Panic Room

No. I’m not talking about the movie or even the place – I’m talking about giving yourself room to panic when situations are going utterly nutso and you think you might crack.

For me, panic sets in about a month or two before a conference and increases the closer I get to con date. This can be financially (how am I going to pay for this?) or travel related (how am I going to get there?) or even emotionally (why am I leaving the safety of my home?). It can also come in the form of having too much to do to get ready for a conference and not knowing where to start. It overwhelms when you continue to chip away at the list and more things spring up. Panic is that feeling in your gut that you’ve forgotten to do something very important or that you keep putting off doing stuff in hopes that it goes away. (I find the procrastination method to be the least effective in gaining control over panic.)

I think some of us need to panic. There is a built-in mechanism that switches on whenever we step across that threshold out of our comfort zones and into the abyss. I try very hard to suppress this by talking myself down and saying “it’s all good.” As far as I know the first time I did that successfully was this weekend and you know what? It really was all right. I panicked right up until a few weeks ago knowing I was stepping into a situation that I’d never been in and not knowing what to expect. I gave myself that permission to speculate, wonder and imagine things as they might be, to let myself fall into the fear-inducing agoraphobia that keeps me prisoner most of the time, and allowed my emotions to give me those dreadful arrhythmias that convince me I’m going to die any second.  Finally, I just said to myself, “this is crazy. You are only making yourself feel this way because of the unknown.” Once I did that, my panic seemed to ease and I was once again sailing smoothly. As a matter of fact I didn’t even pack my car or my overnight case until the morning of the conference. You know what? Everything worked out just fine – with the exception of forgetting to pack a bra for yesterday morning, but I was only driving home and it was only a 30 minute trip so I really wasn’t too upset about it.

My next source of great panic is getting everything ready for AAD13 in Savannah, GA in August. I only hope I can be as calm and collected as I was with the Twisted World Con. Considering Savannah is a hell of a lot farther drive for me than 30 minutes, I better make sure I pack those bras now.





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