I spent this past week traveling to speak at a conference, and there are a lot of conferences happening in my field right now across the country. It was a great conference, and I learned so much. I could have learned more from the conference sessions, however, had I not been so busy learning the hard way what happens when you put in the work and preparation to speak, and your speaking partner does not.
My speaking partner overcommitted to a lot of things last month, right up to the day we left, and didn’t put the time into our presentation until we left. Which might have been fine had I been the one making the slides and guiding the content, but this person decided to do things at the last minute and wanted to control everything. They were not accepting of gentle feedback on this, were not really interested in how hard that made things for me, and issued apologies that were effectively meaningless because we were still in the same position of doing it all at the last minute while I missed conference sessions I had planned to attend so that we could rehearse.
Our presentation wasn’t horrible, nor was it polished or something I was proud of. I had gotten to a point of trying to minimize conflict and smoothly just do the best we could under the circumstances, then put on a brave face during and after our mess of a presentation, but I was really disappointed. This was important to me, and my speaking partner didn’t support that. Or me.
The contained emotions of a difficult traveling partner, chaotic and non-receptive speaking partner and a lot of driving wore on me to the point that some of my more difficult PTSD symptoms started to appear the day before we got back. One being paranoia, which I was able to name as such for the first time.
Yes, I experience paranoia, and it makes it nearly impossible for me to sleep and takes several days for me to calm down enough to relax. I had not previously been able to identify it as such, but now that I have, it’s comforting in that I have a way ti understand what I experience, but also frustrating because it’s one more severe symptom I have to learn how to manage. But at least I’m home, I’m working through organizing myself and reorienting myself to returning to the new office tomorrow, I’m re-establishing a routine and I’m hopeful that the transition back to my version of normal will be relatively smooth (and free of paranoia once I am able to sufficiently calm).