Today I had a panic attack

Dear Internet,

I kind of had a panic attack today. Ok, not kind of, I did. I’m blaming Lucy Bellwood. No, I’m kidding, she sounds incredibly awesome and she’s certainly an artist you should get to know. You see, I just finished watching her talk from XOXO.

Chris was super fortunate to get to go to XOXO this past fall. He enjoyed engaging and being real with so many other creators, and he encouraged me to watch the videos. So, I just finished watching Lucy Bellwood’s XOXO talk, which was my third XOXO talk for the day, when thoughts started racing around my head and I felt my body begin to get fuzzy. Maybe I watched too many, and because the best presenters make you think about the meaning of life itself, and the presenters were all incredibly cool people doing incredibly cool things, I started to panic.

I wasn’t panicking because they were really cool. I was connecting their coolness and things they’ve done with the uncoolness and unsuccessfulness I feel and the things I have to do. I am supposed to write a blog post for a really cool blog, which is basically a bunch of super cool women writing really insightful things. I have been avoiding it because then I have to be real with myself. Believe me. I was just scrubbing the bathroom from top to bottom. (AVOIDANCE.) Then I have two talks to give in March. I don’t know how. I do, but, how can I do that? It’s like, “I didn’t get picked last for the team and it’s confusing as to why and what if they find out I’m not really that good?”

This sounds silly to some of you. Others are saying, “Oh, get over yourself.” But some may be totally identifying with this. I am writing this for you.

Even though today my sickening optimism is MIA, and my confidence alludes me, I still hear that little voice. That’s the frustrating thing: I have this part of my brain that is always on, but gets kidnapped from time to time. It’s logical, organized, and it’s where my confidence lives. If I personified this part of my brain, she’d be dressed very neatly, pencil skirt, pressed button-down, pearls, and hair twirled neatly in a bun. She says, looking over her glasses, with no humor in her voice, “Get over it. Your self-loathing isn’t getting you anywhere. Just get busy.” Well, today she got kidnapped and shut in a closet. I still hear her, but she’s quiet and the self-doubt took over, and that’s what left me swirling in thought and searching for breath as I knelt, scrubbing the bathroom floor.

After a few minutes, I got up to text my other half. Texting takes longer than it should. Panic attacks are just draining. Spelling the words of the text were not happening. Autocorrect couldn’t even help. I had to wait a few more minutes so Chris wouldn’t think I was having a stroke. I couldn’t even recognize the names in my email inbox. Just thinking was complicated. Thank goodness panic attacks for me are few and far between.

Chris responds to my texts and assures me it’s just imposter syndrome creeping on me. I’m not so sure. Maybe by tomorrow the kidnapped part of my brain will pick the lock on her cage, and I’ll feel a little better. Tonight, I’m just going to push through.