Panic at the Conference

This week I had a conference to go to in London. As a PhD student conferences are pretty common, but dealing with anxiety can make them less enjoyable than they should be, and more challenging than expected!

For most people a quick overnight stay in London, and a two day conference would not be anything to worry about at all, but for me… it was a different story. I am now going to show you just some of the thoughts going through my head, and let you into the inner workings of my anxious brain. Prepare yourselves!

  • What if my alarm doesn’t go off?
  • What if my taxi doesn’t come?
  • What if my train is delayed, or cancelled?
  • What if I can’t get a oyster card?
  • What if my oyster card doesn’t work?
  • Where am I going again?
  • Do I have a back up route?
  • What if I don’t like the food?
  • Or if I am not hungry?
  • What do I talk to people about?
  • Do I actually tell them about my work (I work on GMO’s many people at the meeting were very anti-GMO)
  • What if they find me on twitter and realise what I work on?
  • How do I get to my hotel?
  • What am I going to have for dinner?
  • Are there places nearby?
  • What if the hotel booking has gone wrong?

Yeah… that’s just a snapshot into my brain the morning of the conference….

Source: pixabay


Some of these are reasonable worries, I think, but most now I look at the written down, really weren’t!

So, how did I cope with it all? I wrote a lot of anxiety charts- writing down the destructive thoughts going round inside my head, writing down the chances of these coming true- basically putting them all in perspective.

I am glad to say I survived the conference!! Wooh- not that I was ever not going to survive. I have done plenty of conferences before, and been to London before too- and yet at times I still felt overwhelmed by these anxious and negative thoughts..

Now I am back home and reflecting on what I did and how I coped, I am pleased. Sure I definitely had a reduced appetite on these days, and yes, I had to take some extra anxiety medication- but I went to London, I went to the conference, I networked, I asked questions, I travelled around, I survived. I am going to concentrate on all those small achievements rather than the negatives- and I can use this to back up and challenge future anxious predictions I may have revolving around a conference.

Last year I really don’t think I could have done this by myself. This year I have, and although I still have a lot to improve on, I am getting there.  And I am proud what I have achieved.


Source: Flickr, Bernard Goldbach



For more information on anxiety and self-help treatments: (Norfolk wellbeing service) (full of free to download self help charts)


Featured Image source: Wikimedia commons

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