A few months ago I finally did the TEDx talk that I’d been a nervous wreck worrying about. I ended up having an actual anxiety attack in the middle of it. One so bad that I stopped talking and stood in silence for a terrible minute trying to breathe. I was told that if I really fucked up I could leave the stage and come back and start all over again but I knew at that point that if I walked off I would never go back so I stayed there. And people were kind and waited with me. And when it was done I got a standing ovation, which I didn’t really see because I was too busy running away, but Victor said it was amazing.
When they were editing the video they asked if I wanted to leave the anxiety attack in and at first I thought we should because it was a real look at life with mental illness. And then I remembered how many people, like myself, can fall into a panic attack when they see someone else have a panic attack in that contagious sort of way that broken minds work and so I told them to make their best judgement. In the end they cut out the awkward minute and I think maybe that’s for the best, although you can tell the changes in my voice from before and after.
Today the video went live so you can see it for yourself. It is not polished and pretty. I say “um” a million times. I almost cry more than once. But I’m proud of it. It’s the best I could do with what I was at the moment and sometimes that has to just be enough.
And if you want to watch it, it’s right here:
Thank you for listening. And for telling your own stories as you see fit.