“When I was in tenth grade, something happened that shook my reality. One day, I was sitting in the back of the class. The principal was there and was observing the teacher. I wasn’t really listening and when it was my turn to read I had no idea where we were. Suddenly, I felt this immense pressure and I started to freak out. I felt my heart racing.

The teacher told me where we were and I began reading. But my heart was still beating like crazy in my chest! Suddenly I couldn’t breathe anymore. I couldn’t get any air. And so I stopped. I couldn’t talk.

My head began to feel really heavy and it started getting dark from the outside. Everyone was listening and watching. I had no idea what was happening to me and it was terrifying.

It was my first panic attack. I hadn’t even heard of panic attacks before that. 

I think that’s one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had. And the biggest fear I have right now. I’ve not really shared it with anyone. I’m not sure why. Sometimes I do have a problem with sharing vulnerable things about myself. 

When it affects how people see me, I think that’s when I really feel the pressure…

I’ve always had a very good sense of self-worth. I had a lot of experiences which made me confident. At school, I always had a very ‘high social status’. My Dad always supported me. And I was always very good at sports! I noticed that if you’re good at sports in school you’re rarely ever bullied. 

Sometimes I wonder if the ‘ego’ I developed was a defence mechanism to hide my feeling of inferiority. And I think that in certain situations it’s probably that. But also in other situations, I’m really sure it comes from an inner abundance. It’s very hard to differentiate between the two. 

I don’t have a problem with myself, I don’t really fear other people’s opinions. But the pressure is almost always about maintaining that image people have of me.”


☕️ 118/500 ? Bucharest, Romania

About 500 Coffees ☕️

I'm on a mission to get coffee with 500 strangers from all over the world. I want to speak to humans everywhere about their lives and how they experience the world. And cafes are the perfect place for this. Comfortable, cosy, illuminated with a cacophony of other human voices. 

Join the conversation

Become part of our safe place for meaningful conversation online. Get exclusive content, thoughtful conversation starters and a chance to open up about your own human experience.

Privacy Policy