Syafitri Athaya Oktari/180410150053
She didn’t think that it would help her.
She was about to sleep when she suddenly remember that she used a similar-to-Omegle app once. People would probably make fun of her when they know that she used that app to talk to strangers about the problems she was having. She didn’t intend to do that at first, but she really needed someone to talk to about something because her parents thought that she was exaggerating so they didn’t say much. Bu she wasn’t. That’s why she did it and hasn’t told anyone about it.
You see, Aila had always been struggling with socializing since she was little. She didn’t, still doesn’t, have the courage to talk to someone first. That’s why she spent her lunch break alone at school and went back home alone. She was the person who would join any group that lack member whenever there was a group project. That hadn’t changed even when she entered middle school and stayed that way when she entered high school. But she never felt lonely. Being alone was fine for her.
Well, at least, until she was faced with a problem she never had before.
It all started when she was hospitalized because of typhus. In the room she was hospitalized in, there were 3 people. One of them was an elder who had stroke and a heart attack. Not that she meant to, but she heard that he had done a surgery a couple months ago in order to get better but nothing much happened ever since that, even according to the doctor who regularly checked up on him, his laboratory result came out fine. At midnight, he would often scream loudly or shiver for some unknown reasons then the nurse would come and handle him. He also threw up a lot. He was like that for a couple days. One morning she woke up only to find the bed empty. One of the nurses said the elder had passed away from another heart attack.
She got back from the hospital feeling really well but the next day she had a headache, her stomach hurt and she felt nauseous. She would feel full quickly even when she hasn’t finished her food. It kept going for days even after she took medicine, so she went to see the doctor. The doctor said that there was a problem with digestion system then she was forbidden from eating spicy and sour foods, and was given medicines to take. So she changed her eating habits, started eating healthily, and took the medicines the doctor gave her.
However, the only things that’s gone was her headache.
It had been 2 weeks yet she still felt nauseous and her stomach still hurt. Not only she started being worried, her parents were worried too. So her parents took her to see an internist. Her internist said that she had gastritis so she was given more medicine to take and told to come back 10 days later. But even after 10 days, her stomach was still hurt. Curious and worried at the same time, her parents to another hospital to see a gastroenterologist. The doctor even did an ultrasound to her. Again, everything came out fine. She was physically fine.
But then he asked her, “Have you been stressing out about something?”
“Not exactly, no… Why?” she asked
“You see, from what I see based on your ultrasound result, everything looks fine and since you said that you’ve been eating healthily, the reason why your stomach has been hurting is probably because you’re stressed about something so you couldn’t feel calm, or perhaps you are overthinking so it stressed you out.”
She kept repeating the question the gastroenterologist asked her. Was she stressing out about something? She didn’t think so. There was nothing in particular that disturb her mind. Well, not exactly nothing. She had college tasks to do and her exams were about to come. But they didn’t stress her out. So… what’s wrong with her?
“I’m not going to give you any more medicines since I don’t think it is necessary. Just take the current ones you have, don’t forget to work out, and don’t be stressed.”
She felt a lot better since she talked to the gastroenterologist, though her stomach still hurt at least she knew that there was nothing wrong with her. Truth was she had been panicking about her stomach being hurt even weeks after she had taken all the medicines the doctors gave to her. She didn’t like it when she was panicking because she couldn’t think straight and she could feel her heart beat faster than usual. She read it somewhere that we have to be careful when our heart’s rhythms are abnormal because it’s one of the symptoms of a heart attack. She had been scared of heart attack because heart attack killed the elder next to her at the hospital. Every time her heart beats faster than usual she would ask herself whether she had a heart attack or—
It was all obvious.
It was quite dangerous for her to think that way. People’s mind works quite powerfully, you know? No wonder she hadn’t been able to sleep these past few weeks. She’d sleep for one or one and a half hours only to stay awake until morning. Perhaps she wasn’t overthinking. It was totally normal for her to worry that something unexpected might happen. A heart attack, for example.
Who was she kidding? She was scared that it would happen to her all of sudden.
But these days, it wasn’t heart attack that scared her. The little things like a headache or a bruise worried her sometimes. The point is she was afraid of being sick. It worried her so much she even asked herself, “Am I really okay? Why do I have a feeling that I’m not?” right after she got back from the hospital. Since it was dangerous to keep thinking that there was something wrong with her even after being told that there wasn’t, she had to find a way to overcome her fear of being sick.
She tried some things she liked to distract herself from having negative thoughts about herself, such as watching anime and TV series, reading Japanese comics, she even went as far as learning Japanese. They did distract her but only until she finished doing them all. When she was about to sleep is another thing. She still couldn’t sleep for five or six hours, she would wake up at two am then stay awake until six am. She didn’t want to tell her parents about what happened to her but she realized that she needed someone to talk to, so she decided to tell her mother everything.
“Aila, you’re not sick. You heard it yourself from the doctor that you’re okay. Why are you suddenly afraid that you’re sick?” asked Aila’s mom.
