Anxious in the night. Anxious in the day. These days, anything at all will make me anxious. I try to simply ignore the feelings, but sometimes I wonder, is my body trying to warn me about some impending danger?
I used to get very anxious when I had to give a performance: make a speech, give an art talk, or be interviewed on the radio. These anxieties seemed “normal” actually, because I think they’re pretty much universal. Making a speech in front of an audience is supposed to be feared more than death by most people.
The way I always dealt with these anxieties was by being thoroughly prepared and rehearsed. That process wouldn’t exactly remove the anxiety, but at least it helped me get through the performance successfully, and without showing my anxiety to the audience. Most people have no idea I get performance anxiety, because I suffer the most before the event and by the time it arrives, I seem fairly comfortable.
Maybe I’m not getting out in the world enough these days, because lately any commitment I make causes me to be anxious. Every time I complete one, I breathe a sigh of relief that the rest of the day will be my own.
I’m talking about really miniscule, low-key stuff here, like making an appointment to have my hair cut. I’ve been seeing the same beautician for five years. It’s a tiny shop where she runs it solo, so there aren’t even any other people there for me to interact with. Plus, this woman is also an artist, so we have lots to talk about. The whole situation is perfectly comfortable, yet I get anxious on the days when I have an appointment.
I suppose all this anxiety leads to my present hermit life. I’ve been able to force myself out of the house in the past to do all kinds of things I find frightening. But these days I find it much more comfortable talking to people through art and writing via my website, blogs, and email, rather than face-to-face. Thank you, technology.
Published On: August 14, 2006
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