Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My first identifiable anxiety attack (that I can remember) was in 10th grade. We had to do presentations – speeches, really – in class. I spent an inordinate amount of time on it. I wanted to know exactly what I was going to say because I was (and pretty much still am) terrified of public speaking. I worked hard and I was ready for that presentation.

When I woke up on the day of my presentation the first thing that hit me as soon as I was awake was an overwhelming feeling of panic. I tried to push through the panicky feelings and start to get ready for school, but the anxiety so overwhelmed me that I felt physically ill. And then I started crying. Sobbing. I couldn’t stop.

Needless to say, between all these things, I did not go to school that day. I felt ashamed though. Almost like I’d faked sick to get out of something I wasn’t adequately prepared for. Of course, that wasn’t the case at all. I had no control over myself that morning and I was completely prepared for that presentation.

Still, when I miss things now, I always feel this need to prove, in some way, that I really was prepared and that my absence was unrelated to my level of preparation for class. I should probably get over this. In my experience, that is not a college professor’s first thought, whether because they trust their students or because they don’t really care that much. It’s college. We’re old enough and theoretically responsible enough to get our shit done, get to class, etc. and if something doesn’t happen there might be a reason or there might not be, but that isn’t really the point.

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