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I'm a 31 year old lady who has been confident all my life. I got a promotion, which involved giving presentations, speaking in front of large groups (300-500 people) and leading important meetings. Before my promotion, I was quite happy to speak to groups of people, after my promotion, not the case. Within 6 months, something very strange happened to me. People would meet me in the corridor, ask me how I was, making small talk...all of a sudden, my heart started to race, my eye/eyebrow was twitching, I couldn't look them in the eye and had the 'fight or flight' feeling. For a split second I wanted to run in the other direction. WHY!? I did not know. This then grew. My first occasion of speaking in front of 300 people. Something I would have usually felt quite confident about...not anymore. I remember standing at the side of the hall, heart pumping out of my chest, dry mouth, sick to my stomach, walls closing in on me, mind racing, thinking up a million excuses that would justify me running out of the hall...then taking to the mic, hardly being able to talk..then that 'fight or flight' feeling hitting me full force. Standing mute in front of a whole hall of people and contemplating, with a beating heart, running out of the room. I couldn't continue, managed to mumble a few words and pass onto my colleague. Afterwards, I used the excuse that I wasn't feeling well. What was happening to me?! I couldn't understand it. No matter what my head told me.....'There is nothing to be fearful of, you know what you're talking about, what's the big deal'..the anxiety in my body ruled and took over rendering me mute and a nervous wreck. And of course, things then started to snowball out of control..sleepless nights before meetings, worried about bumping into people in the street etc this state of anxiety could hit me at any time, anywhere and I had no control over it. It was ruining my life. Lying in bed, heart racing for weeks in the lead up to a presentation/meeting..lying in bed crying because I could see no way out and only felt that things were getting worse. Until Propranolol.
Now to explain, i'm the sort of person who has never ever done drugs (prude you shout!) and I would always avoid headache/cold tablets. I like the body to take care of itself. So when I was at my wits end and went to the doctors, I was willing to try anything. I actually thought that the increased anxiety could possibly cost me my job or put me on long term sick. Again, i'm someone who is never absent from work. My doc suggested the beta blocker propranolol. My heart sank. i thought, 'A beta blocker, what's that gonna do' How wrong was I.
I actually had anxiety about taking propranolol haha! I eventually took 10 mg, felt quite ok. However the real test would be the presentation at work the following week. I had already cried myself to sleep countless times at the thought of it...so, I thought, I have to give this a go. Presentation time (despite crying the full 24 hours before) I took a 10 mg when i woke up as my heart was already thumping out of my chest. The presentation was at 2pm, I took another 20 mg (30mg in total) half an hour before the presentation. WOW!!!! I could not believe it. No racing heart, no twitching, yes I still felt fear and nerves but there was not fight or flight feeling. i delivered a 45 minute presentation AND took difficult questions at the end and totally sailed through it. I felt in control and confident. Propranolol has literally saved me. I take 20mg on work days and the difference is unbelievable. I used to get the same anxiety about small meetings, not anymore. I feel totally in control, no physical symptoms heart racing etc. I cannot recommend Propranolol enough. I feel like i'm back to my old self.
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