A hidden, menacing creature sticks its many-layered tentacles through sinew and tissue and bones and blood, gripping fast without warning, without reason, without caring about the outcome: the racing heart and palpitations, the hot red cheeks, the stress sweat oozing from places that shouldn’t sweat…
Social Anxiety Disorder is real. It’s vivid. It’s more widespread than most of us have any idea. And it’s terrifying and confusing. It’s severely misunderstood, even by those who suffer through it every day of their lives.
There is hope, though. As most things, it can be managed.
First, it has to be unhidden.
He stepped closer. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“Too much to possibly... I don’t have near enough words, or the right words, to possibly explain... Eli, I...” She touched his face. And she tried to speak but faltered.
“Yeah. Me too.”
Her expression changed to add curiosity.
“Del, I have never in my life even half thought I’d remotely consider leaving home, for good, that I could leave my family. Never. For anyone. And I still...”
“You don’t plan to.”
“No, but... I don’t know. Would you?”
“Maybe. If it ever came to that. It would have to be worth it, though. Moving... I have trouble just packing for weekend trips. It would be hard...”
“On your nerves.”
She nodded, searching his eyes for his reaction.
Eli lowered his face, brushed his nose against hers, lingered, taking her in, letting her decide... And she closed the distance, teasing his lips for what felt like the longest time with a soft hand on his chest, again under his jacket, under his flannel shirt. After a long soft kiss, he moved his lips to her ear. I would sure as hell try to make it worth it for you. He didn’t say it aloud. Too soon. She was still too skittish. But too soon or not, he wanted to take her home. “So, do you know how to cast?”
“Of course. And I think whoever catches the biggest fish should make the other one clean them all.”
“You know how to gut and clean fish? Thought you were only in the rescuing business.”
“Rescue can mean a lot of things, Forrester.” She gave him a grin and strutted over to claim one of the poles. “All the things I know how to do might surprise you. One benefit of not wanting to ask others for help. You just learn to do it yourself. I’m good at a lot of things.”
[Excerpt from Shadowed Lights, coming February 2014 –unedited excerpt, do not copy]
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Dealing with someone with social anxiety disorder can be rough, since it is hard for anyone to understand. It takes a special person…
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