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Thread: what do you do when in a meeting?

  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    what do you do when in a meeting?

    In the work environment . . . Does anyone have any experience of having an anxiety attack (by this I mean in my case become very hot, slightly giddy, nauseous, feeling like wanting to leave or lie down and maybe becoming panicky) when in a meeting room with other people? Or even just a meeting with one person?
    If so, what do you do? How do you cope? Do you say anything? Leave the room? Has this happened to you even though you may have felt right as rain beforehand?
    Have your work/colleagues been understanding?
    I could do with some tips, as right now, I don't particularly want to go to work this week having had two episodes this weekend at home when doing enjoyable things.

  2. #2
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    Hi,

    I get this all the time! Work is one of the worst places for me and my panic attacks, partly because i feel trapped 9-5pm and if something happened of if i became ill, then im trapped there and cant go home! (Which obviously isnt the case, but in my head it is)

    I have been in many situations through my work - meetings with other professionals, meetings with my boss, groups i run for parents and children and allll have which iv had a panic attack in!

    My work mates and boss are amazing though and completely understanding because i told them of my panic attacks on day one.. so im able to go out for some fresh air if needed etc but knowing that doesnt stop them!!

    I have left meetings because of panic attacks, iv just said im nipping to the loo! and sometimes never even gone back in... but i have also just battled through the meeting whilst having them, i have felt sooooo horrible because the panic never dies down so i come out the meeting completely drained, but i just keep telling myself I AM FINE, panic CAN NOT harm me etc etc and i try to distract myself. I also make sure i have a glass of water to take into meetings with me.

    Does your boss and work mates know about your panic attacks? If they dont, i would recommend you telling them because iv only ever had people wanting to look after and make sure im alright... never had any bad/negative comments which is good! People are more understanding than you think and your boss will only want to try and make you feel comfortable whilst at work...

    xx

  3. #3
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    Hi - I know exactly how you feel! I hate any kind of meeting for this reason. If it is a group meeting I try to do deep breathing from the abdomin - in for 4 out for 4 and if possible I try to take my mind of things by speaking. I recently had to do some training where I had to spend an hour at a time with groups of 6 colleagues - I thought it would kill me! I was so worked up before hand but found that as long as I was doing all the talking I got through it because I suppose my mind could only concentrate on what I was saying and not the panic at the same time. I would always try to resist leaving the meeting because panic usually passes and the nearer you get to the end of the meeting the better you feel. Another thing I do is always sit near the exit and have water with me if possible. If you really had to get out you could always just say you just remembered something you have to attend to or that you are feeling unwell or need to go to the toilet? Can't believe it's not just me though - always thought it was!

  4. #4
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    I sometimes have problems with this too. I usually can just try to concentrate on the meeting and that helps. The thing that does scare me the most though is if I start getting tachycardia (rapid heart beat) because I have ended up in the ER a few times with this and it always turns out to be a normal EKG and a panic attack. I just get so scared with the rapid heart beat that it is hard to tell myself not to panic. It has been as high as 160 beats per minute. They tell me my heart is ok, that I should exercise, and it is just the anxiety.

  5. #5
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    What are your safety behaviours?

  6. #6
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    Ok. Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    Thanks for all your replies . . . .
    I've started having anxiety attacks very recently. These have gradually increased in frequency after having been unwell since March with what has been diagnosed as (query TIA), high blood pressure, vestibular neuronitis and 'vasovegal episodes' i.e. all physical symptoms. The anxiety stuff started within the last few weeks. The biggest problem by far has been when I'm in work. So far, I've not been able to stay in a meeting and am getting anticipatory anxiety. I've got one this Wednesday coming, with five colleagues, all of whom I've known for years (one of which is the Chief Exec) and having meetings like this is normally like 'shelling peas' to me . . . until now. I'm very anti medication, but my GP did agree to my request to give me some Diazepam about six weeks ago (just in case of emergencies). During that time, I've taken three, but I know I'm already talking myself into taking one prior to the meeting on Wednesday . . . . . I hate this, especially as I fully understand the stress response and all of its permutations/combinations . . . . as I mentioned, I don't get full blown panic . . . no hyperventilating or increase in heartrate; just very hot, nauseous, off balance and tinnitus (and probably high blood pressure no doubt) which then develops into feelings of self-conciousness, fidgeting, irritability, fingers keep going to mouth or forehead and finally 'lets' get the hell outa here!'.
    I know how to breathe, I know what thoughts to think . . . . . just doesn't seem to have any effect . . . then takes a few hours to subside, after which I feel exhausted.
    Not sure why I posted this other than to get it off my chest!

