This poem was inspired by Sabrina Benaim’s “Explaining My Depression to My Mother.”

all I had to do
was leave the car,

but my hands froze,
and my heart beat faster and faster
until terror rose above me
like a boat facing a threatening wave
until the wave capsized the boat,
and my breath stuck in my chest

and I said,

Mom, why can’t you understand
that socialization
is like entering a battlefield with a plastic sword,
knowing that I will lose
but charging anyway,
because I have no choice,
because people are everywhere

Mom, why can’t you understand
that this war doesn’t kill me,
but drives me further and further into a corner
where I accept the swords
with welcoming arms and a fake smile

Mom, why can’t you understand
that you are one of the soldiers

Mom, I am scared,
scared of the classroom,
scared of eye contact,
scared of the gym,
scared of my dorm room,
scared of my friends,
scared of my family

Mom, I am scared,
scared of people.

Mom, I want this nightmare to end.
except it is real,
except it only ends when I close my eyes.

Mom, I can’t.
I can’t get out of this car.

33 thoughts on “ Social Anxiety ”

  1. This is great! It explains so well that awful feeling of a rising panic attack when others have expectations which we’re too ill to meet. So many times I’ve sat in my car feeling this way before going in to work or even in to a shop for the grocery shop. Keep on keeping on! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You don’t need “to” in the first stanza.

    I like the simile you used for your reaction in the car.

    I love the metaphor of entering a battlefield with a plastic sword.

    I love the poem. ♥ Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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