I’ve been a little MIA because I was in a depressive episode but today I feel human again so I’m going to write quickly in case it comes back.
This weekend I did my TEDx talk in a giant theater in front of hundreds of people. I practiced my speech for hours and hours but I continued to blank on it because my depression shows up as brain fog and memory problems so in the end I broke all the rules and carried my crinkled notes up on stage with me. It looked ugly but frankly, depression is ugly sometimes and since my talk was about mental illness it at least fit the theme.
I had all these ideas about how my TED talk would look…about how I would learn to wear makeup and get my hair done and buy a new outfit and have slides and photos and just nail it. In the end I wore an old dress, had my hair in a fake ponytail, gave up on slides because I was too exhausted to make them and walked on to stage wearing old slippers because I’d literally forgotten to change into real shoes before leaving the house:
But all I was focused on was just giving my talk without freaking out or throwing up on stage because I was at that point of my depression where you have to just pick the necessary stuff to worry about because you don’t have enough energy for the rest of it.
So I went on stage, almost immediately said the f word multiple times. And then about halfway through my talk I felt a panic attack rising up in my throat. My chest hurt and I couldn’t hear anything but my heartbeat and I was fighting off the hyperventilation that comes next. I tried to slow my breathing and thought I’d play it off as a dramatic pause but I couldn’t speak so the silence got longer and louder and then I knew it was way too long and awkward to go on. I didn’t even have the excuse that I’d forgotten my speech because it was right there in my hands. I considered running off the stage but I knew I would never go back on if I left so I stayed there. I let it wash over me and focused on my breathing and the deathly silence of the theater. And after what felt like hours but was probably less than a minute I explained what was happening. And I started again. And I finished. And then I ran off the stage.
I have no memory of that speech except for the panicked voices in my head in that forever silence. I wasn’t there to see how it went over. But Victor was in the audience and he texted me.
I got a standing ovation.
Right now the TEDx team is editing the video so it should be public soon. I was told before that if I had a panic attack or fucked up really badly they would edit that out so I told myself that only the people in that theater will have seen the worst, most terrifying moment I’ve ever had on stage, but now I almost wonder if it wouldn’t be better left in. I don’t know how they’ll edit it but I’m okay with either way. There is something freeing about having your worst possible nightmare come true on stage….about knowing that you can survive it. About knowing that people are so much kinder than you imagine. That most people are on your side even when your own head is not.
Thank you for reminding me of this.
310 thoughts on “Well that was awkward.”
Read comments below or add one.
Well done Jenny. I reckon taking notes on stage is a good thing and not something to be worried about. Better to get all the ideas out than to miss something I reckon.
You hit the end of your road of “what ifs” and you made it! To me, that is totally beating the hell out of depression and anxiety.
So proud of you Jenny. It’s about just pushing through even when it’s messy. Life is like that. And you did push through and that is inspirational to so many people.
I can’t wait to see it and hear you speak. I’m sure it is spectacularly genuine.
There is no possible way I could walk out onto a stage so you’re one up on me.
Congratulations! For doing the talk in the first place, but ESPECIALLY for not running off. I can’t wait to see the video. I wish I could have been there to see you in person.
You hit the end of your road of “what ifs” and you made it! To me, that is totally beating the hell out of depression and anxiety.
Thank you! SO MUCH!
I would like to see the video, for the simple fact that you are an amazing and inspiring person. Its so cool that you overcame your fear, and did this. All of your fans are so proud of you, as im sure your family is.
Thank you for being awesome.
I’m having a depressive time now also. I’ve barely left my house in days. Yesterday I brushed my teeth and showered for the first time in three days. You give me hope. Thanks for that. Love you immensely.
They shouldn’t edit it. That’s who you are. That’s your real struggle. Let the real you shine on! We accept and love you for you!
Beyond proud! Thank you for being a strong voice for lots of us. Thank you for helping break the stigma. Thank you for wearing slippers lol.
Congrats on making it through!
What you did was incredibly brave. I hope you know. You have superpowers. 🥰
Crying. You’re amazing. Also you SO look like Hailey in the photo!!
You are amazing and courageous! Thank you for always sharing the real you! you give us all permission to try new things and share out struggles!! Thank you ,thank you! Sending you and your family much love and light!
I am SO excited to hear your talk!
Congratulations! Thank you for sharing 💓
You rocked those fucking slippers!! Amazing woman🥰
Jenny, you did it! You got through it. You. Did. It. You don’t know me at all, but I’m so freaking proud of you.
I am so proud of you! So so so so so proud! You rock! Keep on being you!
You are amazing. And real. And worthy. And so incredibly kind to share You with the rest of us. Well done!
I can’t wait to watch the video. You’re awesome.
I’m so very proud of you and I honestly hope that they dint edit it out at all. You’re being honest with the world and it should be seen.
I can’t wait to watch your talk
I am so proud of you. You did it! I cannot wait to watch your talk.
I think you’re incredible and honestly, as long as you’re ok with it, I hope they leave it in. I think it’s super cool to see you make it through to the other side of the panic attack and get to the end of the talk.
Can’t wait to see it!
The way I see it is you did everything just as you should have done. AND you had comfy toes. So, that’s a win!
You did an incredible job! I was in the audience, breathing right along with you and silently cheering you on – because if you can do it, then so can I! It was the best speech of the day. Personally, I think they should keep it in its entirety because it was real 🙂 . Thank you so much for going up on that stage.
For four weeks, I’ve been working up the nerve to ask someone if they would be on my dissertation committee. I keep walking out of the room….
I am going to borrow a bit of your strength right now, and send them an email.
I don’t know why I just busted out in tears reading this. Thank you for being so brave.
Holy shit. You are the bravest person ever. I admire you for being able to get through that. And to talk about it so honestly afterward. I wanna be like you.
A standing O. Proud of you. Well done and well-deserved. (I had tears in my eyes reading your post.)
Personally I don’t understand why we wear anything but slippers all the time. As a therapist and as a fellow human, thanks in so, so many ways for doing the most important thing in the world: making it better.
Like someone posted above – there’s something somewhat relieving about your “what if I…” moment happening. You no longer have to wonder what will happen – now you know. You’ll take the time you need, and people will wait for you, and you’ll start over and it’ll be OK.
I’m sorry it happened, but so happy that things turned out well anyway.
When I was 13 years old, I was in the middle of a tap dance solo performance and blanked. I ran off stage in embarrassment. My dance teacher came back stage and asked if I wanted to try again. Without thinking I yelped “Yes” and then felt instant panic. But I followed my instincts and went back on to finish the dance because I knew if I didn’t I would always live in fear. Thanks for reminding me of that moment. Sometimes I forget what a badass I am. You are amazing and such an inspiration – it takes A LOT of courage to continue after shitting the bed on stage. Way to crush it!
Nice one Jenny, on the plus side you never threw up on stage so that can only be a good thing.
You are so brave, Jenny! Thank you for always trying so hard and being such an awesome role model for us all. You ROCK!!! And we all love you so much.
I can’t wait! Brava!!!
YOU ARE SO AMAZING AND I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND IM SORRY FOR YELLING BUT IM HAVING ALL THE FEELS RIGHT NOW!!!❤️❤️❤️
I am sincerely awestruck by your bravery. I’m literally in tears right now because I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be & I don’t even actually know why I’m crying. I’m so proud of you! (Which I know means nothing in itself because I’m just a random stranger online.) I’ve developed a life-altering fear of being seen, so I’ve spent the bulk of the last six years inside my house. (I’m ill, so I’m also unable to work.) Now I really don’t know where I was going with this so I’m just going to leave it with you’re amazing & thank you for bringing light to dark places.
Looking forward to seeing it. You are one of us, and you speak for us! We each have different things we’re most scared of, but they’re all hard to walk through, and when we do it can be transformative. Your getting ready, going, starting your talk, and going through it even though it was so hard is an inspiration. I have something coming up that will be very hard, and I’m scared of doing it, so when I do, I’ll be thinking of your example.
You got up on stage, by yourself, and made it through your whole speech! Amazing! Congrats! I NEVER would have made it out onto the stage to begin with. I don’t even need to see the video to know you ROCKED!
You did an awesome job. I am so proud of you! Amanda & I were so happy to meet you and Victor (or rather James lol). You are much stronger than you think.
