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At a Birthday party

by Hayley
(U.S.A)

I was with five of my friends at Dave and Buster's for a birthday party. We were all eating and my friend's mother said we should take a picture. My chest immediately swelled up at the thought of it. I am extremely uncomfortable when people take pictures of me, and she always fought me about it whenever my friends would group up for a picture. I got really sweaty so I took off my jacket. As we got together to take the picture, my heart was racing faster and faster. I tried my best to smile, but probably failed. I had the sudden urge to cry hysterically. I turned my head away from my peers, just in case I started bawling. My hands were all clammy so I wiped them with a napkin. I felt a couple chills go down my spine, so I put the jacket back on. My friend next to me noticed my odd behavior and said, "What the hell is wrong with you?" I put my head in my hands and told her I was fine. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I started taking deep breaths, struggling for air. My friends exchanged looks at the table, like I was a freak. It made me feel really bad. Only the birthday girl knew about my anxiety and came to my side of the table. She whispered to me and asked me if I wanted to step out. I couldn't even answer her. Everyone else was looking at me. I felt like a freak. I shook my head, and she sat back down. The waiter came back with our picture, a little copy for each of us. I slid mine across the table, afraid to look at it. My friend's mother saw this, and gave it back to me. When I saw it, I felt as if everyone that was talking were talking about how bad I looked in the picture. My heart was beating much faster, hot and cold flashes coming and going. I felt as if I was going to throw up. I felt so bad and being treated like a freak didn't help either. Once the dessert came out, everyone's attention turned to that, so I felt safe. That one birthday party, that was supposed to be a fun experience, was one of the scariest moments of my life.

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