Monday, March 5, 2018

Time Critical Conference: I didn't puke

You guys, it has been SO long since I have had to speak in front of a group. Once upon a time I used to be really good at it despite being an introvert. I used to be the girl who volunteered to do her presentation first, not because of the extra credit points but because I really enjoyed it and knew I would get an A anyways. In college I took every public speaking class I could and I remember waiting for my turn at the podium and watching the person ahead of me pee their pants from fear, wondering what they are so scared of? It's just people, listening to you. Maybe forced, but also maybe by choice. It's an opportunity to be honest and I loved it.

So when I was asked to say a little something at a local medical conference I immediately said yes.

Then I remembered I have a brain injury, anxiety, and panic attacks and I wondered what exactly I was thinking? Surely I have lost my mind and just because old Sara is saying "do it" does not mean I can, or should, now.

But I also have an annoying guilt that never wants me to be a let down or a disappointment, so I didn't think I could back out. My plan was to not freak out, take extra medication the morning of, and make the font of my speech large so I wouldn't stumble.

I spent a week perfecting what I wanted to say. I worried. I was going to lay some truth out there that I had only spoken about in therapy, but not to Matt. It would be the first time I would say it out loud to other people. I was pretty terrified but truth is truth.

The morning of I got a GREAT message from a good friend of mine reminding me of one of our classmates and his terrible reaction to speaking in front of the class as a reminder that at least I likely won't be that bad. It really helped with my nerves. Wouldn't you know that not only did I forget to take my daily medications that morning but I forgot to take the medicine I have to keep me alert and not panicky- nice. I didn't realize it until I was sitting at the table feeling like bugs were crawling up my legs and I started yawning like crazy, much too late to do anything about it, of course.

When it came time for me to speak I thought for sure I would burst into tears or panic all together. I was able to keep it together, my voice only wobbled a few times. If I were grading myself I'd give me a solid C. Two years ago I would have kicked myself for how I did but today I'm alright with it, I know that it was the best I can do now and I need to be OK and gentle with myself.

The really cool thing is that afterwards I got some great hugs. I got to meet one of my nurses (that I don't remember because I was in ICU and unconscious), that Matt remembered. I met the Nurse Practitioner who helped deliver Penelope, she came just to see the presentation on AFE. But the best was a nurse chased me down as I went to the car and gave me just a really great hug. Told me that she also has a brain injury after a car crash and what I was saying about memory loss was right on and really affected her. She was teary and we just spoke about what it's like. It's really such a weight off my chest to know that someone heard me, and gets it. But she gave me a good book recommendation that was beneficial for her, Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer, so I'm going to check that out.

The greatest part of my day though was feeling like I had taken a huge load off of my chest. Carrying secrets and hard stuff isn't good for anyone and I really felt like I made a great step in a new direction. I can hardly wait to tell my therapist next week, she's going to be so impressed that not only did I it but that I made the strides that I did. 


The Flynnigans said...

I’m so proud of you hun. I’m glad Matt taped it for you.

Lauren said...

Aw, great job!! That's wonderful you got such wonderful feedback, and that someone listening really did understand what you were talking about. That had to have felt wonderful.


Life Love & High Heels said...

I think you did fine! It's hard to talk about things like that. I'm sure they all found it helpful hearing from a patient directly.