Anxiety WAY out of proportion to situ...

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-21-2003
Anxiety WAY out of proportion to situ...
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 6:18am

Hi all,

I'm a new poster. Please don't be too harsh with me if you can help it. I'm fully aware that my current anxiety is obscenely out of proportion to the situation. I'm ashamed of myself for feeling this way, but my reaction is so visceral and intense that I haven't figured out a way to control it.

The only thing that "happened" last night is that my Grade 8 daughter didn't win the language arts award at the graduation ceremony. She had a 95 average in all strands of language arts, everyone thought she would win, and even her teacher (rather unprofessionally) had hinted that she would probably win. A boy in the same class as her (one of four Grade 8 classes) ended up winning instead. Big deal, right?

For some bizarre reason, I experienced the whole thing as a public humiliation. (The auditorium was full of parents who had known my daughter for years.) Images of all these other kids walking up to the stage for their awards keep rolling in my head. I also start to catastrophize, worrying that my daughter will lose her passion for writing, become ordinary, struggle in life, have a mental breakdown, etc.

I have an elephant on my chest and my whole body is wound up with tension. The emotional pain is unrelenting. I think I'll have to start meds again today, after a 9-month hiatus. I know from experience that when my anxiety gets this bad, all the self-talk in the world doesn't make a dent in it.

I HATE being this way. I'm enormously grateful for my wonderful daughter (and son). Even though I never lose sight of how lucky I am, I still go through this physically and emotionally draining anxiety whenever things don't go their way -- especially things that mean a lot to them.

Overinvested in my kids? Guilty as charged. But it's not like I don't have a life of my own: I'm a successful freelance writer, I love my work, and I'm constantly seeking new challenges.

Right now I would really welcome some support from people who may understand the irrationality and intensity of the whole thing. Thanks in advance.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-03-2006
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 3:56pm

Hi Freelance, I am a new poster too. I think I posted my intro about the same time as you!

I totally understand the "out of proportion" and issues with "public humiliation". That's a big one for me, too. I'm sorry I don't have any useful information, other than you're not alone! I've started taking Buspar.

You should be very proud of your daughter, too; she's still a winner in all that she gained from the experience, excellent grades, and the knowledge she will carry with her to the next grade. Sometimes, in situations like that, I like to think that perhaps the other person really needed it, like the confidence boost might change things for that boy, whereas you know your daughter can be confident within herself of her abilities to succeed.

The public humiliation thing is a big one for me, and over the most absurd things, too. I try to think about how I would view another person if it was someone rather than me, and act accordingly.

Best wishes!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2004
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 6:02pm
Hello & welcome, Freelance. I am sorry to hear that this has caused you so much distress): Since you understand anxiety & have been on meds in the past, I can only suggest that this may be a temporary setback. Over the years it seems(for me) that I have been able to recover my balance quicker when something devastating like this happens. I do know that feeling of uneasiness that nips @ my heels for awhile until full recovery. I have been thrown by a loop too many times & allowed it to control me. It's possible that you can turn things around by using your past experiences to the best advantage & using your coping skills to move forward, rather than backward.
It's interesting that you felt this as a public humiliation. Many years ago in therapy, I was able to relate my fears of *losing it* in public places, to my mom's actions when I was a child. She constantly kept after us to be on our best behavior & NOT MAKE PUBLIC SPECTACLES of ourselves. This may be something anxiety sufferers have in common. Noone likes to look bad in front of others, but for us, it is 1000 times worse & we feel as if all eyes are on us & we're responsible even for our children's success or failure. How is your dd taking it, BTW? Does she know how you feel?
I hope you can recover quickly. This is not a flaw in your character, but in your chemistry. You're an ok person & your anxiety does not define you. You have many blessings to consider. It's hard to see that right now. We understand. GL & GBU! (((hugs))) jan
PS I'm a mom & believe me, I have considered wearing a sign that says," I became a parent to be humiliated over & over again. I enjoy it." Of course, that's on my good days;)