May 8th, 2014 Panic!
Today was a good day, although a little more challenging. It's insanely late as I write this, so I'll be brief.
I returned to the YMCA today for another good workout. It was a little easier today and I was free of the mental/emotional stuff I carried there yesterday.
I ate well today--posting pictures of all food to twitter and I enjoyed a couple of nice twitter conversations.
This evening came and I was met with a challenge. I was asked to introduce a band from the stage of the Poncan Theatre in front of a pretty good sized crowd. I hadn't stood on that stage in a while and I wasn't comfortable with this at all. I wanted to say no but I didn't know what excuse to give. I was scheduled to be there anyway--so it's not like I could conveniently have somewhere else to be. So I said yes.
I got a haircut today and picked up a nice jacket for the occasion. And I was okay until ten minutes before walking out on stage. Then I started having a panic attack. I went through a phase of panic attacks back in my stand-up comedy days. I had been fine the first few years of my stand-up career and then suddenly, for whatever reason, I started having panic attacks prior to being announced...every show, every time---the racing heartbeat, face turning hot, breathing difficult--- and after six months or so the panic attacks stopped. Tonight was the same thing-- rapid heartbeat, sudden hot-red face, breathing difficulties...
After being on that stage so many times while at goal--it was just too much for me to process standing up there again--not right now. I was a self-talk champion tonight. I just kept telling myself, over and over, you're good, you're good, these people love you, breathe, breathe, breathe...
As I was entranced with this self-talk panic attack management strategy, the orchestra leader approached me to go over the plan. They would go out first, start playing a vamp, then I could come out speaking over the music. Okay, got it. Wade Tower, the star of the show, came over and suggested I do some stand-up, whatever I wanted to do, "hey, sing a song!"
Before I could process everything, the band started playing and it was my cue.
Heart racing, feeling like I was about to have a heart attack--I made it out there. I didn't do any stand-up bits and I didn't sing (thank goodness)! I stuck to a pretty tight script. I didn't relax and loosen up or do anything extra. I did exactly what I was there to do: Make some announcements and introduce Wade and the orchestra.
I had a minute or two of material ready and I wish I would have been able to loosen up enough to try it, but this wasn't the night.
I finished and immediately left the venue. I had work to do--and less than an hour later my work was interrupted with weather reporting. Eventually I ordered dinner from a local Mexican restaurant because I knew it was going to be a really late night. My strategy was simple: No beans, no rice, 10-12 chips counted out--the rest of the bag crushed and thrown in the trash, corn instead of flour taco shells and chicken for a filling. I ordered two crispy chicken tacos and a small guacamole and chips.
The road back seems much harder than the initial trip. But I'm loving it and learning through it. And I'm going to make it just fine.
Thank you for reading,