In response to the promise I made to myself to do more enriching things in my life, I signed up for a workshop in something I was mildly interested in. It was located at a cool agency in the city and was designed to give a high-level overview of the topic at hand, and an opportunity to network with like-minded folk. I signed up with the goal to meet new people, learn something new and just be in a new environment.
After work, which wrapped up at around 5:30, I was speaking to a coworker/good friend and decided to grab a coffee and a chat. By the end of the day I’m usually so wired, tired, emotionally and physically zapped that I’m a delight to be around. Not. But this friend loves me, so we grabbed a coffee and chatted, whilst I kept an eye on the clock so as not to be late.
But even though I was making a good effort not to be late, I found myself running down towards King Street, then grabbing a streetcar. Triumph!
Until I saw the streetcar battling the rush hour traffic. Then, something happened, something extremely toxic, yet extremely common. Something in my brain and body was revolting against me…
I became severely anxious. Sweating, with my heart beat racing, I thought:
- Frick. I shouldn’t have taken the streetcar.
- Walking on foot would’ve been a good idea, considering I’m trying to be more active anyway.
- I’m a terrible decision-maker.
- Ugh, look at all these cars, I hate all of them.
- Wow,I’m a bad person for hating people I don’t even know.
- I should’ve been early, I should blame myself, yet I’m blaming others.
Feeling at a loss, I jumped off 2 blocks earlier, because the traffic seemed never-ending. Running and racing against the clock, people could’ve thought I was trying to save a baby or really had to go poop or something.
And of course, the traffic cleared and the streetcar I was on swooshed past me and to Spadina in no time….right after I got off.
Cursing myself and feeling hopeless, depressed, insane I told myself:
- This always happens.
- You’re constantly making wrong decisions
- You have a bad gut instinct about stuff.
- This is why people don’t trust you.
Finally, after poor civilians barely escaped my ridiculous running, I found myself at Spadina….pacing back at forth, unable to find the actual building….wasn’t it 450 Spadina St.…why do I see 440 and then 465?!!??! WHY DO I SUCK?
By this time I am very close to tears. I am overwhelmed and confused. I go into a really cool looking coffee shop that looks like it’s made for robotic space angels or something. They tell me the course is being held here, just behind the doors….phew! I go in, the course seems started, lots of attendees… and of course, I show up late.
Except my embarrassment isn’t over just yet…because this is not the right course.
I ask the guy next to me what this course is. He says, “Graphic Design for small business owners”. Agh!
To get to the right course, I have to walk IN FRONT OF THE SPEAKERS, IN FRONT OF THE 50 people watching the presentation. I then have to climb up 3 sets of wooden stairs as they watch my loud, clunky ascent. My face burning furiously, cursing and hating myself, I finally get to the right room.
And the instructor looks at me with a big smile and says…”Hey! welcome, we just got started. Take a seat.”
The workshop was fun. I participated confidently. I was told I asked good questions. Great. But as I relaxed into the class I realized how this is my everyday life, this battle in my brain and body. This spiral of panic, anxiety, shame, depression, guilt. It’s an everyday, multiple day occurrence.
And yes, I’m trying to treat my depression and anxiety, but how can I do that, when I feel I’m giving myself battle scars like this on a daily basis? Where I have mini-PTSD from being 10 minutes late? And nothing ended up happening, no one was going to scream at me?
The path seems so long, so far away til I can just be comfortable with myself on a daily basis. But I’m committed to trying, to starting on the path. I’ve come a long way anyway.
Today especially though, I recognized what a disservice I’m doing to my own sanity. Fight or flight panic attacks seem to rule my days. While things are getting better, I wish I didn’t have this constant, consistent and unwarranted sense of dread.