I seem to have problems with anxiety in meetings & seminars with anxiety. I almost always feel very stressed before (and sometimes during) meetings, and this usually results in my bowels noisily gurgling during the meeting (making me even more anxious).
I am an outwardly confident person, and don't understand why I get so anxious before & during meetings. I don't really get anxious at any other times, so does anyone have any ideas/advice as to why my stomach/bowels seem to play up at these times?
Is it when you are presenting at the meeting or even if you are just part of the committee? It could be social-anxiety disorder...is the room confining? Maybe claustraphobia? Just guessing.
As far as the stomach goes, that is the first place my anxiety hits. I immediately get stomach pains...it is terrible. The moment I am in an anxiety situation (changing of schedule, going somewhere alone) I immediately get nausea and then the gas in my stomach moves around. Sometimes it passes, sometimes it sends me running to the bathroom!
I have agoraphobia and I have experienced a very similar thing that you describe however, in my case I have had numerous full-blown panic attacks (light headed, nausea, feeling that I am choking/cant breath etc. etc.) in that situation.
For me, it is not room size that distresses me (I do not have claustrophobia) but the fact I feel I cant, or it would be very difficult, for me to get out/leave the room - this is what agoraphobia is - being in a situation that "confines" one BUT that doesnt mean the space has to be small for this effect to be apparent - movie theater, airplane, boxed in at a restaurant, exam setting, crowds, are other such examples. Would you feel better if the room were open? I know that is the case for me.
What has helped me is sitting close to the door and I always sit at the end of a row or table. This way, I feel more "able" to leave the room should the need to arise. I also breath deeply if I do start to panic and have a scratch pad to keep myself distracted if need be - that helps a lot.
Prehaps Google agoraphobia and see if that is something you could potentially be suffering from.
I used to get extreme anxiety attacks when I had to sit through meetings. I used to have to get up and leave the room on several occasions...especially at conference centers. I just couldn't stand sitting there doing nothing, and pretending to listen.
I used to be terrified of public speaking. But I don't associate that feeling with what I know know as anxiety and panic. Two different feelings altogether. And I'd actually get a 'rush' shortly after I began speaking... and got on a roll. And definitely a rush when I was finished. I think some entertainers experience the same roller-coaster feelings... terror then a rush.
I do understand the anxiety of just sitting in an auditorium listening to lectures and feeling you can't leave. That feeling is much more in line with my 'anxiety or panic' feelings. It's a trapped feeling... like being stuck. And sometimes I experience that when I come to a red-light at an intersection. Or if I pull into a drive-thru window and a car pulls in behind me. It's a feeling of being trapped. Even though I know it will only be a minute or two.
I'm not sure I relate to the intestinal gurgling. But definitely anxiety in these types of situations. Fortunately I'm able to control it fairly well these days. I don't freak out... but it can get uncomfortable at times.
P.S. Even though I suffered a terrible fear of public speaking... I was most often the one chosen for these tasks by my management. Apparently I was pretty good at it. I used to be picked to brief the visiting dignitaries who visited our Air Force Base. I was an engineer and would give tours of our technical laboratory. Plus lots of other kinds of briefings... often to very large audiences. My boss always picked me for these things. I don't think I ever told him how much hell it put me through.
" And sometimes I experience that when I come to a red-light at an intersection. Or if I pull into a drive-thru window and a car pulls in behind me. It's a feeling of being trapped. "
I don't have any problems in that situation. I do, however, get panicky when I am in a car with OTHER people (doesn't happen when I am on my own) and we get stuck in heavy traffic on the freeway (stop and go, 5 mph traffic) - ugh, I just hate that.
Also, I certainly don't enjoy public speaking but am considered "good" at it by my colleagues, managers etc. etc so find myself presenting ofter. I have found, in my case, I often feel under MORE stress when sitting in a room listening to other speakers (or in a meeting) than I do when I have to speak myself. I think this is due to:
1) Being in control when I speak (something which you lack when you are not the speaker)
2) The type of "surge" is different when nervous about speaking than it is from that of a PA.
Suzi- I also used to get extreme attacks but that was about 7-10 years ago. Although I still get a PA in this type of situation on occasion, they are relatively mild compared to what they were. I never left during a PA because I didn't want to "give in" to it as I thought that would make things worse and I would start developing avoidance behavior. Well, to be honest when I was 20 and in a class at college I was told the lecturer picked on people and got them up on the board in front the the whole class. That terrified me so much that I didn't attend any of his lectures - about 2 months of classes! I did get a high B in that class but avoiding that situation didn't do me any good and I have never done that since.
As a side note, anyone notice that there are a lot of people that post here (not always regulars) that have PA and are in their early 20's? I wonder if thats when panic disorder really starts to hit. I first had a PA when I was about 7 but things were at there worst from about 21-25. Anyone else notice this?
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