I just got home from a meeting. A meeting I had been feeling anxious about for months. So anxious that September was a blur of panic attacks and tears. I was talking through research I had done over the summer. I am confident the work I done was thorough, and I didn’t feel ill-equipped with my reports. Rather, I just felt overwhelmed and unable to vocalise what was in my head (yes, I rehearse my presentations and no it doesn’t help). Eyes on me make me want to clam up, I stutter and stumble and generally regret the sounds that come out of my mouth. I feel a push-pull between wanting to impress and wanting to disappear.
I end the day feeling exhausted; tired from using my energy to remain calm and not relive my awkward moments. I spend the following hours and sometimes days hearing the voices from the interactions that caused me unease. And I talk back to them; I chastise myself for not being clever. I say hurtful things to myself. I wish I could go back in time and say to people “I promise I know what I’m trying to say, but it’s not coming out well.” At times it feels hopeless, I wonder how long before I can be eloquent. Or if it will ever happen at all.
But I’m back home now. It’s October and all the autumnal things that make me happy are on the horizon. I have a couple of days off (and I have promised myself not to fill them up with work or writing) and I feel secure. In truth, I know I probably didn’t sound as foolish as I felt in my meeting. When my head quiets down a bit I might begin to feel content with my performance. But right now I feel the need to hideaway.
On the plus side, I saw that I’ve been published on nuhafoundation.org an hour ago. Yay.