Realizing you're anxious only when it's too late
In mid-January, I was invited to speak at a panel at the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute, a conference for independent booksellers. Because I ended up funding my business through various atypical means, I sat with two others and talked to the audience about nontraditional business financing.
I was feeling a little run down the day of the panel, but not particularly worked up or nervous. My migraine had been teasing me off and on for a couple of days, but it hadn’t settled in and I hadn’t had to take any medications to control it. It just hung out on the periphery, letting me know it would jump in at any moment if I made the wrong move. So I drank plenty of water, made sure to eat well, and felt pretty sure I could keep it at bay.
While on the panel, which lasted for about 1.5 hours, I think I was well-prepared and didn’t have any major flubs. I was doing well and wasn’t sweaty-palmed or shaky. But as we got farther into our discussion, I noticed that my body temperature felt slightly elevated and that my neck was a little uncomfortable. By the time we wrapped things up a little before 6 PM, I felt decidedly worse. No headache or nausea, thankfully, but ill at ease and tense all the same.
About a week later, I went to a meeting of community organizers and, after speaking to the group a handful of times about my points of view, I could feel that same heat creeping up on me. By the time I walked out of the evening meeting, I felt really hot and my neck was achy again. A migraine was sneaking up on me just as it had tried to when I was at the booksellers conference
So what gives here? Is public speaking a trigger for me? I am guessing I should engage in some mindful meditation or light cardio before I next have to speak to a group. It’s feasible that I am continuing a pattern I had as a child and teenager, where I wasn’t aware I was stressed until I actually got ill with migraine. Does anyone out there have a story similar to this? Do you get nervous or anxious without being fully aware of it? If so, how do you cope with it?
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