I froze. My chest tightened up, and I felt my heart was pounding instead of beating. I can't quite describe it, but it was as if I was trying to look for something to focus my vision on, but I couldn't find anything. It was a sensation that I don't want to remember, but at the same time, it's something that I will never forget. My first anxiety attack.
Matter of fact, it happened this week in my lab class. I already didn't do too well on the lab that my TA gave back, and I knew that I probably didn't do too well on the quiz that we just took either. So, at that point, I was already feeling pretty anxious and uptight. Not to mention that we had to do another lab with a partner, which would be the person next to us.
As usual, I prepared ahead of time for the lab, and I knew how to do the calculations. The lab procedure consisted of two trial runs, and we got through the first run with no problem. However, the second run was a different story. Our data did not come out as we expected it to, and we even did the run over four times using different machines, getting the same results.
At that point, I already felt myself breaking down. I couldn't focus, and I kept forgetting what I was doing because I was so worried about not finishing on time, getting incorrect data, and losing a significant amount of points again. My partner insisted that our data was fine, but both my TA and I knew that it was far from fine because she even said that our second pair of data plots did not look good. I refused to hand in our graphs, but we only had 20 minutes left, and my partner did not want to run the experiment again.
However, I convinced her to do it a fifth time, and she did not look happy at all. Once again, the data that we collected produced the same incorrect plot, and I felt helpless. I asked my TA what we should do, and she advised us to hand in what we already had because we were running out of time. At the same time, my partner bombarded me with questions about how to do the calculations. At that moment, I lost all of my focus, and I felt myself collapse on the inside.
My chest tightened, my heart began racing, and my hands started trembling. Tears built up in my goggles, and I felt a rush of anxiety, fear, and tension take over. It was incredibly overwhelming, but I didn't want to make a scene with my TA, all of my classmates, and both course instructors present in the room. I took a few minutes to gather myself, feeling numb both physically and mentally. In the end, I took my TA's advice and handed in what I had, knowing how wrong my second run was. She told me that it was going to be okay and that lab was only a one-credit class anyways, but no matter the credit amount, I still wanted to do well and actually obtain the desired results for my own sake.
Afterward, I dragged myself back to my dorm and took a long steaming hot shower. I didn't have much time to relax though because I had a math midterm coming up that same day at night, so I didn't actually process what had happened until now as I am writing this. Even thinking back to it makes a little bit of the anxiety come back, so I don't think about it because I don't ever want to feel that way again.