08/26/2014 02:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What If I Sh*t My Pants? (During HuffPost Live)


Today, I had the honor and privilege to be part of a panel discussing anxiety on HuffPost Live, which is featuring discussions on mental health all week. It was an awesome experience being on air sharing my story, highlighting an issue that affects millions. Not to mention how pleased I am that The Huffington Post is focusing an entire week on such a hugely impacting and largely stigmatized issue. Instead of sweeping mental health under the rug, HuffPost Live is bringing it to the forefront, into the limelight, and I'm extremely proud to be a part of this effort.

However, when I woke up today, although I was excited and thrilled, I was also really anxious. I know -- mind blowing that an anxiety-ridden person would be nervous before such a big deal. I mean, I was going to be video-taped and seen by a gigantic audience -- no pressure. Here are the questions and inner dialogue that ran through my mind this morning in anticipation of the show:

"When am I getting the link? They haven't sent it yet; does that mean they don't want me to be on the panel anymore? What if they decided not to have me on, and they're not telling me?

What if I look fat? More specifically, what if my face looks fat, like chubby, round, and double-chinny? (I have my period and am retaining a lot of water.)

What if my makeup looks bad? What if my eyebrows look uneven? (They are for the record. They're two different shapes, and it annoys the hell out of me.)

What if I have lipstick on my teeth?

What if my computer or internet acts crazy and malfunctions? I'm doing this via webcam, and need complete technological access and functionality. What if the windy weather makes my Wi-Fi go out? (I checked with my fiancé. Apparently that was an impossibility.)

What if I stutter? What if I get flustered and stumble over my words or lose my train of thought?
What if I sound stupid?

What if I forget to say something I really meant to say? There's so much to share. I'm scared I'm going to forget something really important.

What if my nervous giggle comes out to play? I laugh a lot and don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time. I laugh even more when I'm nervous. What if I laugh at inappropriate moments? Or what if I laugh too loudly? I have quite the boisterous chuckle.

What if I accidentally drop the F bomb? I'm known to have verbal diarrhea and have an incredibly dirty mouth when it comes to my vocabulary; what if I can't filter it?

And the big one: What if I get the nervous sh*ts?

Ah, the nervous sh*ts... my stomach is gurgling as I write this threatening to inflame my ass at any second. I just farted. Crap. What if that happens on the air?

I'm shaking inside like a leaf. I'm short of breath. Deep breaths, Maria, deep breaths..."

Thankfully, none of my fears manifested, and the show went really well. I feel like we managed to get across some really critical stories and messages imperative to those who struggle with anxiety. It was a relief and gratifying pleasure to do it.

I also managed not to shit my pants, and I'm really proud of that.

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