I was there and you were amazing! I hope they leave the pause in because it is real and beautiful just like you. I started crying during your talk partly because I’m struggling myself right now but also because I was so proud, which sounds ridiculous I know since I don’t know you but I felt a little like a silent support group there for you and knew you were dreading it. You had so many supporters staring back at you from the dark theatre and I hope you felt a little bit of our love.
And now I’m crying at work. I’m so proud of you for doing this and getting through it. You’ve shown us all that we can get through these things and have to be brave even when we don’t think we can. I’ll bet you affected people greatly.
I was at your AViD talk in Des Moines, and I will never forget the woman that yelled “you’re in a safe place” because it felt like it was for all of us. Your slippers are amazing and I’d love to do a presentation with my feet that cozy.
Thanks for keeping it real, Jenny. I went home ‘sick’ from work today. Somehow my ADD & depression turn into the trifecta when my period hits. I’ve just woken up after a 2 hr nap and I’m already tense that I’m wasting this day. Seeing your post reminded me to take my meds and do just a little something on my list.
Thank you ❤️
This is so heartfelt and awesome and empowering. You did it. You faced your fears and you beat them. With comfy slippers and a great dress and humility and humor and honesty. So much love headed your way. Can’t wait to see the talk.
Please, please, please…
Contact the TEDx team immediately and tell them to include the entirety of your Talk. I’m certain that your panic attack (from the audience point of view) wasn’t as bad as what you perceived. Please leave it in for US! We experience this shit just as often as you do and I think it could be very important for all of us in this community to have a visual to remind us that “audience” perception is not necessarily the same as our horrific feelings about ourselves when it happens. It’s real. It’s us. It should stay in its entirety.
As I always told my niece and nephew when they were tiny, “I love you to the moon and back.”
When they got older, it became, “I love you to Uranus and back.”
Jenny, we all love you exactly the way you are–to Uranus and back again. 😉
Love, Auntie Susan
This is the bravest thing I’ve ever heard. You are amazing.
I hope they don’t edit it. Shows people that you can have a complete melt down in your head and get through it. You are an inspiration to so many people who need to see the real life parts so we don’t feel alone.
You are amazing and I can’t wait to see it. People can be awesome.
This is straight up how I feel about cancer – it happened to me and I survived it and now I am not so scared of that bitch any longer. You are the best thing to happen to mental illness awareness since prozac!
I hope they leave it in. The point of your talk was about living with panic attacks, anxiety and depression. Maybe some in the audience have experienced them and and finally got to see what they only feel. Maybe some in the audience have never had the pleasure of having one – and they can now see that we look the same as everyone else…..just a bit wobbly inside sometimes. Bravo!!!!! I cannot wait to see your finished Ted talk!
You are INCREDIBLE. The fact that you faced your fears, in the deepest way on stage in front of all these people, and you persevered? I am SO inspired by you. I absolutely cannot WAIT until I can watch this!
You are amazing!
You are genuinely awesome! One of my favorite singers came onstage to do her first set with fancy shoes. First thing she did was to take them off and do it barefoot. She came out for the second set with big fuzzy slippers. You likely sing/speak better when your feet feel good.
AMAZING! Great job. I know you have done so much to promote understanding of mental illness. My husband “gets it” much better after reading your books. You are a gift to the world. Thank you.
As much as I am sorry you had to endure those little enormous moments, I am tearing up with happy and proud and love because you did endure, you did carry on, and I can’t picture too many things that could require more courage and bravery. How many people will not be using your coping mechanisms and worrying less about the small stuff? How many lives did you just make better, how many little stressors did you just relieve for them?
This is a big deal.
You’ve definitely helped ME, and since I am the center of my own world (even when I don’t want to be), that is YUGE.
Also if comfy slippers aren’t warranted in an uncomfortable situation, then I don’t know what is. 🙂
I can’t wait for the video to be public. I am sure you were amazing. (Is it weird if when the video does come out I still give you a standing ovation even if the only ones there to see it are my wife and my cat, who will probably be freaked out by such behavior. The cat I mean, my wife will probably just roll her eyes). P.S. love the Nowhere bookshop merch I got last week!
Well done!!! You made it! I can’t wait to watch the video!
I had a panic attack in the middle of the most important interview of my life. I remember that forever silence and watching the panel exchange worried looks as I tried to figure out how to breathe and disparately tried not to cry. I remember one of the panel locking eyes with me and saying, “Are you okay?” I felt horrible afterward, and was certain that I had failed. I didn’t though, somehow everything worked out. Sometimes I think back on it and feel like I can make it through any other interview because no other interview can be that terrible.
You are brave and amazing and that audience should thank their lucky stars. You provided them with an real, live example instead of just a talk, and that shit usually costs extra.
I have to do public speaking for my job, and it is like this almost every time, notes, panic and all. Doing it is what counts not doing it perfectly.
Once in a play, I had to enter one scene in pajamas and barefoot. It was freezing offstage, so I wore slippers until the last second. Yep. Opening night, I entered in big, fluffy white slippers with claws on the front. To do a very serious scene.
You are amazing, and I can’t wait to watch you.
A standing ovation from those of us not in the audience also. Well done!
Way to go Jenny! And are those the LL Bean wicked awesome slippers? I love them and wear them everywhere!!
Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Thank you for sharing your very brave self. You make a difference to so many of us.
I keep seeing slippers like those in shoe stores with what I believe are REAL soles on them, so I am starting to think wearing them in public is acceptable. Sounds like you did a great job – I think nerves make lots of people forget what they are gonna say, so bring the notes.
You’ll never how comforting it is to read this! I feel so much better about myself and seen and less alone. I would love to see the pause just for encouragement for myself if/when I ultimately end up in a similar situation. I need to know I can survive by watching someone else’s. I need to be reminded in my weak moments that I can be successful at life even when depression is in control.
You. are. AWESOME. I hope they leave it all in…we love you for how real you are and it doesn’t get much more real than what you experienced. I’m in awe of you. 🥰🥰🤗🤗
That is honestly incredible and I think that fact that you were real and honest about yourself and your subject matter is one of the most genuine things, especially in our current culture of fake appearances and the pressure to have everything be perfect all the time.
You are one of the most amazing, most genuine people I have ever seen and congratulations on doing an incredible job despite real life head butting it’s way into your speech! The fact that you stood strong through it and came out ultimately okay if not a bit disheveled on the other end is just one more notch to add to that bedpost that says FUCK YOU DEPRESSION!
Well if they leave it in we can see how brave you were. Braco or you.
You are a real life Super Hero, Jenny.
I have done the slippers thing, on my way to college, in cool weather with muddy ground, luckily and also not luckily I had my water shoes which are basically just enough material so you don’t shear your toes off on the first thing you step on. I was in agony all day. Then an hour drive home. What was even better was I got pulled over just as I got on the highway. The officer came up and I just resigned myself to “it’s going to be one of those days” and explained I didn’t even have my shit together enough to properly wear shoes. He initially gave me a ticket but had refunded it when I went to pay it. That day I had also accidentally taken home my work key. But all in all I didn’t die and at that point that was a win for the day. You’re amazing and I can’t say enough how much I just adore you. You did perfectly. And you survived. You always will. Huggs!
You are, as always, amazing. Thank you.for representing what it is really like, and being as honest as ever. I hope you continue to find some liberation and power in the fact that a worst-case scenario happened and you still owned it and managed it like the wonderful human you are. Cheering for you as always.
P.S. I wore those kind of slippers on an airline flight once- they have hard soles and totally count as shoes.
You are AMAZING and so brave, Jenny. I look forward to sharing your TED talk from one end of the internet to the other. You talked for every one of us who has shit going on. Love Jane <3
You are so gracious.
The talk was everything I could have hoped for when I bought my TedX tickets. Yes, you had a panic attack on stage but at first till you said something I thought that you were demonstrating what you ere talking about. The stories and the things you talked about very much represented everything I see that you and this blog stand for which is destigmatizing mental illness. You did amazing and I felt like your tribe was well represented. Some of us even wanted to scream “you got this” when you stopped but we didn’t want to make things worse for you. You are brave and teach others that struggle that it’s ok to struggle but still try to do the things you have dreamed of. You are amazing an inspiration and the beginning of your talk even made me tear up.
