Her heart was beating too fast. Her breathing was too quick and shallow.
I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. The words just repeated themselves over and over in her mind. She made her way to the breakroom. Thankfully no one was there. She sat on the floor in the corner, hugging her knees to her chest. I can’t go back out there. I don’t want to. Maybe I should just leave. No, I need money, and a reference, I can’t just leave. But I can’t do this. I can’t I can’t I can’t.

Another part of her brain addressed the anxiety. I know you can’t. But what can you do? Focus on your breathing. Slow your heart rate. She held her knees tightly and made her breath deepen. What’s actually the worst that could happen? She made herself list everything. Somehow naming solidified the fears, and made another part of her brain work on solutions. The worst was not realistic, so if she prepared her mind for the worst, anything less than that would be manageable.

Her heart rate had slowed, her breathing was back to normal. She still didn’t want to go back out there, but she was no longer paralyzed. She took a deep breath and released her hold on her knees. I don’t want to. But, I can. She stood. She was stronger than her fear. Anxiety would not win today.

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