Scopophobia is the fear of being looked at or watched, but more specifically, in my case, the fear of being the center of attention. Circumstances vary from being on stage to taking on the phone about yourself.

I get bad anxiety when:

  • I’m talking to people on the phone.
  • Explain my feelings to someone.
  • Talking to people.
  • Showing up somewhere unannounced.
  • Showing up late.
  • Showing up too early.
  • Interviewing for a job.
  • Meeting someone somewhere–as in “I’ll meet you in the O.K. Corral at high noon.”
  • Changing my routine social interactions–ie greeting people I don’t normally greet.
  • Asking someone to go out–on a date or otherwise.
  • Requesting intimacy.
  • Performing for people–ie karaoke.
  • Talking about myself.
  • Offering condolences and/or congratulations.
  • Offering praise and/or criticism.
  • Being in a waiting room with one unknown person who’s also there alone.
  • Sharing an elevator or other conveyance.
  • Going to the movies alone.
  • Changing my routine such that people notice.
  • Asking for help.
  • Being helpless.
  • Offering help.
  • Being put on the spot.
  • Being spontaneous such that people notice.
  • Looking for a product in a retail store or supermarket such that people notice.
  • Waiting in line.
  • Sitting in the audience where there is audience participation–ie “The Price is Right” or “Whose Line is it, Anyway?”
  • Being in a group meeting where participation is expected.
  • I’m at a party.

I get around it by escaping into my phone–games, Facebook, whatever. If I can’t or feel like I can’t escape, I start to panic. Unavoidable things amplify my anxiety–like if a teacher calls my name during a lecture. I prefer being a wallflower at parties, if I go at all, because to be otherwise scares me.

On November 13th, 2014, I asked a girl who I thought was a friend out on a date and got completely ignored as if I were nothing to her. The feelings I had for her have since turned. There isn’t an adjective adequate enough to describe the anger and raw hatred I now have in my heart for her. But the worst part is that now I’m questioning every friendship I have. Am I just Mark’s former student or am I actually a friend to these people? Of course I know I am a friend and not some random stranger who followed Mark, but the feeling is still there – nagging me – sucking the life from my already damaged heart.

You wake up every day. You don’t bother getting dressed because you aren’t going anywhere so who cares what you look like. You go to work when it’s time then you go back home. You play games and watch cartoons all day long because that’s what you know. You’re so afraid of the unknown that you won’t go out, you won’t call people, you won’t go buy groceries, you won’t go some place you’re not expected, and you especially won’t ask that cute girl you know out.

Every day you ask yourself, “what is wrong with me?” And the answer is always, “I don’t know.”

You tell yourself, “tomorrow I’m going to tell her I like her.” When tomorrow comes, all you can think about is that you’ll just freak her out or she’ll think you’re a creep. You know she won’t, so what are you really afraid of? Are you afraid she’ll do what the last girl did – step over your query like one steps over a piece of trash on the street, avoid you, and never speak to you again or are you afraid she’ll say she likes you too and you’ll have to go on dates and be social… in public… where you can feel everybody’s eyes staring at you, judging you? Yes, to both, but what scares you the most is that you you’ll give her everything you’re physically and mentally capable of and it might not be enough.

You have social anxiety – the brick wall that surrounds your comfort zone. On top of that, you have two separate yet linked debilitating medical conditions that leave you drained. These things make you depressed, so while you’re home playing games and watching cartoons, you wallow in your own self-pity and lament on Facebook about the things that could have been.

I’m still trying to articulate this hurt inside.

Say you’re a lion tamer. You have one lion named Rusty. You’ve had him for ten years. You’re confident that Rusty won’t hurt you too badly. So you get in the cage with him and he takes a swipe at you – he got you pretty bad, too – and escapes never to be heard from again. Now you’re trust in Rusty has been broken. Not only can you never trust him again, but you also have a hard time trusting any other lions.

I summoned all the self-confidence I could muster and asked you out thinking the worst I would get was “no”, but what I got was far worse than anything I could imagine. You blew me off like I was some creepy stalker on Facebook cruising for chicks then avoided me like I was some diseased rat. I didn’t even get any condolences for the loss of my sweet Dingus. I thought we were friends – how wrong I was. You don’t have to date me – you don’t even have to like me, but you could at least respect me. I felt worse than rejected – I felt betrayed – I felt like we were doing the trust-fall exercise and you just walked away at the critical moment and let me fall. You destroyed every bit of self-confidence and self-esteem I once had. All I feel now is pain, self-doubt, anger, and hatred. Normally, I can let things go, but I can’t seem to shake these hateful feelings I have toward you. There is no forgive. There is no forget. There is only hate. I hope there is a Hell so you can burn in it.

Sit on Bed

I don’t want to watch TV.
I don’t want to watch movies.
I don’t want to play games.
I don’t want to listen to music.
I just want to sit on my bed and watch the DirecTV logo bounce around the TV screen.

Sick and Alone

I’ve been sick since I was 17. I’m 37 now. It’s progressed from tolerable to now I can’t work because exertion and stress make me nauseous, dizzy, and light headed and may even make my liver bleed.