Jenny, you’re endlessly remarkable to me. As a fellow panic connoisseur, I would vote for leaving the panic attack in because we all need less photoshopping and editing and more celebration of our perfectly imperfect selves. I’m so proud of you for not running off that stage. I don’t think I could have been as brave as you. Your strength is so inspiring!
You announced your TedX shortly before mine was to happen. I read your announcement with all the fear and panic my anxiety brain could muster, and wailed to my spouse “this is the kind of person who should have a Ted talk… best selling author, beloved blogger, etc… what the hell am I doing having a Ted talk?! What do I have to sayyyyyyyyyyy that matters?!” And when I was done freaking the F out I went out there and did it. It was terrifying and I don’t remember hardly any of it. The video posted yesterday and I’m so dang proud of it. All of that is to say I know how much courage it took, and I also know you were brilliant and your voice matters so much to so many. I can’t wait to see your talk. And here is mine, should you be so inclined: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G236pDG5c1Q
You are my personal hero. <3
You did exactly what I recommend to my students when I teach public speaking when they have panic moments. But screw my recommendations. You did what YOU needed for yourself in that moment and it’s a beautiful reminder of the power of authenticity in whatever form it comes. I can’t wait to watch and learn from you.
You are amazing. This brought happy tears to my eyes. Victor and Hailey (and everyone!) must have been so proud of you. Way to go Bloggess – you truly are an inspiration to so many people.
If your talk was about any form of mental illness, why would they WANT to edit out the pause? it would be inspiring to everyone to know just what happens in our own heads sometimes. And then to explain it ~ it is you. it is me. it is ALL of us. oh, and i hope they leave all swear words too. no one would edit that out if you had Tourette’s… i don’t know, but keeping it real AND keeping it together? you’ve made us all very proud. (i’m giving you a standing ovation in my office. they all know i am weird, so they don’t even question it).
You are so brave to have done this! As for your slippers; 45 years ago my mother forgot to change her shoes before my wedding. My husband and I still laugh about the formal pictures of the family, with my mom in her slippers… One of the best memories of that day, other than her taking a picture of hubby carrying me across the threshold of our apartment and cutting our heads off.
So brave, so honest. Love you and congratulations. You have so many proverbial balls in the air and you are rocking them all!!
As a mental health lifer and a daughter of an undiagnosed bi-polar dad, I thank you for who you are and what you do. It ain’t easy, Kid. But, you are killin’ it!!! THAK YOU!!
You are my hero. Full stop.
You didn’t blow the muther fucker up?? I’d say that’s a BIG win sister!! Usually when you go down that road of what can happen…we end up pretty darn close to nuclear shit ending the building:) Jenny – you are a phenom.
DEAL WITH IT!
You’re the bravest person I (sort of) know to take on this challenge. I’m so happy you survived to continue to make us laugh and inspire us.
I broke out sobbing when I read you got a standing ovation. I’m so happy for you. You are a truly amazing person.
I know this is nothing similar but I feel in a similar place. My bipolar depression monster has been raging lately and I have been very depressed. Then the anxiety hit. I had a major meltdown and panic attack today at work in the most public of spaces. We call it the “fishbowl” because everyone can see you. It was awful. I felt awful. Everyone was super supportive. But it still doesn’t feel great. I feel for you. I’m proud of you. Can’t wait to see the talk. Can’t wait to feel “normal” again. Whatever that means. Ha.
Bravo!! Can’t wait to see your talk.
Panic attacks are real and terrifying and humiliating. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for showing such courage.
I have similar slippers – mine are blue and from J. Crew. I love them and would wear them everywhere, but my husband is a germaphobe, so he gets upset if I wear them out into the garage to throw away the trash or recycling! I look forward to watching your Ted Talk – Unfortunately, you are now prevented from using that as a tag line like in the memes (Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk), since you have actually given a Ted Talk!
So proud of you that I feel I have a similar story to help relate that were are all our own special crazy. Backstory: So I have OCD, also I have Post Concussion Syndrome. So I forget things as quickly as Dory sometimes. Now my biggest OCD fear is (as I struggle to even type the word) Feces. I can not impress upon you enough how my mind creates absurd scenarios, that I might somehow touch something after someone didn’t wash their hands. My children, husband, friends anyone, can Not use my toilet. It’s sad.
So my middle child is 14 and has been having enough issues that she was referred to a GI specialist. We go in they do their exam and meet us and step out. Then 15 minutes later another nurse walks in with some papers and proceeds to give us instructions. So I smile and try my best to pay attention so I can remember. Though my kids help me out with the memory thing, I’m the parent right? So I do try to retain important things such as medical advise and procedures for my kids.
At first the nurse started with “Okay if you need a school note get that as you head out. Now you will need to bring back a feces sample wajdh sjfn ndkir…” Yeah at that point I lost all focus. My daughter said my face dropped and I almost passed out. The whole time the nurse is continuing on about labs here and next something. I DONT KNOW.
THE SHEER TERROR COURSING THROUGH ME.
The anxiety attack that came like a shark after blood from the mere mention of That WORD.
My mind is reeling, is she fucking nuts! Do they even comprehend what they are asking of me?! What kind is Sick game did I stumble into. Oh shit she is still talking. Why has she given me a pee bucket thing for the toilet? I’m going to be sick.
“Mrs Craig?!” I snap back to focus. “I asked was there any questions?”
“Nope” as I look around the room and try to grasp anything she said. I look to my daughter and ask “sissy any questions “ She returns my distraught glazed eyes with such pity and giddy amusement as the nurse leaves.
I honestly don’t recall much else from that day. We went somewhere and had labs and I drove in a bit of an out of body experience. Thinking how in all that is holy am I going to ever be able to not only carry her sample but Drive it 20 miles to the doctors office. It’s in fathomable for me. Do I bring it in a gift bag and pretend that it isn’t. I’m distracted at the thought of it, how is the act going to happen.
That was 5 days ago. I had it worked out that this would happen over the weekend at her dads house and he would take it in. Let’s be honest, My Ex, His wife, My husband, EVERYONE KNOWS, I’m more likely to wreck crying trying to drive and do it then actually make it. Then Monday there is a storm… kids are out of snow due to school with a 2 hour delay today. So my baby girl came out we Sunday night. Apparently not doing her, let’s say homework from the doctors at her dads. So she comes to me in the kitchen and I find it odd that she needed to prep me for a conversation.
“So don’t worry” she says completely calm and relaxed. Patient as the day is long
“Remember how dad was supposed to bring something to the doctor…. are you ok?”
Me, deep breath: “mmhmm”
Her “ I can’t get a hold of him this morning,” looks at me, pauses then “ I didn’t get to do that at his house so, I had to do it anyway” breaks. Watches me. “It’s going to expire in 2 hours, you can do this mom”
Umm WTF DID SHE JUST SAY? I literally break down tears are pouring: “Sissy why would it expire?”
Her: “it’s been in the refrigerator since Monday evening, double bagged and contained, clean. I followed all instructions”
—— Jen reading and watching you on instagram, you give me so much laughter and allow it easier to accept the craziness that I live on the daily. Thank you! Please continue being you.
You fought the good fight, Jenny, and you came out on top. We’re so proud of you!
High five for you! 🙂
For what it’s worth, I’ve never figured out how to wear makeup, and have entirely stopped caring about it. LOL
I kinda hope they leave it in. I’m sure there will be many people who will relate and feel empowered by seeing someone survive through it via their Ted Talk. I imagine it would also be great for people who don’t know what it’s like to see it. But I won’t be surprised if they cut that moment down so it doesn’t last. Either way, congrats on your Ted Talk and I can’t wait to see it.
I love you so much. You are such an inspiration, not just to those who share your issues. I don’t have social anxiety or mental illness (except for the just being human kind) and I’m so inspired and enheartened by your example of living your life no matter what. I’m not in the least surprised that you got a standing ovation.
You are a WARRIOR. Congrats for getting through it. The message is the biggie; the rest is just fluff.
Bravo!! Thank you, always and forever, for cultivating compassion and love.
I watch those, and I always wonder at how people do them, without notes, without hesitation, without…anything. Everything looks polished and perfect. I’m actually a decent public speaker, and I’ve memorized some longer ones, so I get how it works, but I’m still impressed. And honestly, more than any I’ve ever seen, I appreciate you making it real, and I cannot wait to see yours. I think, if they left the pause in as well as your explanation of what was happening, it’ll make it about the best one I’ve seen. Regardless, you deserved that ovation. You got out there and you did it. You didn’t quit. Through the depression, the slippers, the panic attack, you fought through and you did it. That is ovation-worthy on any day. Big, huge hug, and cheering you on!!! Can’t wait to see it!
