- I think I’m gonna faint
I think I’m gonna faint
I think I’m gonna faint.
Ugh, this is so embarrassing.
I can hear my voice trailing off. I wonder if they notice.
I’m sitting at the parents association’s general assembly, and it’s my turn to speak.
In fact, I HAVE been speaking for a few seconds now. On the face of it everything seems to be going pretty smoothly, but on the inside I’m having a panic attack.
I hate public speaking.
I can sense patches of sweat under my armpits, and my cheeks are burning. They’re probably the color of a beetroot right now.
My heart is beating so fast, my shirt seems like it’s shaking!
I’m not even sure if I’m still making sense to them. I’m trying to keep on track, but forcing my voice is not easy, and I run out of air. Again.
Please make somebody ask a question so I can stop talking. Please, please!
Yes! Someone is asking a question. A long question, luckily. It gives me a few seconds to catch my breath.
I’m a little better now. That little pause was a godsend. I’m still talking, but I’m trying to keep it to shorter sentences. Long speeches seem to have a nasty effect on me.
Someone is just butting into my sentence. Under normal circumstances I would consider it rude, but hey, this is not ‘normal circumstances’ here. This is me trying to survive this torturous public speaking thing!
Thank you for butting into my sentence, kind stranger! I appreciate the pause you’re bestowing on me.
Eventually I don’t faint. My speech is over and people are nodding with agreement. Phew!
Apparently I made a good point. Don’t ask me what I said. There’s a disconnect now between the side of my brains controlling spoken words (which did just fine, it appears), and the other side of my brains controlling stress signals. The latter is still in recovery mode.
I’m glad it’s over. I breathe better and the sweat under my armpits is drying up. I can finally rest comfortably in my seat and listen to another brave soul whose turn is to speak now.
Is that person panicking on the inside just like I did a minute ago?
It’s hard to tell. Only they know. I’m crossing my fingers for them just in case.
--This post is dedicated to all of us who are introverted or shy or simply uncomfortable speaking in public
By Didi Gorman