“If you’re going through hell keep going.” –Winston Churchill
No, I’m not going through hell right now, life is pretty cool. However this quote is apt for the experience that I’m about to share today. For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from anxiety issues. Anxiety is a prolonged state of fear caused due to stress or negative thought patterns. Since I’m an introvert and shy person by nature, I have experienced anxiety everytime I’m under the limelight. I’m not talking about the actual limelight on a stage or for a performance. Holding a conversation with a new person, talking on the phone, going to a new place to get some work done, anything and everything unfamiliar makes me anxious and jittery. For the longest time, I have never been able to face a crowd of even friends or family, forget familiar people. Playing a game of dumb charades used to send a chill down my spin as I had to think on my feet while having everyone’s eyes fixated on me.
When I had started looking out for jobs after my graduation, my biggest fear was to attend an interview. It used to give me sleepless nights, I was never able to prepare for it as my anxiety would always get the better of me. I have bunked countless scheduled interviews just to avoid the fear and anxiety that I need to face before and during the interview. There were situations where I could literally feel my heart thumping and mind going blank. In one of my very first job interviews, I could barely speak!
Eventually after attending many job interviews, I got better in facing my fear. Yet, I’ve never been able to control my anxiety before an interview and have ended up cancelling many such schedules in the recent past.
I had an interview scheduled yesterday after almost 2 years.When you are in the process of attending interviews, you gradually get used to managing the fear. But when there’s a prolonged break and you have to face your fear after a long duration, the nervousness and anxiety tag along as if they never left your sight. Till the last minute, I felt like cancelling the interview. I could barely prepare for it because of my OCD related to preparation for any new event. When I need to prepare for anything, especially interviews, I put unnecessary pressure on myself to know everything under the sun. I really admire people who end up doing their best in every situation despite the fears and jitters. I somehow have to struggle really hard in this area.
After fighting rampant thoughts of cancelling it, I decided to attend it. I tried to convince my mind to play the role of a person who is confident and can handle such situations very well. I guess that’s the beauty of acting, when you persuade yourself that it’s not you who has to face the situation, you somehow muster enough strength to get over the performance anxiety. Also, the best way to conquer your fear is to face it. You might make a complete fool of yourself, but if you manage to get past the initial hesitation, you become better with each subsequent fear inducing situations.
Attending the interview, without thinking about the outcome, made me extremely happy and proud of myself. Life certainly is a culmination of all our experiences and the spirit to keep yourself happy despite the outcomes.