I’m so proud of you for staying onstage and finishing! I once had a panic attack onstage and ended up running offstage, out of the theatre, and actually got about half a mile away before some very concerned Mormons found me and stopped me (I think they thought someone was chasing me?) Anyway, it still haunts me when I can’t sleep at night. The horror of being onstage literally in the spotlight while people stare expectantly is a unique kind if terrible. Staying up there took strength and poise, and those of us out here who Get It (and some of us who don’t probably) are proud af of you, and I hope you’re proud af of yourself as well. You deserved that standing ovation!! Thank you for sharing your struggles as well as your triumphs, especially when they’re intertwined like this <3
George Orwell said, in “Down and Out in Paris and France,”: “It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs — and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.”
I wove it into a dog leash. Because, well, here are the dogs. 😉
Would you like a woven dog leash?
You go girl! See, you really do have a super power
So damn proud of you for enduring this speech and riding out the fear and physical pain! You’re an amazing person who is transparent with her mental illness and in that, such an inspiration! Hugs!
Can’t wait to see it! That takes real guts to do what you did and thanks for being such an inspiration.
You are one of the best and most favorite things in the world. Thank you for fighting through everything to bring yourself and your message to us.
Jenny, you survived this – you can survive anything! Take heart knowing that no matter where your anxiety and mental illness takes you, you got up in front of hundreds of people and you STAYED even when you wanted to run. That takes such bravery my eyes are welling up just thinking about it. You rock, girl!! You are my hero.
I was there and you were amazing. I loved it the most out of all of them. You are real and inspirational. And I love the f-word and your slippers. ❤️❤️❤️
For some reason, it linked to a site I haven’t done any blogging on… I’m the weaver, Wormspit. 🙂
Seriously, though, let me know if you’d like a woven dog leash. It’s kind of an avocado green and dark brown.
My actual blog, which has massive gaps mostly due to being depressed and not writing:
I know my opinion matters for squat, but I think that moment should be left in so you can go back and see that it happened and you came through it. It would also show others that it can happen to someone they really admire and that person came through it and so will they get through rough moments. Am I making sense? I’m at work and my brain is frazzled.
Well, I’m crying at work. Thank you so much for being you and for telling this story that so many people NEED to hear. <3
You did just great. There’s nothing else. To say. I hope you realize and understand it. Looking forward to seeing your presentation.
You are awesome! I’m not sure where you get all of your badassery, but you just kicked several of your personal demons right in the nut sack! Congratulations!!!! Can’t wait to watch it!
You might not get over to FaceBook to see this. I wrote it several years ago for someone in particular, but realized that ALL my friends needed to see it. Today, YOU need to see it:
You are beautiful. You are brave. You are strong.
I know there are days when you look in the mirror and cringe. You are your own worst critic. The rest of us know you are beautiful inside and out.
I know there are days when fear and uncertainty surface and you wonder if you will get through the things you need to get through. Rest assured that the very definition of bravery is facing your fears head on and getting on with it anyway.
I know the past hasn’t always been happy. Bad things happen to good people, even you. Even me. But you are still here and so am I. Your strength in facing both the past and the future amazes and impresses me.
I am honored to call you friend.
You are SO BRAVE! I am in awe, having had a similar experience at a piano recital, where I forgot everything I had practiced for months, and came up blank, and ran off stage, never to play piano in public again…panic/anxiety attacks are so cruel. I still get physically ill just thinking about it. That you stuck it out and finished is amazing. Your strength gives me hope that maybe someday I can try again. I hope you will link to the video when they publish your speech.
This made me tear up and get goosebumps. You did it! So proud! I can’t wait to see it.
Brilliant. You are just brilliant, curlers, comfy slippers and all. I wore those same slippers to an art class recently. After I apologized for not having ‘proper’ shoes, several people asked me where I bought them! I’m fine with that.
Your talk is going to me AMAZING! Can’t wait for it to come out!
Well done, YOU! I love that you just road that panic-attack on through and continued on. What an absolute inspiration to ALL of us, Jenny. Bravo!
Sounds like you did a slam-up job. This sort of thing seems to get worse for me as I get older. I don’t know why, so you are braver than I. I tend to avoid the public speaking thing when I can. When I had to do a reading, I thought I was going to faint–the audience saw me trembling, but I have a tremor anyway (and of course I reiterated that). But everyone was on my side, you are right. Even if some people felt nervous FOR me, they were still rootin’ for me, too. And that’s what counts. Sorry about your depression set-back. I just came back from the hospital myself. It sucks balls. I’m rootin’ for you on that front too. Hang in.
You’re brave as hell – and, as a fan, I am proud as hell of you for doing something that’s not in your comfort zone, especially at a time when it was extra difficult to do it. Looking forward to watching the video when it’s done being edited!
Jenny! I’m so proud of you! I did a TEDx 3 years ago and they are SO high pressure. They want you to be conversational and casual, but it has to be memorized AND conversational and casual. I was selected and then,, suddenly and unexpectedly…my wonderful amazing fantastic father died. And I was out of my mind with grief. But I KNEW he’d want me to do the speech. And I just couldn’t memorize the damn thing–something I’m usually good at. I kept blanking out over and over. Fast forward to the NIGHT OF THE TALK, and I’m backstage, mic taped to my face, pacing behind the curtains while the speaker in front of me gives his talk. And STILL BLANKING OUT!
Honestly, I said a prayer. Nobody else could help me, maybe God could. My mind cleared, the connections in my speech were obvious, I stepped out and spoke it through perfectly, and I have no idea what I said now because it all left my head immediately after. it was the most exhausting thing.
I’m proud of you for doing a TEDx. They are amazing. But they are also pretty high stress and crazy demanding. And you did it. You made it real. So proud of you.
I was going to holler out “love you, Jenny” but didn’t want to make it worse… I hope they don’t edit too much, because you were awesome 👏 (And got the only standing ovation of the day!)
Apparently my first comment was too long or got lost in the ether. I won’t try to repeat it, but I’ll just say: I’m SO, SO proud of you! Sending virtual hugs! BTW, your dress is so awesome no one will care about the slippers!
Bravo, Jenny! I absolutely hero-worship you for pushing through the panic. It touched me so much I had tears reading this and I honestly cannot wait to see the video.
I have social anxiety and agoraphobia, but I’m old enough that they didn’t have fancy words to explain why I freaked out in large crowds or when there was too much going how I would retreat into my head. I would just cheerfully say, “I’m an introvert. I don’t do crowds!” and laugh it off whenever I was invited to parties where there would be people I didn’t know or other noisy crowded events. I also suffer from claustrophobia, which for some strange reason wasn’t as embarrassing to admit, and made a convenient excuse for avoiding overcrowded places.
As I got older, it got worse. Then my brother was diagnosed clinical depression and, despite knowing that mental illness ran in families, I still believed that I was just a strongly introverted person who preferred to be alone or in small groups of people. But then suddenly there was more awareness and information on the internet about mental illness and with so many people sharing on social media, I began to see my own struggles reflected in the words of strangers. I was no longer the only freak that didn’t want to go out in public places or that ended up in brain fog – shut down and unable to follow a single train of thought or speak a complete sentence – when I did.
I tried medications at one point, but they made me feel numb, which I liked less than the anxiety. These days I manage my anxiety by avoiding the worst triggers (big noisy crowds) and have gotten pretty good at talking myself out of mild panic attacks at the thought of going to an unfamiliar place or meeting new people. Most people don’t even know I have social anxiety. For one thing, I’ve gotten good at pretending I am okay when I first meet new people. Usually by the time they get to know me well enough they might notice my anxiety, I know them well enough that I am no longer anxious around them. I’m probably what they would refer to as “high functioning,” but I do know that I passed up many opportunities and gave up on my ambitions due to my anxiety. I often wonder what my life would be like if I was not handicapped by it. But I have found fulfillment and contentment in the things I can do, and do well, so I don’t let it get me down for too long.
P.S. I’ve lurked reading your blog for many years, but I’ve never posted because, yep, you guessed — social anxiety. But if you can give a TedTalk, I think I can manage to post a comment.
HUGS You did a great job!
