The other day I experienced some group teasing. It started off innocent enough, so I laughed and tried to defend myself…but then it escalated, and soon I felt the situation spinning out of control. It ended in a severe anxiety attack, the likes of which I’ve not felt since high school. At the time, I couldn’t believe it was happening. My vision narrowed, the familiar adrenaline spike coursed through my veins, my heartbeat quickened…
Some articles I’ve read on how to deal with situations like these, say you should prepare yourself, and put up your guard. The goal: neutralize your reaction and avoid the pain from the interaction. Okay, that sounds reasonable. Though, what if you weren’t expecting it? Of course, I wasn’t expecting it at all. As soon as the attack started, I removed myself from the situation. It was the only thing my brain could do at that point. I completely shut down. I was probably in the ‘flight’ part of fight or flight mode. After some time went by (more time than I care to admit), I let it go and carried on.
Today I thought about what may have caused it, and asked myself other questions like: Were they ever teased like this? Do I tease people like that?
What this experience has given me, is the resolve to make sure I never tease people, even when I think it’s funny, so that they don’t have to feel what I felt. If I can help it, I will try. I will be aware.
Also, I will not apologize for my reaction to the teasing, or beat myself up for being (what some may consider) ‘too sensitive’. I am through feeling bad about being me.