So this morning I had a panic attack. It’s been awhile and I’ll be honest, I didn’t really miss them. In fact, for a brief second I thought “it’s fine, I got this.”
Let me set the stage. It’s an early meeting where the hosts didn’t put the location directions on the website, so I was a little discombobulated this morning already, but, OK, I got the directions and you’d think everything would be OK.
Just being flustered a bit from that probably started pushing me towards the edge. I should tell you here that, if you don’t know, my anxiety can get ramped up in certain social situations. Like a morning networking breakfast and presentation. I don’t like small talk. I don’t like listening to it, I don’t like making it. So of course this the type of event that begins with nothing but small talk and introductions. It’s the worst. Because it’s small talk I often have a hard time caring (sorry, I do, that’s me). But then I worry that I can’t fake it very well, so I overcompensate. Then I worry about overcompensating. Ohmygodwhatisthispersonsname? Then I feel the sweat. Then my throat begins to close up.
I make an excuse and step into the lobby/coat area. Deep breaths. It will be fine.
It’s hot in here. I’m struggling. I can feel the sweat on my brow and a bead of it running down my back (gross! I know, sorry). OK, OK, OK, step outside. It’s cool this morning, take a few minutes there and then head back in.
Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter! Now people outside are wondering about this guy standing there outside the building. OK, go sit in your car with the AC blasting.
Why are you doing this to yourself? Just leave. It’s OK to get out of a situation that’s causing you to feel sick. In the scheme of things self-care is critical. Don’t feel bad about taking yourself out of the moment.
I made a choice to leave, to just come to the office. And that’s OK. If you’re like me and suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, it’s OK to just get the hell outta there sometimes. Don’t feel bad about it. Congratulate yourself on being able to recognize that something is wrong and taking the steps to correct it.
2 thoughts on “Panic, self-care, and getting the f*** outta Dodge”
I can totally relate to this, sometimes you really just have to get out. And I think you described really well what panic attacks feel like…this feeling when it starts and you think you still might be able to get it under control and then realizing that there’s nothing you can do but go and take your time…
All the best!
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Debilitating for me. I had a panic attack after many years….the adrenalin was so bad that I was shaking uncontrollably. It’s taking me days to recover. Exhausting doesn’t describe it. Back to self care now……thanks for your post Paul I don’t feel so alone now.
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