I knew it was going to make me sick. With every sip I thought about my health and the following day. The risk didn’t outweigh the torment of the social anxiety I would feel turning up to a house party full of Strangers for pre-drinks. I drank so I could become someone else. Someone who wasn’t scared of people, and who felt different. When I’m around new people, particularly in an intimate setting like an apartment, I feel completely and utterly out of my comfort zone. I think I’m worthless and ugly, and I imagine that people will wonder why I’m even there. I try harder to seem polite, in fear of people thinking I’m arrogant, and I work harder in conversation to try and seem more interesting. Drink loosens this whole process up a bit. It makes it not feel as difficult. I think they’ll prefer the drunk me rather than the sober me full to the brim with anxiety. I never had huge groups of friends growing up. Always just one or two. At each school i was at it was just one person I could connect with. I would give them all my energy, and then I was safe. This has followed me through life, and I find big groups of people very overwhelming and difficult to navigate. I hide into my shell, and feel insanely self conscious and unworthy. Even being around people in a group of more than 3 or 4 gives me enough anxiety to send me into a depressive episode. I don’t feel good enough, and I tell myself that I’d have been better off staying at home and hiding. I try my hardest to overcome it. Living in foreign cities you have to, just to make friends, but I know within that group there’s someone there who doesn’t warm to me, and that feeling overweighs everything, and I just want out. This is why I end up battling with loneliness as a friend, and an enemy. Sometimes it saves me from the horrible situations of being stuck in a room full of people who I practically feel phobic of, other times it locks me away, alone, and makes me feel unloveable. Either way, each scenario makes me feel unloveable. It’s sad. From my first day of school, holding onto my mother’s leg, begging her not to let me go and put me amongst the other kids, to today, my brain, begging me not to leave the house to meet new people. It hurts. It’s inescapable. It’s unbearable. This is why I find my escape through art, and photography, and social media. It’s a way to connect to people, while staying in my comfort zone. I don’t want every day to feel like I’m queuing up for a ride at a theme park. I want my life to be easy, and I haven’t yet deciphered out how to mange that yet.