This morning one of my nightmares came true. I cried in the office of a superior at work, and was possibly witnessed sobbing and swaying by a few coworkers.
The situation aroused my:
-fear of negative judgment;
-fear of appearing weak or incompetent;
-fear of speaking to colleagues whom I don’t know very well;
-fear of asking for time off;
-fear of losing control … (you get the idea)
I arrived 30 minutes late to work after having a panic attack on the highway. After pulling off the road twice to calm down and evaluate whether I’d be okay to 1) drive the rest of the way to work and 2) work for 8 hours upon arriving there, I finally made it to the office.
After leaving work and stopping by my doctor’s office to discuss how to cope with my surging anxiety, I’m sitting here contemplating the day so far.
I can’t believe I cried at work. Well, okay. I’ve cried at work plenty of times – but discreetly and briefly! (I am fortunate to have a desk tucked in a corner facing a window.) This was a whole new level of getting emotional in the workplace.
I’ve always struggled with anxious feelings. I’ve also succumbed too frequently to diagnosing my anxiety via the Internet and self-help books, finding my symptoms across the board of anxiety disorders. Now I understand that it doesn’t matter all that much what I choose to call or not call my anxiety. Perhaps I will call my anxiety “Sandy.” 🙂
Ah, tomorrow morning. How will it be? Will I make it to work without feeling like I’m going to faint and/or die? Probably.
I don’t know whether I’m excessively self-conscious because I’m anxious or vice versa. But feeling so self-conscious is absolutely exhausting. I wonder how much energy my brain is wasting wondering what other people think of me, or wondering how well it looks like I’m doing my job, or dreading whatever embarrassing moment is bound to happen next.
Ultimately I know today was good for me. It’s like my body decided it has had enough of my fear and my resistance to speaking up – it’s decided to rebel. Whether I like it or not, I will have to learn how to express my feelings, be assertive, ask for what I need, and forgive myself for making mistakes.