In response to The Daily Post.
It took me years to notice the many warning signs my body and soul give me before I find myself in a situation I can’t handle anymore.
First, I become agitated. My fingers start tapping on the table or I hold on my purse for dear life. My feet move on the floor, even when I am sitting down. My back becomes rigid. In short, my whole body tells me to get out and take a break.
When I ignore these early warnings signs, my soul joins the chorus. Anxiety bubbles up from deep inside until I am unable to focus anymore. My eyes start searching for a way to leave the room – where is the door, how far away is it?
I learned the hard way that this is the last point where I can control the situation. Often excusing myself for a short bathroom break helps. After a few steps the adrenaline is going down and I start to relax. If possible I try to stay in the moment and notice as many things as I can: The cooler air outside the crowded room, the smell of detergent in the toilets, how the cold water feels on my wrists. When I come back, everything is back to normal. And nobody will be the wiser.
If I push myself further and don’t react to these warning signs, everything goes to hell and I have to go through a full-blown anxiety attack. This is something I can’t hide from those around me.
At first, I felt like I was literally taking the easy way out when taking a short break. But now I think dealing with it the way I do is rather smart: Ignoring warning signs leads to escalation, reacting to them to de-escalation. So my advice would be to listen to yourself and coming up with a coping mechanism that works for you.