Panic Attack during a work meeting, had an argument with my husband in the morning

Today at 8 AM my husband came home from a work trip. I had a demo meeting in the morning and I was preparing for it when he arrived. He was in a good mood but I was anxious about the meeting. He wanted me to make him breakfast. I snapped. (I shouldn’t have).

He knew I had demo meeting and it is possible that he did not know how stressed I was about it. I apologized immediately and told him I had a meeting and I was stressed. I went a little overboard apologizing because I cried and he immediately became cold (not blaming).

I could tell that I was loosing my confidence. I started to forget what I was supposed to demo, I started to feel light headed. The meeting started and spoiler alert! I bombed it.

I had a panic attack in the middle of the meeting and I started to apologize to my team, during the meeting, about how I let them down. I have been working in this industry for 8 years now. I have never been this flustered or this embarrassed at work.

What am I doing wrong? How do I handle these situations? I’m worried that this will become the norm, my anxiety. I have always thought of myself as strong at least when it comes to my work but today’s incident has shaken to my core.


Hi Mel

I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I think you just had too much on your plate and didn’t realize it. Maybe if you have an argument with someone or something stressful happens, sit and ground yourself first before you move to something else? Or before a meeting at work or interview etc, do the same. There are a lot of mindfulness grounding technics that can guide you if you need help too.

Everyone has anxiety and everyone deals with it differently. Some have to have therapy for it and some can use other coping skills. If this is something that doesn’t usually happen to you, then it’s ok and just remember to take time to ground yourself before you go into stressful situations. You could even make an appointment and talk to a therapist and see how that goes.

When it’s happening and you’re with others, just excuse yourself and go somewhere safe and just breathe and use whatever coping skills that work for you. Distraction works well for me and a lot of other people.


Hey @Mel,

Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your experience here. I imagine how draining this series of events was for you, and I hope you’ve managed to get some rest since it happened.

You described really well how sometimes an event can put us into a very negative spiral in which everything feels out of control. Suddenly, it feels as if no matter which move we make, it would have a negative outcome. A little bit like walking on eggshells while having some deep feeligns inside of us that need to be put somewhere so we can relax a little bit.

Your anxiety played a role in the beginning of the situation for sure, and it’s understandable. Meetings in general are quite stressful, especially if there are important outcomes to us. However, I’m wondering if what happened afterwards was only the result of your anxiety. There was an argument with your husband, and it sounds to me that being in a confrontational situation (with all the feelings it involved) was quite triggering to you. Have you ever been in situations of arguments/confrontations like that before that made you feel really distressed?

I’m asking this because the situation you’ve described and how you’ve reacted is very relatable to me personally. I can literally feel how much you would have wanted to just go away from everything and everyone and hide, while really you needed a giant and reassuring hug at the time. I’m personally very easily distressed and panicked by arguments of any kind. Whenever my partner would have been upset, even for reasons that are not related to me, I’d start to feel even more anxious, uncomfortable, vulnerable, and as you said to really feel shaken in my core. The most logical reason for me is because as a child I’ve witnessed situations of violence and abuse that made me feel the same way. It’s like an old fear imprinted in my body and mind, and seeing someone upset or arguing brings me back to this old yet very present vulnerability. As a result, I would cry easily (and feel upset for that), I’d feel guilty, like I’m too much, a failure, a burden. All of these thoughts and feelings would happen in a short time, in a very intense way.

I don’t know if any of this would resonate with your heart too. Though maybe there would be something interesting for you to dig in, not just regarding your anxiety, but also maybe some kind of fear of conflict/confrontation. It seemed to have triggered some insecurity in you, which is worth to be understood so you can, in the future, make sure to take care of yourself at the moment. For me, for example, it has been to literally tell myself out loud: “I am safe. I don’t control how I feel right now but I’m going to feel better soon. I need to let it pass”. I pictured once that it was my inner child revealing itself, so I tried my best to care for myself as I would do with a scared 7-8 yrs old me, if that makes sense.

Hope this helps a little bit and is not too off-topic. In any case, you’re not alone, friend. And you are certainly not weird or guilty for having strong emotions sometimes. We all have our own insecurities that are deeply rooted. Sometimes it manifests itself pretty violently.

With time and a better understanding of our own limits though, we can learn to react in ways that are not damaging and aim for soothing ourselves when we need it the most. :hrtlegolove:

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