Fiona Forbes is an award-winning TV host and producer.
Panic. Anxiety. Stress. They plagued me during my youth. I really didn’t know what a panic attack was when I first had one. Couldn’t breathe. Dizzy. Claustrophobic. Drowning. The world was closing in around me. It’s like you’re completely losing control. I was in class at UBC, and the panic overtook me… I ran from school and raced home. It happened again on the bus… I yelled at the driver to stop. I didn’t care if everyone thought I was crazy – I had to get out.
My panic attacks continued for months before I decided to see a therapist to uncover the cause. The stress of school and life was a little too much for me, and it was manifesting itself in anxiety. With my therapist’s guidance, I learned what was happening to me and why.
I’m happy to say I came out the other side and learned to cope. Back then, I was a shy nerd who was planning on going to law school, and the thought of speaking in front of a courtroom was something unfathomable to me. My dad suggested I face my fears and take a broadcasting class as a tool to get over my shyness. On the first night of the course, there was a posting for an audition to host a TV show. On a dare, I auditioned to tackle my fear of public speaking. I went to the audition with no intention of being on TV, got the job, and a week later I was hosting a live television show and discovered I loved it. I felt at home. I’m still in the TV biz today and haven’t looked back since.
Do I still get nervous? Hell yes! But armed with knowledge and the confidence I never had in my youth, I’ve learned that fear is really the same adrenaline that we get when we’re excited and it’s all about channeling it in the right direction. When it comes to toxic relationships, it may be hard, but extracting those people from your life is the best thing you can do for your soul.
Today, panic attacks are more widely understood and discussed, but back then, they were something you simply didn’t tell people about, so I suffered in silence for far too long.
To all the shy nerds who get nervous, panicky, and anxious – I’m here for you – let’s talk about it!