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How do I deal with panic?

This is one of the toughest things I have to deal with when I'm performing at gigs, particularly the louder and more crowded events like corporate parties.

I think I have previously written about my Asperger's and the hardest part of a gig for me, that being actually having to approach a table and how I have taught myself how do do it, but what if I'm at a gig and I have a full blown panic attack? It does happen.

Well, firstly, do I inform anyone of my Asperger's and/or that I'm having an attack? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes there is no need to as I'm glad to say my panic attacks are less frequent as I get older.

But, how do I deal with panic?

It happened quite recently. I was at a company function and performing close-up magic for around 200-250 people. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a problem, but the function room in which the event was taking place was far too small and, thusly, the noise levels were extremely high and it was uncomfortably crowded, which also made the space incredibly hot.

I did start to panic a little because I was struggling to be heard and couldn't think of a way to proceed with my performance.

I excused myself and stepped outside for 5 minutes where it was quieter and cooler. My heart was racing, but I thought about my options and opted for my more visual magic tricks. Thankfully, I had several on me. This calmed me down quite a lot and went back in. The rest of the night went very well indeed.

So, on this occasion, that was all I needed. Just 5 or 10 minutes to myself to take a breather, cool down and weigh my options.

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