You People Terrify Me

Hi, my name’s Ellie,
I have social anxiety
and you people fucking terrify me.

But it’s 2023,
time for an improved me.
This year I’ll face the fear,
or so I keep whispering in my own ear:
you can do it,
be brave,
they’re only human,
you’re only human,
you’re not that swamp-dwelling monster
in your mind’s eye,
you have a face and a brain like them,
the mirror does not lie.

So here I am,
rambling before strangers,
hoping, praying, begging for acceptance,
fear’s hand tugging at strings that lift
my shoulders up to my ears,
and fear’s foot stomping at a pedal
that accelerates my heartbeat.

I can endure fear’s brute pressure
in the here and now,
I can act,
pretend my way to nearly normal,
but it isn’t just this present moment that’s a problem.
It is before.
It is after.
It is dread sitting heavy in my belly
in the weeks, days, hours before a social event.
It is shame clinging sticky to my skin
in the hours, days, weeks after.

What if I do something daft,
say something to hurt?
What if I did something stupid,
said something cruel?
This fear of you is a fear of me,
fear I’m repulsive,
fear I have myself all wrong,
fear I allow myself to take up breath that I don’t deserve.

And this fear infiltrates my whole world,
inhibits work,
drives poverty,
erodes friendship,
pulls black cloud
over everything
until I fantasise of leaping
into the River Humber
to escape it.

This is no way to be,
no way to go on.

I have had enough.

So I’m here.


Brink of tears.

In agony
enduring this fear
to prove to myself
that I can stand before strangers
and not die.

And maybe in doing so
I’ll learn how to live.

6 responses to “You People Terrify Me”

  1. Brittany avatar

    What a great post, sending you so much encouragement. My partner has social anxiety and it was a new world for me trying to help him become more comfortable. He has come so far in the last year, and I hope you can find some peace around others too.

    1. Ellie Scott avatar

      Thank you! That’s great to hear things have improved for your partner, it gives me hope!

  2. Michael avatar

    Tried to watch but kept laughing at the ‘subscribe dog’ button. Will try again…

    1. Ellie Scott avatar

      Oh jeez I forgot about that… sort of takes the edge off my emotionally fraught poetry haha

  3. Chris Hall avatar

    Anxious… 🙄I am.

    1. Ellie Scott avatar

      Aw Chris 😔 I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. I know it may not necessarily help at all but you’re a fantastic writer and a kind, warm, welcoming presence in the wordpress community. No pressure at all, but I have a feeling lots and lots of people would love to see you posting again if you felt up to it ❤

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