So today I was asked to print some training documents at work. My boss wanted them in colour, on card stock and double sided. So I’m printing them out and I notice that the first page isn’t in colour. Because this isn’t a colour printer! Shit! Stop Stop Stop. Buttom mashing leads me to accidently turn the printer off. I’m trying to turn it back on but it won’t budge so I just kind of walk away and hope the print job will be forgotten when it powers back on.
My point is that sometimes, we panic. We panic and instead of doing the smart rational thing (like search 2 seconds longer for the stop button) we just kind of attack the problem till it stops in some way.
I’d love to say that we need to be more mindful in times of panic and think things through but that wouldn’t be realistic. The whole state of panic is a state that we have little control over until we can calm down. So take a deep breath and try to think of how else you can approach the problem. Try. I am not saying you will be successful. I myself am rarely successful at controlling myself in time of panic.
For example, when I panic during exams I’ll start crying and having trouble catching my breath. My attempts to calm myself are wasted because my mind is still dwelling on the failure I see before my eyes. I’ll gulp down big breaths and my face will be wet with snot and tears for at least 10 minutes until I accept that the only thing I can do is my best. Maybe I won’t know the answers to anything. Maybe I’ll only know one thing. But no matter what, whatever I write down is better than simply walking out the door and accepting a zero.
For me, when I start to panic it tries to manifest into an anxiety attack before I can even think about my surroundings. Suddenly I am crying and if I don’t start dealing with the problem I’ll start hiccuping and then I can’t breathe and then it’s over. I know the next 15 minutes I’ll be on the ground trying to remember how to breathe. And let me tell you, not being able to catch your breath is one of the most painful and scary experiences in the world.
Luckily, I don’t usually reach that point. I usually just cry.
I tend to cry a lot. If I feel overwhelmed, if I feel picked on, scared, tired…I’m literally just a big baby. But then, on the other hand, I’m also the rock of many people. I’m the person they go to when they panic. They think I’m this strong person who can hold their grief and help them re-build themselves. In reality, I hear their problems and in my mind I think of my own problems and it just stresses me out more but I push it down and help them because that’s what friends are for. Friends are there to support you.
Don’t get me wrong I want to hear their problems. I like being in the know when it comes to drama. However, when a friend wakes me up at 3am saying they want to end their life and their life is terrible, suddenly I wish I wasn’t their one phone call. This particular situation was really hard for me. I talked her off the ledge and stayed on the phone with her for 2 hours until she fell asleep. As soon as I hung up I cried. Not just because she’s my friend and I love her but because after listening to her problems for an hour, there’s nothing she had been through that I myself hadn’t been through.
What does that mean? Does that mean I should have gone over the ledge when I reached that point? Does it mean I’m strong? That she’s weak? I don’t think so. I think we are all dealt a hand in life and sometimes we are dealt better hands for a long time. So for instance, I wasn’t dealt the greatest hand to begin with so when I started getting worse hands, I already had a good way of coping with losing. Whereas she was only used to great hands and then suddenly she was dealt a 2 and a 7.
The important thing is not not to panic. That’s unrealistic. The important thing is to have a plan for when you do panic. Deep breath. Who can help. Who can you call. What can you do.
There is no right answer…There is only your answer. That’s all that matters.