes the role as the person who asks questions if we have to ask someone in a store or just a stranger in a strange place. She used to expect me to do it, but it seems she has realized I have a real problem with those kinds of things.
I know I have to work on it. Heck, I’m trying to work on it every day. It’s a difficult thing to carry around, even though many people have it in varying degrees. It’s probably more common than real love. It just… it feels like such a setback when you come across a situation that really takes its toll on you. I didn’t think I was this easy a target anymore. I really hope it was the first and only time it will be this bad.