Public anxiety strikes again

It happened again yesterday. I had an anxiety attack in public. A friend asked me to do something quickly. I got freaked out just by the idea that I had to do something quickly. That’s all it took to trigger me.

My friend said, “I see you’re getting anxious.” She didn’t mean anything by it, but that comment didn’t help. It only made me even more self-conscious. I’ve had quite a few anxiety attacks in public. Still, they never cease to be embarrassing when they happen.

When I get an anxiety attack, my heart pounds, as though it will burst out of my chest. I start shaking and can’t stop. In my head, it’s as though everyone and everything closes in on me. I completely lose any ability to make eye contact with people. And worse, I know this is not normal and I want to make it stop, but I can’t.

My friend was understanding. Still, I was down on myself. I did have good timing going for me, though. I actually had an appointment with my therapist soon afterward. Immediately, I told him I was not doing well. Immediately, he said “I see that.”

My anxiety was validated. That’s good, I guess. But sometimes, it makes it all to real for me when people actually see my anxiety. I often complain about the times I have to “fake it” in public. But there are times when I do feel good if I can pull that off. It shows that I still have days when I can function in the real world. But it’s even worse when I can’t fake it in public. It just makes me not want to deal with the public. And that’s not good.

My therapist told me to try to think of one thing that I would really like to do. Just one thing. It took me a while, but I told him that I’d like to watch the New England Patriots game this weekend with a friend of mine. “That’s good,” my therapist said. “I want you to try and think only about calling your friend and asking him to watch the game with you. Try not to think too much about anything else right now.”

I did that. I called my friend. And we are going to watch the game together. Anxiety is a very tough foe. I am trying as best I can to push through it.

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