“In moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one’s own body.”
– George Orwell, 1984
In a matter of hours, I will have to stand up and talk in front of around 70 people. I think I would rather die, as pathetic as that may sound to some. I think I would rather be physically tortured. Cover my body in open wounds, I don’t care. Slice down the length of my entire arm if you wish. ANYTHING but my biggest fear.
I am losing it here. I can’t stop crying and shaking. I cannot do this tomorrow, I really can’t. I feel absolutely sick to my stomach. I’ve been writing out what I need to say and I cannot remember any of it. I only need to talk for around 2 minutes but it will feel like an eternity. My group all practised doing their part of the presentation in front of everyone else today and I think I would have had a panic attack even doing that, were it not for the 20mg of propranolol I took a couple of hours beforehand. It is impossible for me to believe that anything will be able to stop me having a severe panic attack tomorrow. With any luck, it should be enough to stop me from shaking and to stop my heart from feeling like it’s about to beat out of my chest. But I still have to deal with the nausea and the emotional/ mental symptoms of anxiety. My mind going blank is the one that I’m most concerned about. As soon as I stand up there, I will probably forget everything, no matter how much I rehearse it beforehand. I also managed to say “eerrrmmm….” literally about 100 times in the space of 2 minutes today, when we were practising. It will likely be even worse tomorrow and I will get us all marked down for it. It’s also supposed to be improvised and not read, but I will probably not be able to say anything without reading it off a card or something. I will probably not sleep at all tonight. Probably just stay up and cry and wish that I didn’t have to go through what feels like torture and the most terrifying thing for someone with SA.
I was supposed to get someone to coach me 1-on-1 on presentation skills but student support messed up and I’m doing this completely on my own. No reasonable adjustments, no presenting to a smaller group of people, nothing. My presentation skills are the absolute worst. I cannot make eye contact. My voice sounds all shaky and pathetic, and I speak too quietly. I am going to screw this up massively.
I’m not even going to write any more because I’m just getting completely lost in the anxiety and panic here. I can’t focus on anything other than the nausea that I’ve felt all day now and how overwhelmed I feel. It feels as if I’m going to my death tomorrow. This all probably sounds laughably pathetic to anyone who doesn’t have SA so I’ll just shut up now.