Here is the full transcript of Alison Sommer’s TEDx Talk on Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks at TEDxCarletonCollege conference.
Alison Sommer: My first goal here today is not to have a panic attack right on stage. I have an anxiety disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD.
I have a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that causes me to become anxious or frightened when something wrong or unexpected happens. Like, if somebody sits at my seat at the table. It also causes intrusive thoughts. These are thoughts that come unbidden to my head about things that I’ve done in the past or things that I might do. Things that could happen by chance or because everybody secretly hates me.
As you might imagine, these intrusive thoughts are really quite anxiety producing. And this anxiety can manifest in different physical and emotional responses, one of which is the panic attack which I’ll be talking about more in depth later.
But, the thing that made me really hyperaware of the effects of my OCD and made me determined to spread awareness about anxiety disorders in general, is that my own symptoms were not always this severe. So, I want to start at the beginning.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been an obsessive-minded child. I would take a thing, good or bad, and roll it over in my head, over and over. I was also really shy and awkward and I know, especially at Carleton, a lot of you are thinking, “Yeah, me too”.