“I know that, and I have been trying to convince myself that I’m fine. I tried not to think about it but I didn’t go well. That’s why I think I should talk to someone and you know you’re the only person I’d talk to about my problems.” said Aila.
“If I were you, I’d distract myself. Try doing that anime or TV series marathon you usually do.”
“Done that. Didn’t work.”
“Read the comics or novels you haven’t finished reading.”
“Tried that, also didn’t work.”
“Also did that, actually gets worse because when I had just finished, I was afraid that my heart’s rhythms wouldn’t go back to normal.”
“And you’re not helping me right now.”
“Look, you’re an adult already. It’s not that I don’t want to help you, but I’m also confused about how to face this kind of thing. Also, there will be a time where I’m not gonna be able to help you out. Why don’t you try talk to a psychologist or something? In fact, I think it’s time for you to start socializing. You’ll need help from someone else eventually” suggested Aila’s mom
“I’ve been handling things just fine on my own.”
“How about this one?”
Aila went silent. “I just never had this kind of problem, that’s all.”
“Why are you so stubborn?” asked Aila’s mom, annoyed. “Look, socializing isn’t as bad as you think. Which one is scarier, a heart attack or socializing?”
“Alright, mom. Alright.” Not wanting to be a burden on her parents, she made an appointment with a psychologist from her campus for next week.
After years of avoiding people, this time, she would actually try to socialize like her mother told her to and she had figured out how. She had found a way that she could try, she found it in a comic book she read. The main character in the comic talked to someone he barely know about the problem he’s having because he felt more comfortable that way for some reasons. He wasn’t worried that it would be a burden for someone else because they don’t know him, and vice versa. Call her weird, dumb, or anything else for believing that it could also work with her, but there was nothing wrong with giving it a try… right?
She didn’t really know anyone (more like she had no one) that she could talk to first without them finding her weird, so she started with a similar-to-Omegle website that allowed her to talk to strangers. Not exactly the best option because she sounded even dumber than before, that’s why she would never ever tell anyone about this. Not even her mother. She would totally judge her for doing something weird like this.
After hours of using it, she was staring to lose hope. Some guys she met were either asking for her nude pictures or dirty talk with her and neither of the girls wanted to talk to her. It wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be. Right before she was about to give up, one of the weirdest display names she had seen, which was Skeedosh, popped on her laptop screen. According to his profile, the guy was around her age and wasn’t really looking for anything specific. He just wanted to talk.
Exactly what she had been searching for.
So she braced herself to say hi first and the guy responded quite well. They talked a bit until she started talking about her current personal matters.
“Socializing here is easy, all you have to do is type. Speaking is another story. So, dude, this won’t help you” said Skeedosh.
“But people in my class will probably find me weird if I talk to them out of the blue”
“You haven’t even tried. Look, people here are all fake. None of them care about your personal matters or anything. They’re here to have some fun, not to help you find solutions to your problem.”
“I don’t know a single thing about how to start a conversation.”
“That’s what Google are for. I don’t know either, I’ve never had a problem with talking to new people.”
She thought he was done talking and she didn’t have anything else to say either so she went silent until her screen lit up again.
“I don’t usually do this but do you have something that you enjoy doing?”
“Duh. Why is that?”
“Join a community where the people have the same interest with you. Reach them through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or anything. When there’s a get-together event, try to attend that. Trust me when I say that talking to people whose interests are similar to you is a lot easier than strangers here.”
So she did what Skeedosh told her to. She looked for a community whose interests match hers and she found it. She talked to some people through Instagram and they invited her to join in their group discussion. It was her first interaction with someone else besides her parents and turned out it was fun. Even at the get-together event, when she had just arrived, she was approached by some people whose faces she had never seen but pretty sure she talked to them once. They were like, “You’re Aila, aren’t you?”, “This is your first get-together event, right?”, and “Hi, Aila! I’m the person you talked to on Line last night”. The people she talked to were really nice and kind they successfully erased her nervousness.
After that get-together event, she managed to have a couple friends. Their conversation usually started with them talking about their interests and ended up with them talking about their crush or crying their eyes out whenever one of them have a problem they couldn’t handle themselves. Aila, at last, had someone to talk to and to help her to distract herself from negative thoughts.
In case you’re curious, the community that Aila joined in was a community whose people like to watch Anime and read Manga. To Aila’s surprise, Skeedosh was in it, and his real name is Alfi. She didn’t know whether she should feel grateful for his help or feel embarrassed that she met him. When he found out that it was her, he didn’t stop making fun of her for a whole year. She wanted to protest but she ended up letting him do whatever he wanted to do. She gotta admit that Skeedosh—uh, no, Alfi, deserves a little more credits than she intended to give because he helped her become who she is right now. She is forever grateful of him.
Oh, and Aila’s problem of fear of being sick were solved by the help of the psychologist whom she had a couple appointments with at that time. Alfi and her friends from the community has nothing to with this. But at least it leads her to someone Alfi, whose help means a lot to her, and whose last name is now also hers because apparently he’s the only person who knows her “most embarrassing thing she has ever done” and he doesn’t want anyone else find out and make her even more embarrassed of herself.
Ha. Real smooth.
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