  8. #8
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    I know how to breathe, I know what thoughts to think . . . . . just doesn't seem to have any effect . . . then takes a few hours to subside, after which I feel exhausted.
    Not sure why I posted this other than to get it off my chest![/QUOTE]


    I get this too... i know what to do/think during anxiety attack but it never really helps... i also get it for hours and hours, sometimes the whole day at work without a break from it, so im exhausted when i get home.

    It really is horrible because no matter how much i try and tell myself il be ok, it still happens and lasts for hours.. wish there was a switch we could use to turn it off!

    Good luck for your meetings on Wednesday, i too have one on Wed.. one at 11am, then another at 12pm... so il be thinking of u. We'll get through them.... will prob just be knackered afterwards! xx

  9. #9
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    i get this too, i try to let the feelings stay there without fighting with them to go away or even trying any positive thinking.

    what i do is just let them be and concentrate on the meeting while correctly breathing, make sure you breath nice and slow through your abdomen, don't do anything to your thoughts just let them sit there and don't react to them. if you get hot then let yourself get hot, tell yourself its just your body adjusting. sometimes i get hot and i think its my anxiety only to find out that it is actually hot in the room and everyone else is hot as well. our minds play tricks on us.

    but the very important thing i can tell you is that its best to let your coworkers know about your anxiety. everyone at work knows, so if i start to feel to bad i can excuse myself. i am not ashamed of this and neither should you be, this is a serious condition with serious (feeling) symptoms...they should be lucky they don't have the anxiety you have. just remember if anyone of your coworkers had anxiety how would you treat them.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2010
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    Re: what do you do when in a meeting?

    Thanks to everyone for their comments and advice.
    As an update . . . I had a really good day in work on Monday and was pleased, in spite of still having tiredness, nausea, aches and pains and ear/head symptoms. My anxiety problem started again on Tuesday . . . everything ok in the morning, but then I had to meet up with a 'salesman' for 20 minutes downstairs in the foyer at work. I was fine meeting up with him, but within a minute or so, I started to get hot, 'giddy' and restless. I then had a split second or so of thinking I feel aweful and sat towards the edge of my seat and 'involuntarily' put my hand towards my stomach and at that point was about to interrupt him and say something like 'sorry, I just need the loo' . . . . but I stayed and we carried on the conversation (which to all intents and purposes, was very interesting and positive) . . . I still wanted to leave the situation, but stayed until we'd completed discussions. I was pleased with the result, went back upstairs and wrote an email to the senior management group to suggest that the Board of Management should seriously consider the opportunity that had emerged from my meeting. (So, I was pleased with the outcome, but felt really unwell).
    Next I went to my car to take a blood pressure reading . . . . 188/107. Back up in the office, I carried on working but felt both exhausted, still nauseous, 'giddy' and generally unwell. I stuck it out until 3.30pm when I told my line manager that I was not feeling great and went home.
    Made a GP appointment and got one for 5pm (remarkably!).
    Had a good long chat with the GP.
    Bottom line is that he still thinks the ongoing physical symptoms relating to my 'balance', nausea, tinnitus are something he terms as 'vestibular neuritis' and that he (and I) recognise there are symptoms which relate to anxiety/stress.
    He has signed me off work again until I see the ENT consultant on 23rd July.
    Part of me is releived that I don't have to go to work and keep putting myself in meeting situations where I KNOW I experience anticipatory anxiety . . . the other part of me is very fed up and angry that one minute I can be firing on all four cylinders and the next, getting these attacks which end up with anxiety feelings.
    I fully accept what's happening, and as I mentioned in my previous post, I know how I'm supposed to deal with these situations . . . . BUT, the coping strategies don't appear to be effective enough to deal with them at the time. I feel pretty useless at the moment, especially as I don't appear to have the guts to even contemplate facing a bigger meeting with more people (which is part an parcel of my day to day job).
    I do really take on board some of the advice given above and I'm sure that I will explain to colleagues what's going on . . . but it really does interfere with my work and other people's dependence on me to do my job and progress all of the developments I'm involved with.
    I'm going to take the next ten days as an opportunity to relax and think more about my coping strategies and maybe take a look at 'the bigger picture'. As for the ear/tinnitus/balance/nausea/blood pressure issues, it's just a case of waiting to see whether the ENT guy feels there's a problem (my dad had Meniere's disease) and take it from there.
    Anyway, sorry to ramble on . . . thanks again.

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