Drowning in a Room Full of People

I feel like I'm suffocating. My heart is racing. My breathing is short. It's just a casual dinner gathering. 

social anxiety struggles

There's too many people in a confined space. People I don't know. It's loud to the point where I can't hear a word the person next to me is saying. Alone in a room full of people...cliche, but reality. 

I feel like I'm drowning. All I want to do is leave, but I can't.

"Are you okay? Do you want to step outside?" my friend asked.

Shit.

It's becoming visible. The anxiety is seeping out. The last thing I want to do is be a burden. I shook my head no because I didn't want to cause a scene. So I sat suffering in silence.

I can hear the jumble of chatter in the background, but I'm so overwhelmed I can't pick a conversation focus in on and join. I stare at the time. One minutes, two minutes, is it over yet? I tell myself to breathe, but I still feel trapped. 

I look around me. Everyone is smiling and laughing. Why can't I be like them? Normal.