Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8th, 2014 Panic!

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,


  1. Glad you made it through. I remember those early days when I first sang on stage, yeah it can be pretty scary. Funny I get more nervous singing in front of a small crowd of friends and family but I don't get nervous in front of 10,000 people. But you are doing great! I need to get back to journaling my meals again. You do so good in that area. Keep up the great work Sean! We'll get there! ~ Jules

  2. great post sean...good is harder...because you are wide awake and aware of all the pitfalls..but make it through this time...and you've made it period.

  3. You are facing every obstacle with courage and faith, and not running to the refrigerator for the false sense of help or comfort. I believe that every time you do this, you strengthen your foundation even more Sean. SO proud of you. You are paving out a wonderful future for yourself. Blessed by your example. :) Shirley from TN

  4. Dig down for that strength, Sean! You already have everything you need to make this happen.

  5. Sean, I think if we could bottle that resolve we possessed when we successfully lost lots of weight, we would be millionaires. I'm trying to find that mindset again, it's proving to be very difficult. Thanks for continuing to inspire me.

  6. Good job. I haven't had a panic attack for a while, but I remember talking myself down when it would happen. Mine went something like, "Ok. This is just a panic attack. I am not going to die. Just breathe." I have an inner chuckle now thinking about the "not going to die" part, but they ARE frightening at the time.

    I've experienced that whole, "Oh no, the last time these people saw me was when I had lost weight" nightmare. It really is humiliating. I'm dealing with that on a regular basis now. Not liking it one bit.

    As I read the close, I wondered if there wasn't at least a little wishful positive proclaiming here--> "But I'm loving it and learning through it." :) Just remember, cognitive dissonance can be a precursor to panic attacks. (Just my helpful little hint.)


  7. You are right--the road back IS so much harder. And for me and my journey, losing the weight the second time is more boring. I see numbers on the scale that once excited me but not this go around. Let's push through though! It is worth it! It sounds like you made good on a hard day. Congrats! That is success.


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