You are a bad ass, and I am so freaking proud of you! Congratulations on a job well done!
Brava. Thank you for showing us that even at your worst moment, you are invincible. So amazingly awed by you.
I’m just weeping because this so beautiful. Thank you
You are a ROCK STAR! And a complete and total inspiration! I would have given you a standing ovation too. I can’t wait to see it and then I will still do it! xoxo
Love you so much. 😸❤😸
Love the dress-bet it has POCKETS-, slippers are barely noticeable, and I vote for leave the panic attack in. It’s an authentic moment AND you got through it.
You are one of the bravest women I know. BRAVO!!
Jenny, you are a sparkling star of self-affirming positivity and encouragement to a lot of people…You help others help themselves. Your earnest voice gently and unwittingly gives us permission to unconditionally self love and accept our true beautiful natures (mental illness and all). I’m glad that audience experienced your voice that day.
They saw in real time that depression lies, even during a Ted Talk. Depression knows no boundaries and I’m sure it was a great privilege for them to see you persevere and fight against the sabotaging dragons within you to come out the other side-victorious. You are a true inspiration and I can’t wait to see the video!
Btw your whole look for the event was on point! Also this is just for fun, if you ever want to play with makeup (I do all the time) or if you want cool makeup tips and tricks Lisa Eldridge is the Van Gogh of makeup artists. https://www.lisaeldridge.com/ I’m a geeky fan of hers! 🤓😂
I dont know yet what you talked about but that minute was part of the story Jenny. You fucked-upwards. The good thing about mental ilness is that you can tell your story wrong.
I spoke with my new therapist today about my worry that retelling my story could sound hollow and fake to my own ears this time. I don’t want to find myself unable to cry and get emotional while speaking about something that had me bawling the first time around. It’s scary.
It’s kinda like impostor sindrome.
But then lookit there: even convincing myself I’m faking or exagerating my mental illness would be batshit crazy wouldn’t it? I’m in psycological pain almost constantly! I can’t function like an adult! I tried!
You say it all the time love: mental illness lies. Believe (in) yourself.
So did that horrible panic attack convinced you that you failed? That you where a bad storyteller on that stage? You fucking had a special effects/genius dramatic pause/powerful interactive way to make your audience feel you!
Well, not feel you That way… It came out wrong… You know what I mean!
Anyways! I’m sure you did great, at least some people totally thought it was a brilliant narrative device and I really really really can’t wait to see the video.
I love you my friend that doesn’t know me and my great inspiration.
yea! Here is the thing. you speak for us. you say what we are too afraid to. you did this amazing thing. thank you.
So proud and impressed ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Thank you for representing us misfits on the big stage! That is so needed. And I can’t wait to see the final product, whatever it ends up being!
I can hardly wait to see it! It sounds like you did awesome! I remember my very first speech that I had to make in front of a bunch of GS’s and their moms and dad’s. I was 7 years old and I got stage fright. I froze. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t say anything. And instead of the adults giving me encouragement and telling me that I could do it, they just yanked me off the stage and did it themselves. I don’t even remember what I was supposed to say or do. I think it’s why I always hated getting in front of even a class to say or do anything. However, I left the audience speechless when I gave my Salutatorian speech in high school with the exception of my family, a couple of teachers, and friends. It was also in a different school with a much smaller audience and wasn’t up on a stage.
You came (pretty amazing in itself)
You blipped (hey, it happens)
You CONQUERED! (hooray!!!)
Jenny, I teach college and sometimes in the middle of a lecture I forget a word or totally blank on what I was saying even though I’ve taught the same lesson a million times. It’s something I’m learning to accept about myself. Your experience has given me an idea, next semester I’m going to be upfront with my students on the first day and tell them that my depression manifests itself that way. Hopefully, this will get rid of some of the dread I feel before every lecture and, I think, it will also help students who might be suffering from mental illness to see that even authority figures have issues.
I can’t wait to see your speech, you’re a hero to me in so many ways. And it doesn’t hurt that use the F word as much as I do.
Yay for doing it! Yay for your courage. Love the dress and the slippers!
You are a rock star!!!
This is why I love you so much! Thank you for sharing so much with us ❤️
Consider your panic attack ‘performance art’ and embrace it. I can’t say it enough. Congratulations. Im very proud of what you’ve done. And i hope you win the ted talk.
The first line of your blog is EVERYTHING. I’ve never had the unadulterated words to explain why I’m a “bad” employee, friend, family member… I’ve been a little MIA because I was in a depressive episode but today I feel human again so I’m _________. And WOW on your Ted Talk. I can’t wait to watch it.
You didn’t pee yourself! That in itself is huge.
Jenny you are truly an inspiration.
You are amazing!
Amazing. So in awe of your brave performance. You look amazing in that dress! I’m sure the slippers made the outfit.
I can’t wait for the video. You inspire me to be brave. I hope they leave your silence in, because it’s a great example of how to lean into the moment and not let it take over. You conquered your fear and embarrassment in that moment and achieved your goal.
We all make mistakes/freeze/run etc. at the worst possible time. Most people remember that and can empathise, the ones who make fun or criticise are actually the ones who aren’t connecting with themselves, so will not be able to behave kindly and that’s about them, not you.
I took acting class and was in theater and choir for YEARS and I STILL freeze up sometimes when I have to perform in front of a group. It kind of sucks because there is part of me going, “Fucking hell. We KNOW how to do this. Why aren’t we doing what we were TRAINED to do in all those classes and shit?” and my brain goes “Because we suck. And we’re scared.”
Congratulations!! You have such courage, Jenny. I’m giving you a standing ovation too.
I am so glad that you were able to walk out on that stage and give your speech even if you did bring your notes (I would have). That is so brave of you and you inspire all of us to push ourselves to do something outside of our safe zone. Public speaking has never been an easy task for me. I do much better one on one. Thank you, you rock!!
I so can’t wait to see it. 🙂 So proud of you Jenny!
I was in the audience with shaking shoulders and tears running down my face. My boyfriend is a math teacher who does not enjoy reading so he has no frame of reference for your books or your blog, but he was there for me who was there for you. Some of his teacher coworkers happened to be there and happened to sit right behind us and these poor souls had to watch me fall apart right in front of them as you spoke about mental illness. I was afraid that I’d embarrass my bf in front of his colleagues (clearly I must be some sort of unstable) but he did not falter in his love and support for me. At the end of the show he said “the author was easily the best, she brought tears to my eyes.” So now he understands my love for this tribe, and we will absolutely be going Nowhere soon. Thank you for the experience, you were perfect.
I love you. In a non creepy way of course. I know that feeling. It is the monster. You beat her. She did not win that day.
Oh, Bravo! I’m so proud of you!
You are so freaking awesome Jenny!! Great job! Thank you for stepping out and helping all of us out here. I love you so much!
You are such a rock star. This week’s mantra, “if Jenny can wear slippers onstage then I can do this!” ♥
At first I was laughing about your slippers and then I was crying about how fucking amazing you are. You’re a roller coaster of a person, Jenny!
I was in the audience and you nailed it. Authenticity!
I’ve been in a depressive episode for the last few months. Your human-ness is a bright light in the exhausting darkness. Thank you for being you and congratulations on the ted talk. Living vicariously. Xo
That’s one giant step up from writing your blog and making a TED talk. YOU DID IT and passed with flying colors. Don’t compare yourself with other TED talkers who are typically highly polished professional speakers/presenters that also have the benefit of video editing. We know you have had experience in front of smaller groups on your book tours, but those were all expected friends and fans; quite a different deal. Frightening as it may seem, practice makes perfect in front of an audience of strangers for anyone.
Your efforts are most highly appreciated. Really, you should be proud of yourself, even though that’s probably hard. But also realize how fast you bounced back to post this — could you have done this a few years ago?
Ya done good, kid!
And you deserved that ovation.
I have been to more boring presentations than is good for my health. Not many have been memorable. One was different. The MD (CEO to you who speak American) was ill, he asked his production manager to read his carefully scripted address on how the production lines in his plant had been modernised, he could not face it and sent the production line supervisor instead with less than a hour’s notice. But did not pass on the script. The result was sheer magic. We heard it all, especially the bits that would normally by glossed over. We heard it from the guy who knew, was there and dealt with it every day. When he started he tried to be ‘posh’ and he used the wrong words, but when he was talking at full flow he forgot all of that and just swore like he would on the factory floor. He got a standing ovation too, and still does not know why. That’s the secret to good public speaking. Talk about what you know (or know what your talking about), don’t dress it up as if you were somebody else, and tell it like it is.
