This is your trusted psychiatrist writing to you with an announcement:
Unfortunately, I’ll be closing down my weekly support group for the socially anxious. My passion for helping patients fight their inner demons has not wavered, and my private sessions will carry on as usual. Sadly though, group sessions will no longer be available — mainly due to the fact that none of you were able to make it.
I must say, the reasons you came up with for not attending were quite clever and varied. It began with your run-of-the-mill excuses — viral infections, food poisoning, diarrhea. But then things got a bit more interesting.
First, there was Diego and his unfortunate run-in with a rare poisonous spider. Upon being questioned about the likelihood of such a thing happening in New York City, he astutely pointed out that “it happened to Spider-Man.”
Hard to argue with that.
Then there was that strange call from Lucy. Or should I say, her kidnappers? Using a voice changer, they explained to me that she would be unable to make it to Group that day and that she would be returned only upon its conclusion. I must admit, their complete lack of interest in collecting any sort of ransom had me skeptical.
After phone calls about diarrhea, spider bites, and kidnappers, I figured nothing else could surprise me. That is, until I received an unexpected text from beyond the grave. It was Leonard, one of my dearest patients, relaying the unfortunate news of his passing — apparently, he was run over by a taxi cab on his way to Group. He claims it was quick and painless, and added that the Wi-Fi in Heaven is “really, really good.”
If I didn’t know better, I might start to wonder if this group was cursed. It’s amazing what ingenuity you’re all capable of when avoiding the horrors of a group circle.
I can at least take solace in knowing that my office parking lot was consistently packed with vehicles before each session — although I do wish some of you had managed to enter the building. It’s clear many of you struggled with deciding whether to walk in or not — the constant opening and closing of car doors had my neighbors thoroughly confused, to say the least.
I also wanted to apologize to a few patients of mine, who would prefer to remain nameless.
To the person who was unfortunately arrested for loitering: I’m sorry. I tried to explain to the officers that you were merely weighing the potential risk for social rejection from a safe distance. I suppose the binoculars are what did you in.
Similar condolences to the African-American patient of mine who was pulled over by police while driving past my office. Clear evidence that racism is alive and well in this country — although, in the policeman’s defense, you did make 26 U-turns in a row.
To the brave soul who made it all the way to the front door, I salute you. You made it further than anyone else. And there’s no shame in hiding in that bush, although I did think you’d come out once your phone began to play ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’
Nice ringtone, by the way.
My hope is that as we make more progress in future sessions, we’ll get a chance to try this again. I know socializing can be difficult but I believe you are all capable of conquering your fears. See, we mustn’t give up. We must fight on. Life is but a battlefield and you are all soldiers. I’ll see you out there!
Edit: Apparently, some of you were spooked by the “out there” part. I was merely speaking metaphorically. We’ll still be meeting privately in my office, as usual.