I haven’t the energy to do anything.
I can’t maintain a relationship.
I can’t even express my feelings.
I am alone.
I am depressed.
I feel empty inside.
I want to be happy.
I want to be in love.
I want to live.

I feel like I’m trapped in a twisted nightmare of pain and sorrow from which there is no escape.

Life passes me by while I struggle to keep up, but I’m falling behind.

I’m tired and afraid.
I’m fighting and losing.

Emotionally Drained

Frank was curious why Paul, the band leader (at least that’s how Frank sees him), wasn’t showing up to band practice anymore. Seems Cindy treats him like shit.

One day, Frank went to his weekly band practice knowing that Alex had already left the band and was moving out that day. Frank showed up early, like he always does, to find Deedee crying. Apparently Alex took the PlayStation that was a gift for Charlie and left an awful mess in the bathroom. Being empathic, Frank absorbs the emotional energy in the room. He literally felt for them which left him emotionally drained. He would probably have emotionally died had Charlie been there. Luckily, he was with his uncle across town.

Some time later, Frank showed up at practice at the usual time, early, to find Mary already there. Occasionally, Tommy or Mary will get there before he does, so he didn’t think anything of it. Mary was hoping Rick would show up, but she had to leave early saying she had to leave before Cindy got there. Frank was puzzled. Then Cindy showed up. She was visibly upset. At one point, she started bawling ran outside. Rick, Deedee, and Leo were worried that she might do something she could never undo. She eventually came back in, but she was in a very dark place – she was having marital issues with her wife, Mary, which explains why she left early. Witnessing this and sucking up all that negative energy left Frank emotionally drained and ill.

A couple weeks after that, Cindy went to Fresno with Tommy for the weekend, so Mary came to practice. She was ok at first until she started talking about her puppies which made her visibly upset and she started crying. Mary was also in a dark place, but not nearly as dark as Cindy’s. These events also left Frank emotionally drained.

Occasionally, the band would forgo practice and go see a movie. Since Cindy didn’t like going out to movies, Mary usually joined them. Frank felt like the band was hiding from Cindy – which they were – and he isn’t fond of going out to movies either, so he felt like he was going to lose the band because of Cindy. This left Frank emotionally drained.

Another couple weeks later, the band went out to another movie where he saw Mary in a completely different light. She seemed happy for the first time ever. This made Frank feel good and left him emotionally charged.

Frank found out from Rick that Cindy had told Mary she was no longer welcome at band practice. This hurt Frank deeply and left him pissed off and emotionally drained – he had developed feelings for Mary. He told this to Rick, for whatever fool reason, how he felt and that he could never tell her as he would only end up hurting her. Rick then informed him that she’s happy because she has a boyfriend, Rick himself. The concept of a three-way relationship hadn’t even occurred to him, but he probably should have realized it before – Rick, Deedee, and Mary sitting on the couch together while they watched 12 Monkeys in the band room. At any rate, this made Frank feel good. Seeing Mary happy is only thing that mattered. Frank again felt emotionally charged.

Then there’s Sally. Sally’s cute, sweet, nice, happy, funny, and smart, and she likes cute furry animals and Futurama. One day she commented on one of her posts that Frank “is cool”. This caused a supercharged emotional overload inside Frank. He couldn’t stop thinking about her, but for the same reason he can’t tell Mary how he feels about her, he can’t tell Sally how he feels, either. This is triggering Frank’s depression and is leaving him emotionally drained. At least he knows he isn’t numb and can still feel.

On May 12th, 2013, I decided to show my friends how much I appreciate them by hosting a party at my house. I’m a very private person and this was the first time I had ever invited, planned, and hosted my own party. I posted the event, got some Declines from people who had prior engagements, a few Maybes, and a couple Accepts, so I think that even if only one person shows up, it’ll be totally worth it.

I start buying supplies (rum, forks, paper towels, cups, plates, char coal, fruit). Given my medical conditions, I can’t do much physically, but I did what I could to try to make it the best party within my ability.

I post to the event a few times indicating my progress with purchased stuff. Besides those who already declined, I have yet to receive any indication that people won’t be attending.

The big day comes. I finish making the fruit salad and setup the tables around 1:00 PM and I wait… and I wait… and I wait… growing more impatient as the time goes on. Thank God my sister and her family were there or I would have probably gone crazy.

8:40 PM: I post asking where anybody is. Nearly an hour and a half later (9:55 PM), I get a reply from one of the “guests”. Apparently, falling asleep on the couch after doing yard-work means you can’t attend a party that has no definitive ending time.

~10:00 PM: I decide to call it. Nobody’s fucking coming! I go places I’m not comfortable going, if I can, for them and they don’t even have the respect for me to tell me they can’t / won’t be attending?! That’s fucked up! My self-esteem is low enough without people stepping on it. I let down my guard and exposed my soft underbelly only to get kicked.

Now, I am conflicted. Do I continue meeting with them every week for games and pretend this never happened?

I’m not angry towards any of those who I already knew wouldn’t come, predeclined, or messaged me their regrets. I’m just angry toward the group in general.