By CHLOE ROBERTS.
You wake up. Something doesn’t feel right. Something about today just feels… Off. You have the same amount to do today as every other day but for some reason, you’re already stressed.
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You think about work. All of a sudden, everything you have to do today seems impossible. You know you’re crap at your job. You know that everybody in the office talks about how you screw up all the time. You know that there’s no way you’ll be able to get everything done that you need to get done. You know that you’re a fraud and that you shouldn’t even have the job that you have. You know that today is the day someone’s going to notice that you have no idea what you’re doing. You know that those few times you did well were just flukes.
You have to get out of bed, but for some reason the idea of leaving your room is petrifying. Should you call in sick? You can’t – you’ve done that too many times now. The idea of hearing your boss sigh down the phone line is enough to get you as far as the bedroom door.
But as soon as you put your hand on the doorknob, you’re crippled with fear. Call your boss. No, don’t – there’s too much to do. No, call. No, don’t. They already think you’re terrible; calling in sick again will only make things worse.
Somehow, you make it to the office. But you’re focussing so hard on not completely freaking out that it’s hard for you to concentrate on anything else. You sit at your desk, silently. You try to practice the breathing you’ve learned. Breathe in, breathe out. Don’t cry.
Oh god – somebody wants you to go to a meeting. Inside, your body panics. You try to maintain your composure while your heart beats faster and faster. You break into a cold sweat. Everything around you feels surreal but perfectly normal at the same time. The room feels smaller. The idea of looking up from your computer, let alone having to speak, is almost too much. Inside, your mind is screaming.
Your hands start shaking as you try to cover up the fact it feels like you’re having a heart attack at this very moment. People around you are chatting and laughing. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? Yesterday you were laughing with them. Now you’re frozen at your desk, breathing like you’ve just run a marathon and staring at the floor. WHY ARE YOU SUCH A FAILURE? Somebody asks if you’re okay. Oh god. They’ve noticed that you’re falling apart. You must look ridiculous. Why can’t you just feel the way you did yesterday? SNAP OUT OF IT YOU IDIOT.
Your heart beats faster. It feels like it may burst out of your chest. Your breathing gets heavier. Your whole body shakes. What if this is a heart attack? What if you’re about to die? No, you know that you’re not. You know you’re just panicking. But if you know that, why can’t you just stop? You’re an adult. You have work to do. Stop being such a baby and get it together.
You can’t. It’s impossible to sit in silence any longer. Whatever is bubbling up on the inside is about to explode out of you. But you can’t let that happen in front of anyone. Quick – hide. The bathroom is best.
You spend half an hour hiding on the toilet. You want to go back to work but you’re frozen. Like if you move an inch everything will fall apart. The only thing that eventually gets you up is the decision to go home. As quickly as you can, you pack your stuff and leave. No explanations. You know you’re going to be in trouble, but right now you’d do anything to avoid erupting in front of your colleagues.