I had my first speaking engagement Friday night, May 20, 2016. I was really nervous about it...i even had a panic attack before hand. I have never had a panic attack before...i have many other issues;)....but panic attacks aren't one of them.
Ill set the scene...I actually think it is hysterical now...if you can't laugh at yourself...this life wouldn't be very much fun.
I am sitting at Scott Miller Salon and Spa in Pittsford NY. I had just got my hair done, a blow out...i just wanted good hair if i was going to be standing up in front of a bunch of people. Everything was fine during my blowout but then I was walked to the waiting area for the Make-up girl to get me. (I never wear makeup and wanted to feel put together - she even gave me fake eyelashes and I have never felt more beautiful) However, as I was sitting still waiting for Cory to come get me, my emotions started to roll in like a storm. Isn't that when things happen, in stillness. When we are busy busy getting things done, we can ignore our emotions, but when you come into stillness, that is when the thoughts roll. I started thinking...'What did I get myself into? I can't do this! What if I am boring? What if someone else says the same thing? Why did I say YES?!' then....the tears...in the middle of Scott Miller, and then full on sobbing and freaking out. Other customers came up to me asking if I was ok, employees where staring and concerned. I ran to the bathroom to try and pull myself together...i couldn't. I thought i did.. but it was just getting worse. The crying where you can't catch your breath worse. Finally Cory came and I asked her to sit down with me for a minute. I told her that I was having a panic attack, she said all the right things. "Come into this side room so you have some privacy. What can I do, would you like some water or some champagne?" I took some champagne. Cory - listened. She just sat and listened. I knew if I just talked about what was making me so anxious I would probably be ok. The first thing out of my mouth was,"I am speaking this evening about anxiety and depression, and I am having an anxiety attack!" We both thought this was hysterical! and burst out laughing...at the irony of my situation.
I finally calmed down enough to get those fake eyelashes on and I truly had never felt more beautiful. The evening came and went and I am very proud of what I had to say. For some reason, the minute I stood up and started to speak, all of my nerves went away. I had something to say that needed to be heard. Depression/anxiety is a mental illness. The stigma attached to them is ridiculous. We are who we are and we are better for it. Stop hiding, start talking and end the stigma. If you would like to see this talk hit this link- it is 6 min and quality is not good, but it starts the conversation and brings awareness to this illness and I hope it makes people feel not so alone or helps people understand friends and loved ones who struggle. The Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n8THu7Sgis