The day I was dreading rolled around without much fanfare. I was strangely calm going into the meeting so I was hoping that things wouldn’t be as bad as I initially thought. I was second on the agenda so I thought I would give my little presentation and sit back down easy peasy right? Wrong!
The first person on the agenda was late so it was looking like I would have to go first. I reluctantly said yes.. the room was slightly empty so I figured I could push through. Just when it seemed that it was show time the person in the first slot showed up. She launched into her presentation full of enthusiasm. I sat in my chair barely listening because I was watching the door and the room slowly fill up. As my coworker continued to talk well into my time I felt my breathing start to get shallow and my hands began to tremble ever so slightly. I willed myself to take deep calming breaths to no avail. She kept talking, people kept pouring in, and I kept thinking I will be okay, I won’t stand and give my presentation I will sit at the table while I advance my slides. By this time the person ahead of me had blown through her time and mine. My heart began to race. My coworker sitting next to me kept whispering breathe breathe and rubbing my shoulder. By this time my level of anxiety was spiraling out of control, it felt like the walls were closing in on me. Finally I couldn’t take it and I swiftly walked out of a side door. I barely made it into the room before the tears began to fall and I was struggling to catch my breath. The only sound in the room was me gasping for air.
Needless to say I did not give my presentation. I was beyond embarrassed. Luckily for me no one knew what was going on especially since my colleague got extra excited talking to the room about Brucellosis and used up my time and hers. I’m not certain if I had a full fledged anxiety/panic attack or if that was just an extreme case of the jitters. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before and I am hoping it never happens again.