I wish I had been there to hear you, I hope they don’t edit any of the silence out. Let it stand as a tribute to you ability to carry on and get the job done. Awesome.
I so wanted to see your talk, Jenny, but wasn’t able to make it, so I will wait for the video. I know you don’t feel that way but you are one of the most courageous people I know. Courage isn’t about feeling brave, it’s about going ahead with something even if it scares the sh*t out of you. And you’ve got that.
I am so excited to see this! No matter how they edit it, it will be amazing because so many people think you’re pretty epic.
Bravo!!!! Depression is showing up in slippers! I’d be in slippers and my old ratty bathrobe. Since Ted talks are about education, I think having a panic attack is helping show the audience what people with this kind of condition go through on a daily basis. I’m sure the talk was fabulous. We are always our own worst critics. Condon doing something I’d never have the courage to do. You are awesome!!
Thank you so much for sticking with it Jenny! I can’t wait to watch it!
My dad never really understood how hard it is for me to do public speaking. He tells me that, afterwards, when I see that I didn’t die or the world didn’t end, that the next one would be easier. It never is easier. You are amazing for having gone up in the first place, sticking through to the end makes you awesome.
This is AMAZING!!!! Great job!!! I can’t wait to see it! 🙂
I’m proud and impressed by your spirit. Also, I wore my house slippers to an end of the year teachers’ dinner party. I had gone home for an hour or so and put on my slippers and forgot to switch back. I passed it off as ‘in my head, summer vacation had started.’ 🙂
You are (always) so amazing, so brave and you should be proud of yourself for pushing through. You inspire us all.
Good job. Can’t wait to see it. Solidarity.
You. Are. Awesome. So brave to do this thing, and to KEEP doing it even when you want to run away.
I firmly believe that this is the reason that some of us have the problems we do. So that we can share and help each other find ways to work through, deal with, cope, or whatever. This is amazing what you’re doing. Keep at it. Congratulations. Also, I have looked daily for your Ted Talk since you posted that you were going to do it (even though I knew you hadn’t done it yet, I’m just really excited to see it!). Well done.
I hope they don’t edit it out. I can’t imagine how you felt but I have a friend who deals with depression and anxiety at a similar level that you have. I know others will appreciate seeing that you can get through it and it is ok to be real. To show yourself to others and draw strength from each other.
Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. I can’t express how much you have helped!
You are magnificent.
I am so proud of you! (I’ve tried thinking of a less pretentious way to describe the feeling (I mean, I had nada to do with your speech) but I’m blanking on it. So know that this is the pretentionless type of proud. More like communal proud).You faced down demons and beat them back.
Just reading about this, and your beautiful perspective, brings tears to my eyes. Of joy. Of hope. You light up the world for the rest of us sharing in the darkness.
Oh goodness. sends tons and tons of love and hugs! That sounds like it was totally terrifying, but I understand that feeling of ‘omg the worst happened and I survived!’. I can’t even imagine how I’d react in that situation, but it most likely would not have included explaining and finishing the talk! You are wonderful.
Thank you for your bravery and openness about your struggles. It is appreciated and noticed. <3 Can’t wait to watch your talk.
Jenny, I am so glad you did this! I am really looking forward to watching your talk once I am outta this stinking airport and back home in Texas:) Way to go you!! And, it may feel ugh to post the complete speech but I hope they post the unedited version too – watching you survive a personal nightmare will help loads of folks who are terrified to speaking in public, IF you don’t mind sharing that moment wide. 🙂
You are a powerful being, Jenny Lawson. You fought the demon and won.
Big hugs….remember that most would be terrified to speak like this. They and we are with you and all the folks who are doin their best every day.
Sending you love and support, Jenny — just keep being exactly the authentic person you are. You’re awesome.
I am so proud of you, and I hope that your tedtalk includes the pause because it is real and it is true it is nothing to be ashamed of. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.
I’ve had stage fright – it sucks. Well done for getting through your talk.
Amazing, congratulations! You inspire.
I was at the March for our Lives in DC and one of the high school students literally puked on stage before she was able to read her poem. Just another sign of her incredible courage that she was able to keep going.
My one and three year-old have reminded me more than once to put on shoes before we left the house (I got THEM into shoes!) so if you have another big speech and want to be sure to change out of slippers, you are welcome to borrow one or both of them for the day.
Can’t wait to watch your talk. I’m amazed by your courage.
Jenny, congrats on completing the talk and not running off. You braved it when you could have just accepted the DNF status. You did not, and I love that. I need to take your advice and complete more pieces of writing to share with others.
You DID it and that’s SO Much more than I could ever do! Thank you for sharing this with us!
So awesome, Jenny. I hate that part when you can’t breathe, and all you can hear is your heartbeat. I love the part when you realize you survived. Thank you for letting us know we’re not alone.
I Can’t Even! You are Amazing! Way to go! You Rock Jenny!!
Thank you for sharing your life with us.
Cannot wait to see your ted talk. Love them! Well done!
Bravo! You are real and authentic and one of the funniest people on the planet. Congratulations on facing something (speaking in public) that many people fear WORSE THAN DEATH. True bravery is not lack of fear, it’s being afraid but going ahead anyway.
I’m sure you killed it in your own inimitable way.
I hope you decide to keep it in bc then others folks w panic will know t”the worst” can happen and you survive. And sometimes you even get a standing ovation. Damn you are amazing!
Brava. Dear brave heart!💕💖💕
Thank you. I needed that right now.
Taking on your fears like that is so inspiring! Regardless of what you said, who you inspired, or whether you presented the contents of your stomach for all to see…simply walking onto the stage earned you the medal of courage. Way to go!
So proud of you! 💕 You did something super hard and kept on going. Keep being brave!
I’m looking forward to watching your Ted talk and I think they should leave it as is, if you are OK with it. After all, it’s part of what matters and most people are kind. Anyone who is a dick about it is not worth hearing/reading/knowing. Congratz on doin it! Jedi Hugs!
I went to my psychiatrist for a follow up after my recent change in meds. “Have you had a panic attack?” “Nope!” I was so proud. I left, and not 15 minutes later, felt like I was dying for 30 minutes. I’m always sure it’s a heart attack. Every time. And then I get more panicked because I’m thinking I’m dying of a heart attack. Two weeks later, while at work, I had another one. I live in fear of them. I get anxious about having anxiety. The panic attacks literally come out of nowhere – not when I’m stressed, not when I’m anxious – when I’m sitting on the couch playing Candy Crush.
Some days I feel so very alone. I’m so crippled at times by anxiety, I can’t get anything done – because I’m trying to do everything, and I can, in actuality, do nothing.
But you make me feel less so. You may not feel strong, but you help people like me realize that we AREN’T alone. We all struggle.
Thank you, Jenny. I can’t wait to see your Ted Talk.
Sending you love. Everyone’s a little dotty and you have the courage to wear it on your sleeve.
Thank you. My son struggles with anxiety, he’s gifted and he’s 13. All of these combined in September (of course it was September). He was a mess, and I’m not sure if he suffers from depression, or if it was just a bad time for him. Anyway, because I read your blog, I was open and upfront with him. We talked about maybe needing to see someone, maybe needing medication. I tried to make sure he understood that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s not a bad thing. Then today we went to lunch, and I was able to tell him what you had done. And that even when it’s scary, you can still do it. You have opened conversations that I didn’t know I needed to have. Thank you for helping me help my son.
Good job!!! Give yourself many pats on the back! Always remember: the audience is pulling for you–they want you to succeed! They didn’t put pants on and come to theater to watch you fall on your face, after all.
You are incredibly brave. And I hope they show the entire speech including the pause. Some people will take great inspiration from it. I already do. <3
You kicked ass today! Congratulations on your speech and for bringing your humanity with you. Your courage gives me courage.
You are amazing, Jenny. Be proud of yourself, you achieved in very difficult circumstances.
Man…..this is heavy yet healing reading. Intense. I felt one coming on in a job interview yesterday. It passed quickly. The fog can appear without warning. Important we see through it as you did.
