personal, thoughts

Yesterday, I may have had a panic attack at work.

And it wasn’t because of the workload. No, the workload—so far—is actually pretty manageable.

What got to me was my own negative thoughts.

And it affected me in a way that was not unfamiliar, but was something I didn’t think I’d experience this early at my new job.

I started working in the industry just this month, and so far things have been pretty normal.

I figured things would become overwhelming when I’ve a lot of things on my plate. I am also aware that that’s normal, that there are days when we really just get overwhelmed with everything to the point that we need to take a breather.

I’m aware of that. I have been since my first job. (Context: I’m currently at my second job.)

At my first job

I’ve had my fair share of times when I felt overwhelmed with all the things I had to do. I would take a break from work, then slowly ease into it again. Life goes on as normal.

During these times, I would occasionally get so overwhelmed that my body starts acting up.

I drink at least one cup of coffee at work, so it might have been a case of the jitters. If I feel like they keep happening over the course of a few days, I take a break from coffee drinking and just let my body get the energy somewhere else.

I learned to appreciate those breaks over time, because it gives the real me time to catch up to the me that I have in my mind who has finished all the work already.

I understand that it can get pretty overwhelming when swamped with work. I get that we are simply human, and it’s normal to feel this way.

What I don’t get, though, is when I get so worked up even though I don’t have a lot of things to do. When I could really take my time with my work.

It may be because I’m used to the fact that I have a lot of things I need to do for a day, and now I can afford to chill. And since I have all this time with me, my mind tries to fills those “gaps” with lots of menial things that people usually don’t care about.

It has become of a bother now, and especially so after the incident yesterday.

A rundown on what happened

To keep the story short, I felt like I was caught in the middle of a few people, and I subconsciously didn’t want to disappoint all of them. One wanted to ask for more leeway on changes that could be made to this thing we’re working on, the other one doesn’t want that and wants everything to be final, and our lead just says it’s fine to be a bit lenient over these things.

Okay, I thought, I understand. I wanted to follow the instructions to the letter, but I get that not everything will go right the first time. I understood and accepted that I can relax a bit on this issue, and that there’s nothing to worry about anymore.

But then I started thinking about how to tell all of them. I needed to talk to them about it. Confront them.

I have huge anxiety issues with sending emails. And I needed to send an email to just update everyone on what will be done on the matter at hand. I’ve done this lots of times before, and this was relatively easy.

While I was thinking of what to write, I started worrying about things that could happen in the span of a week. I don’t remember what I thought, but I remember how my body reacted while this was happening.

Mind vs body

I felt my hands becoming slightly jittery, and though I knew I drank coffee that morning, it didn’t seem like what I would feel from coffee. There’s a slight difference when I’m jittery or shaky because I’m panicking, and when I’m just having a coffee rush.

My head also started to hurt a bit. My eyes felt like they were popping out of my head. I also felt like crying on the spot. My breathing was slightly faster. I wanted to hide under the floor of our office space. I wanted to dig a grave on the cement floor and just envelop myself with the hardness.

I wanted to lie down for a few minutes just so I could calm myself down, but I didn’t know where I could do that while at the office.

I thought I’d try to tackle this by going all “mind over matter” over my issue. I was thinking, “why are you so paranoid over so many small things?” “There is no need to worry!” “This is not that big of a deal, calm down!” “You can have a normal conversation with these people.” “It doesn’t have to be awkward!” “You won’t sound mean in the email!”

These thoughts kept running in my mind, and truth be told, it helped.

It was just a really weird experience to be in two states at the same time: panicking, and being “calm” about things.

I felt like my mind was detached from my body, that while my physical self was to the brink of crying, I was also by my side, trying to comfort me.

What I learned after

It lasted for almost 5 minutes, I think. And it was one of the longest 5 minutes I’ve had so far.

After that, I realized that my mind really can affect my body in ways I didn’t think I could do. I felt that the overthinking was really hurting me physically, aside from the mental toll it has on my mind.

It was a bit scary, but now I appreciate taking care of myself more. Now, I want to really set aside time for me to rest, to clear my mind, so I can start the day with a blank slate.

As for the anxiety issues, I kind of want to get this checked, because it’s been worrying me for a few months now, and my episodes just get worse. I don’t know where to go, though, and I don’t have the funds or means to do so yet.

For now, I’ll just stick with keeping myself sane by writing my thoughts out, and just keep myself moving.


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