0 to Panic Attack in the Blink of an Eye

Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

I had a meeting at work today. Before the meeting, I was thinking about what I should write my next post about. I had decided to write about the fact that I’m not anxious for once. I was amazed, after spending the last few weeks full of anxiety and depression, to find myself feeling quite good. Sure, I have the same problems now that I had last week, but I’m much more at ease.

I went into a meeting with my department’s management – I’m their assistant so I get included in these things even though I’m not actually management. I sat down in this meeting feeling useful and important. I’m pretty proud of the work I’ve been doing lately. It’s seriously rare for me to feel useful or important! Then someone on the other end of the room commented that it smelled weird in there.

Suddenly the world was ending.

It’s pretty normal, I think, for someone to be paranoid that it’s them who smells when a comment like that is made. I’m always hot because of my various health issues. So I was already pretty warm in that small stuffy room full of people. Then the comment about the smell was made, and I automatically started fearing that it was me who smelled because I was hot. My anxiety never fails to turn up my inner thermostat, so I got even hotter. Then I worried more. Next thing you know, I’m sitting there thinking I should quit my job and never leave my house because I’ll always be a smelly hot mess.

I didn’t think that in a funny, half-hearted way. I was seriously sitting in a meeting thinking I have no other options in life, I have to become a recluse to save the world from the odor that really probably wasn’t me. (I did a sniff check in the bathroom later, it really wasn’t me.)

After the meeting I discovered a voicemail from someone in Purchasing who wants to talk to me about a report I had submitted. Anxiety immediately told me I should have known I’d screw that report up sooner or later. I called her back and was told she’d left for the day. I’ll now be worrying about this until tomorrow when I’ll probably find out it was just something she needed to verify and nothing that I’d messed up. Anxiety won’t let me believe that, though.

Next I delivered the office mail, which is the easiest part of my job. I look at the name on the envelope and I had it to the appropriate person. Except I gave the mail to the wrong person three times.

How do you make the same mistake three times in a row, in a matter of ten minutes?!

Anxiety, of course. You see, when I’m having a drawn-out panic attack like this, my brain turns to mush. I completely lose the ability to think rationally. Terrible timing really, because that’s exactly when I need to think rationally. So, the thoughts snowball.

So that’s how I went from having a great productive day to mush-brained panic attack in a matter of minutes. I need an adult beverage.


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