Wow, you are amazing! Well done for getting through that and so lovely you got a standing ovation
depression comes at Lawson with shortness of breath, racing heart beat and goes for the knock out punch of total brain malfunction. Lawson is on the ropes, it looks bad folks but wait…Lawson won’t go down, she keeps taking the hits but won’t give in …AND ITS LAWSON FOR THE WIN!!!
We are ALWAYS on your side, Jenny! XOXOXOXOXOX
Thank you for somehow getting through it. Can’t wait to view it. Have been having growing anxiety the past few weeks (no heat in wintry New England, car threatening to die, broken front tooth), just finished reading Lily King’s upcoming novel with a very accurate description of severe anxiety. Grateful for you and others who are out in the world to explain and explore what it’s like to try and live with depression and anxiety to those lucky enough who can’t imagine what it’s like. ♡
Oh Jenny, you brought tears to my eyes this morning reading about your experience. I can’t imagine but I have a daughter and a daughter-in-law with Anxiety and a husband and son with depression so it hurts my heart to know how much this hurts you and them. Love to you all.
Getting up on a stage is scary enough. Doing while battling depression takes a Super Human to do. YOU ROCK! Slippers and all.
OMG! I’m so proud of you! Great job! Can’t wait to watch. I think you are amazing!
And for this, and many other things, we love you
You continue to inspire me every day. I can put up a front, but I’d never be able to stand in front of hundreds of people. I have oral boards coming up next month and I figure I’ll need meds to get through it! Maybe I’ll wear slippers and channel YOU!
I am a public speaking teacher and I tell my students all the time that it is okay to pause and collect yourself if something like this happens. It may feel like an eternity to you as a speaker, but for the audience its usually a good respite – a chance to absorb some of what they’ve heard and prepare for the rest! I am happy you were able to keep going … that’s the biggest victory there is! I can’t wait to see the video. I’m sure you were AMAZING just by being true to who you are! Congratulations!
It’s commendable you went through it. Doing a Ted talk would be both a dream and nightmare. I have run off a stage or two myself, and I wasn’t even talking, just showing off a costume. Just reading your description of what happened was like being back there on stage with my heart thumping in my head. Congrats, you survived and succeeded 🙂
Heck yeah Jenny! You did a brave and amazing thing and thank you! <3 Can’t wait to see it. You are so loved and so important to so many people. I’m sorry our brains can be such filthy liars sometimes.
So I have thought about this. Can TedX put up both. Cut and uncut. I didn’t know that they edited them.
I felt you. I felt you all the way through this terrifying explanation of events. And then Victor told you that you got a standing ovation and then I felt me explode into tears. My God Woman, You ARE HIGHLY VALUED and thank you for representing us all, for powering through and showing what it is like (even if unintentionally) to the rest of the world what it’s like to be us.
You did amazing! I was so proud of you for doing that. You inspired me and the entire theatre. We were all on our feet applauding. Well done.
I get panic attacks and I’m terrified of public speaking, so you are really inspiring to me. I’m excited to watch it.
Got tears reading this, sending you as much love as I can. You Are Amazing! I feel your pain and just am so inspired by you!! xoxoxo
Thank you for keeping it real out there – that was extremely brave of you! People need to know that reality of panic attacks (at least those who don’t experience them – the rest of us know the reality all too well). You are a hero to all of us who live in this scary anxiety-ridden world <3
My screen is leaking with pride for you.
It takes an insane degree of courage to get up on stage when you experience this sort of anxiety. Sometimes it takes my full reserve just to go grocery shopping in Walmart. Kudos on doing your thing despite the fear.
Oh Jenny, you’re so brave…..a world leader in the courage to show up. Here’s seconding that standing ovation. Can’t wait to see the video.
Painful & beautiful. Thank you, Jenny! OXOXO
You did amazing, and I’m really impressed with how you handled your panic attack. I’m sure the crowd knew how hard it would be to present already, and you did a wonderful job! You’re one of the faces to mental illness, and I love reading your posts. You look on the bright side and you put so much of a funnier spin on things than I can manage!
Never edit it! It’s a triumph. So so proud of you!
I could NEVER do a talk like that. You are AMAZING! I’m so proud for you and what you’ve accomplished despite your fears. Keep hanging in there and remember we are all here with you in spirit!!!!! <3 <3 <3
Jenny, this is why you’re still with us after all these years. Thank you for your grit and your ability to drag humor in and out of the darkness with you. <3
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You were wonderful!
You are such an inspiration by being so real and brave. Thank you.
I also always think I’ll learn to wear makeup, and get my hair done, and buy a new outfit but nothing like that matters. What matters is the courage to do shit anyway.
Thank you for sharing, Jenny. I’m so very proud of you! Congratulations! =)
I, for one, want to see the Ted Talk posted with minimal editing. Partly because you saved it, by weathering the worst of it in the moment and finding your way to a conclusion, but more importantly because it’s the only AUTHENTIC way to present it. You’ve worked hard to be authentic, and there just isn’t enough authenticity in the world.
Also, it’s something to look to as a way of saying, “you have seen someone struggle this way. You know someone or have observed a stranger in public go through this and you probably didn’t know what you were looking at. This is what it is.”
i wonder how many people it would help if they left it in. i don’t relish watching folks struggle, but i also think it might be a benefit. just to know it happens, and you CAN come out on the other side.
My first thought was keep it in. Show people what it is like. Break through the scary part…for others. But that’s it. It would be for others. What do you want to do? I am not so sure I would want my deep vulnerability to show just so I could teach others. This is a tough one. Do what your heart tells you to do. There is no wrong answer. xoxo
You’re fucking amazing. Don’t let the liars (anxiety/depression) keep you down.
You are amazing and brave and awesome and wonderful.
My job is public speaking. I literally fly all over the country each week and talk in front of a different group of people. I used to teach public speaking to others. And the number one thing to remember is that you have to do what works for you. I usually have notes because I get my talk tracks mixed up from week to week; even though I was taught having notes was bad. I never white-board, although I was taught white-boarding was good. And even though I break all kinds of rules, I do what works for me and I’m successful. If fluffy slippers, crumpled notes, and long pauses to work through anxiety work for you, embrace that. You have found your path to success and (SURPRISE!) it’s not the same path as everyone else. Thank God for that because we love you this way! I cannot wait to see the video!
What a beautiful disaster! Showing your imperfections in all their glory while giving a Ted talk about the very demons you’re fighting demonstrated to us all that lightning won’t strike you down in the middle of a panic attack, you’ll be okay, you’ll make it through to the other side and people will love you even more for your imperfectness. I’m so proud of you! It gives me courage and strength in my anxiety and depression to just keep doing what I have to do to survive, and as long as I keep moving forward, I will be okay, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but maybe next week, or next month. Together we all are strong and will persevere.
My wife has clinical depression, and a boat load of side effects from medication, all of which she finds as crippling and disabling as you describe. But, you do amazing things and are incredibly productive. Not just for a person suffering from depression, but just in general.
I know how difficult a depressive episode can be, on you and your family, but you do so much amazing good for the rest of us through your writing and speaking. I don’t know if it helps during your, as we call them, “down times”, but you really are a miracle and do so incredibly well, no matter how it feels. Please, believe the people who tell you how great you are. They’re definitely more right than your lying depression.
Thank you for your work.
You are awesome. I wouldn’t have even been able to walk onto that stage. Much less give a talk and survive a panic attack in the middle of it. I think they should leave it in. People should see what it’s like. You are damn strong.
Not related to any of that, but do you know/read Mimi Smartypants? She and her son Aaron took Taxidermy 101 not too long ago, and you can read about it here: https://mimismartypants.com/2019/11/14/emma-to-cindy-constance-to-wendy/ She is SO FUNNY!
I was there. You were fantastic. I hope they leave the pause in because 1) it wasn’t as long as I am sure it felt like it was and 2) it was one of the bravest things I’ve seen in my life. Every person in that theater was rooting for you. i have also been in a depressive period and you are the only reason i showed up that day and even though I wanted nothing more than to go home at the end of the day, I made myself go to the after party in hopes of telling you thank you, which I got to do (and then I left 🙂 Your honesty and realness are what is helping to bring me out of this depressive period. I’m reading Furiously Happy right now and just got to the part about how even when everything’s going well you can still be sad and never have I felt more seen. Thank you so much for being you and for sharing with the rest of us. And, no matter what you think you see on that video when it’s done, know that you were the bravest person present that day.
