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Don't Have Time For a Game Plan? Don't Back Down, But Be Yourself

Posted Sep 26 2008 5:16pm
I had a situation recently where I was asked out to lunch very last minute.

This is something that I don’t want to stop happening because I love to hang out with my friends and family. However because of the timing, I was unable to really prepare myself for any panic that could arise. I told myself on the drive over a few things I thought might help, but I was already a little flustered. As I was waiting to meet my friends, I could feel the anxiety come and felt immediately nauseous. It has been so long since I had felt this high of anxiety that I wasn’t sure what to do at first. I thought, “I need to get distracted.” So I went into a store and looked at jewelry that I wouldn’t mind owning. When I peeked out I saw they were there. We decided where to eat and as I was ordering the food I thought “I am going to throw up right here in line.” I wasn’t even hungry because I had eaten a late breakfast. This makes sense because that is a perfect trigger scenario for me. Had I been starving I doubt there would have been an issue at all, but when I feel like I have to perform and I don’t think I can, that’s when I panic. So I ordered a light lunch knowing I probably wouldn’t be able to eat any of it. We sat down and I snacked on a bag of chips and a drink. Never touched my sandwich. I left it in the to go bag. I tried to focus on the conversation at hand and a few times I could feel myself lingering on panicky thoughts. So I refocused on the conversation. I kept thinking of what I would say if they asked me why I wasn’t eating. When it briefly came up, I mentioned I wasn’t feeling well and left it at that. After all it was the truth.

So what did I learn? If you don’t have time to prepare for a potential Trigger Situation, then do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. I could have force fed myself the sandwich but then I really think I would have been sick. I decided to listen to my body and save the food for when I felt hungry. Sure enough two hours later I was pretty starving and had a yummy sandwich waiting for me in the fridge.

We are not perfect. I don’t think I will ever be “cured”. I don’t know if I will ever master my panic attacks. I don't always have hours beforehand to fully prepare myself for events. But the best I can do is manage them as best I can. But when we don’t have time to even manage them, then the next best thing is to be yourself and not what you think others think you should be, love yourself for it, and do what feels the most comfortable while still facing your fears. My fear is what people will think of me if I don’t perform the way I think I should, specifically around food. The most comfortable thing would have been to not go at all and catch a movie with them later on or something not food related. But I went, survived, and best of all, got to see my loved ones. And that’s a small step in the right direction.

Positive Affirmation of the Day: I can take as small a step forward as I choose.

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