So, I had a presentation to do at work. Not just any old presentation, a case conference, were I had to discuss a patients treatment for severe Anorexia Nervosa to;
• The Medical Director
• Numerous Consultant Psychiatrists
• Medical Students
To say I was nervous was an understatement. I’ve never been so terrified of anything in my life!
I had put a lot of work into the presentation, and a lot more into the patient (who is doing amazingly) but poor sleep and catastrophic thinking was my friend:
“I’ll stumble on my words, I won’t be able to speak, I’ll faint, I’ll loose my job…”
To combat this?
Rationalising my thoughts didn’t work, I had never done anything like this before and nurses never usually do these presentations. We have lives to save out there you know!
Listening to people tell me I’d be brilliant didn’t work because when you believe the opposite, no matter what anybody says…you won’t believe them. Ok, they are the people closest to you and you would expect them to be honest, but on this occasion, they knew nothing, were liars and were just being dismissive (negative thinking patterns always provide you with a reason to disbelieve everybody).
How did I cope?
I ran my 7k yesterday, as I knew I would be mentally exhausted today after the presentation and probably physically exhausted to (I was preempting a bad nights sleep).
The run was amazing, no concentrating on speed or pace, just running, music on, clear head and a heart rate now averaging 165-170bmp (mine would usually be around 180-185). I see this a proof that I am getting fitter.
I returned home and reported:
“Well that was a ridiculously lovely run”
Who says stuff like that about running? Maybe runners do?
I felt so much more relaxed and calm, then I watched ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ who is my new hero and all was well.
“why can’t my sides be meat?” brilliant.
Anyway, the presentation:
Anxiety was through the roof, I was terrified and cursing the damn hospital who provided people with a free lunch when they come to it.
DON’T GIVE THEM FREE FOOD, THEY’RE ONLY COMING TO THIS THING FOR THE FREE FOOD, MAKE THEM GO AWAY
I also had to do it in a big lecture hall, with a massive screen for my PowerPoint and a damn microphone!
Here’s the lecture hall (not a pic of me doing the lecture) taking from half way up it. It’s terrifying down at the end!
“Go away people, you don’t want to listen to me, go, be freeeeeeee, sunbathe”
I got through it, and only managed to choke 4 times. I also got a few laughs…all intentional. The consultant on my team was really pleased and described it as “amazing” and gave me so much positive feedback (I’ve worked with her long enough to know that she was being genuine, she’s not one to mince or sugar coat issues. If there was anything wrong with it, she would have told me so). She also said that the medical director and programme manager went up to her and commented on how well I came across! Today, is a day for me to be proud.
So sometimes challenging negative thoughts doesn’t work, sometimes distraction is a great way to give your head a break. My distraction, I hope, will now be running. Ok, the catastrophic thinking and mind reading is irrational and the anxiety as a result is nearly soul destroying, but when you’re unable to challenge these thoughts, the way to overcome them may be to;
1⃣ Utilise brief distraction techniques and
2⃣ Challenge the behaviour, don’t avoid it (I was offering a weeks worth of my holiday for my colleague to do it for me, she said she wouldn’t as she would vomit, and that I’m “front of house anyway”, was gonna give her Christmas week as well) just do it and when it’s done, we realise, we’ll survive.
I have decided to use this experience as a learning one. I did it, it was great and I have learnt that I still never want to do it again. I will avoid doing anything like it like my husband avoids putting his dirty socks in the wash basket!
Goals for the rest of the week are:
1) Pace run tomorrow 5k
2) Endurance run Friday 12k
3) Get hair done, have Barbecue and beer on Saturday
4) 20 min ‘I might as well run’ run on Sunday.
It seems, I like running!
I’m off now, to catch up on a weeks poor sleep 😴😴😴