A PANIC ATTACK AT THE UNIVERSITY

Coat/J. Lindeberg, Knit/Filippa K, Skirt/Zara, Bag/Saint Laurent, Shoes/Adidas Originals

Good day!

Something unexpected and very unpleasant happened to me this week. Remember when I told you about my social anxiety here? Unfortunately, the matter grew to a whole new dimensions on Tuesday, as I got an actual panic attack at UNI before a group presentation.

When growing up, this issue of experiencing social anxiety, especially in situations of holding presentations, began to rise it’s head. I remember having my hands shake, my mind blank and a cold sweat pushing through whenever a presentation was ought to be made. Group or no group, these moments were of absolute terror for me. Back then, I’ve later become to realize, it was mostly due to the lack of self esteem. In other words, the fear of messing something up – becoming a total joke in front of everyone. Kids can be cruel, but my most harsh judge has always been myself.

Nowadays, it’s not so much about the lack of self confidence. It’s become something a lot more complicated. Even as I’ve grown rather fond of myself, better knowing my limits and capabilities, the anxiety hasn’t disappeared. I’ve grown afraid of the panic itself. Before a presentation, I begin to worry that I’ll go in complete panic and won’t be able to hold the talk – which then again results in absolute panic. It’s a circle of irony.

This week, I didn’t succeed to hold the presentation.

I couldn’t catch my breath or relax my body from tensing every muscle up, not to mention the helpless sobbing and gasping for air. Thank lord for a friend who held my hands and helped me through mechanical breathing. And I feel ashamed – ashamed of being a rational individual, who has a fobia of such a situation which in no way can actually harm me. I’m disappointed in myself for not facing my fear but running away in panic. And these thoughts, I realize, are in my way of healing and getting over myself. Which I’m now doing, by having contacted people who have better understanding of the issue and can provide me with tools I can help myself with. Sometimes one has to admit having drifted to a dead end, and needing help in order to find a way out.

This post’s purpose isn’t dwelling in my personal issues. It’s something I need to put out there in order to fight it. One reason for the panic has been that I don’t wish others to know I’m nervous – god, they might experience a shared sense of shame, or even feel sorry for me! And still here I am, showing you all how dead nervous I am. Of presentations. Which makes me smile now as I say it out loud. Anxiety, you got nothing on me!

Learning to be more gentle towards myself is a key aspect in my personal development this fall.

Hertta