I’m proud of you. . good for you for standing your ground. While my depression is treated successfully with medication, I don’t think I could ever do what you did. You’re getting a standing ovation from me right now. You go, girl!
BTW, I keep reminding myself of the note you left on your arm, “Pretend you’re good at this”. It really does help!
YAY, JENNY!!!!!! Giving you a standing ovation from my home in snowy Canada, wearing my socks because I don’t wear slippers too often. Courageous, authentic, real, genuine and every synonym a thesaurus could generate for those words: that’s who you are. Like so many others, I hope the editors leave it all in. Big hugs!
♥️♥️♥️ That’s all. 🙂
You got on the stage to begin with.
You didn’t leave until you had finished.
Wow!! You are amazing and a great representative.
You showed them the real world of mental illness…not just words on a crumpled up page (which I have no doubt were incredible and funny and honest). That was more powerful than anything you could have said, ESPECIALLY because you let it happen, explained it, and carried on. If I was in that audience I would STILL be standing & clapping for you Jenny! You are the light in so many peoples darkness, and we love you and are SO PROUD of You! Yay for slippers!
You are the bravest person I know.
I am so proud of you! Which sounds weird in my head because you don’t know me, but I feel like I know you. I’ve read your blog for a long time and knowing I’m not alone in my anxiety/depression has helped me so much. You rock! And I look forward to watching your Ted talk. I know it will be great! I told myself I wouldn’t reread this 10 times and delete it because it’s probably weird. Ha! I know you’ll get me, though. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with all of us. You’re appreciated 😊
You are very brave. Never listen to the voices that tell you otherwise.
Oh my gosh, you sweetheart. SO brave. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.
I tried stand-up comedy through a science organization that encourages people in STEM to be better communicators. I freaked out so bad the night of the show (a few hundred people) I almost didn’t go on. But I decided I had put too much work into it not to. The audience was also amazingly forgiving even though I had to look at my notes for each joke. That is a smidgen of the pressure you had on you that night, so way to go!! I’m sure the audience was super grateful that you continued and I’m sure the video audience will be too. Thank you for being so inspiring and for sharing your lessons.
Yayyyyyyyy.. you deserved this brag!! 😍😍
Awesome sauce!! You deserved this brag!!!!!
Good for you (!) and good for you to know that we love and support you.
Damn it Woman! So much courage. Brava! Brava Diva!
Jebus, I’m sobbing in my keyboard.
Brava my dear diva. Your the best.
Additionally, can’t wait to see your Tedx talk. I’m breathlessly Standing By For A Demonstration Of Relevance.
Power to you, for being so brave- in order to get up there in the first place. I’ve got tears right now, feeling the terror I would have felt had it been my own self up there- as well as empathy for the whole situation. As to the dress and slippers? Sometimes we need a little bit of comfortable and familiar to help us be strong- and really, Who cares. HUGS way to go.
Hooray for you! I’m very proud that you powered through a very public panic attack. The fact that you didn’t end up in a puddle on the floor means you beat the anxiety into the pulp it wanted to beat you into. Well done. Also, thank you to the people who just sent me postcards. They came at just the right time. There will be postcards going out from me soon. Many thanks to the Bloggess and the Tribe. 😎
I broke out in tears when I read what Victor had texted you.
Thank you for being real. So many times I have known what it takes to do things “the right way” or “the best way” and have planned for it so exquisitely and actionably and then inexplicably muffed it totally. LIke, daily. It did me good to see someone prepared yet unprepared, the slippers, the notes, everything – and yet you were there. Doing the thing like you do. It’s not what anyone tries for. Planned-for awesomeness happens, and also this happens, and it’s all glorious.
Wearing comfy slippers onstage will surely become a meme. I don’t have any as nice as yours but I sure will find some if this ever happens to me.
Thank you for sharing your life with us. Your bravery is incredibly inspiring and humbling.
It should 109000000% be left in. Many people still are unaware that things like a panic attack can happen to people. Someone I work with just 2 years ago wondered aloud why people just don’t try being happier.
Just last month I went to the grocery store and didn’t notice until I was in the parking lot stepping out of the car that I was wearing my slippers instead of shoes. I went shopping anyway, I’m not even sure if anyone else noticed lol. I figure if that was the worst thing that happened to me all week, I was going to be just fine. I’m back to battling my yearly seasonal depression, and reward myself for getting out of bed and dressed at all. I’m looking forward to seeing your talk, I’m sure it was great.
I battle depression and anxiety also and completely understand your experience. The brain fog. Feeling completely out of control. You didn’t walk off stage! I see your experience as a win considering your mental state. Slippers and all. You inspire me.
Love your strength in the midst of depression, looking forward to watching the video and cheering you on, even if it’s after the fact.
Oh Jenny, you’re an inspiration. You have been for a while now and of course all of us, even those of us in the ether, would stand and applaud and cry because our hearts are conjoined with yours. I hope they leave in your moment. I know how that feels. I have cried more than once on stage. I hope you begin to feel how much your courage helps us all.
You really inspired me to keep working.
Jenny-I found your blog after my father passed… when I was at my lowest and felt so alone. Though I don’t know you… you’ve been there with me through the good and bad… first with Let’s Pretend This Never Happened then Furiously Happy. You have been a guiding light for me and so many others. I’m writing today because my anxiety has been at an all time high these past few days. It came out of nowhere. Like a lightning bolt. And I’m trying to work through it and understand it. But again I try and I try for not only my family but you and your followers as well. Love to all. Michelle
I can appreciate the place you are at and really admire your strength in everything you do, but your showing up and doing your Ted Talk really is so far and beyond outstanding. You should be so pleased with yourself. You always inspire me with your strength.
I am so impressed that you got through your talk. You look amazing in the pictures and I’m proud of you that you were able to get up there and give your speech.
You’re brave and beautiful in ways you may never fully understand and this is why we all love you so much.
I’m reading this post for the 3rd time because I’ve spent all morning trying not to have an anxiety attack at work. It’s amazing to me that there are people who live without a constant companion of dread. What do they do with all that energy? It’s lunchtime here, and I’m exhausted. So thank you, as always, for sharing your truth, and for giving us the space to share ours.
Leave it in! #reallife
Sometimes being real helps more people than being really good. And don’t forget Rip Esselstein did a whole TED talk with his shirt inside out.
Movie star updates
I always empathize with your post but this one brought me to tears. Well done, Jenny.
Way to go! It couldn’t have been easy. Thank you for giving us all hope.
I am so proud of you. I am so proud for you.
My wife, daughter and I went to that Ted talk specifically to hear you Jenny. Your talk was heartfelt, down to earth, and moving. Afterwards we talked with you a bit at the afterparty, and you made our day. Thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone for all of us. You were wonderful.
Thanks for the information
टॉप 10 और उनके रोजक तथ्य की ताजा खबरें को पढ़ने और उनसे नई चीजें को सीखने के लिए POSTBULL की बेवसाइट पर किल्क करें.
I’m sending you one nice long hug right now. No words. Just the hug.
oh my dear girl. And to find that your worst nightmare happened, and you survived, and no one criticized it, and they gave you a standing O for sticking it out. I am so proud of you–and that audience. I think the slippers were the perfect touch.
oh I am so proud of you for sticking it out (love the slippers), and for the audience giving you a well deserved standing O. Hugs here, too…
I cried happy tears for you when I read this. You are such an inspiration and I am hi-fiving you from Long Island right now!
My goal is to allow myself to work in slippers when I want to.
I’m sure you were awesome. Has the TED talk come out on video yet, because I want to watch it.
This time of year is so difficult for so many of us. The ‘requirement’ to be happy and joyful is a huge struggle. Your blog is a gift. Thank you for sharing.
I wish you wouldn’t get you video edited, let the people see your reality, I have decided to let people see me as me, the good and bad. I quit editing my ohots, if I have bags outlook tired or sad I post them. I let them see the unedited me. I think people need to see more real people.
You are brave and one of my favorite authors.
I was there at the theatre listening and a lot of things you said I needed to hear. I thought it was so courageous of you to stand in front oof so many people, on a stage, and share your journey. I had to stand up and clap at the end. I’ve been waiting for your talk to come online so I can share it with people.
Oh please tell them to leave it in! That’s exactly the point! With love and patience from those around us (including audiences) we can do scary stuff. Next time I give a speech I’m wearing slippers because WTF!