I had a revelation about myself today.
Something I had suspected but now it’s pretty much confirmed.
I had lunch with some of our company’s high-level management personnel this afternoon, along with a few other colleagues from the engineering department.
Our company’s division head was visiting from Germany this whole week, and along with his visit they had organized luncheons daily, each day with different departments and the key directors from each, as part of a ‘get to know you’ type of session.
Today was the engineering department, and I came a little later than the rest. I sat at the end of the table, near the head of engineering of our company, and our operations head on my left.
Basically, I was sitting with older men who were many years my senior, but many levels higher ranking than me. Some of them which I directly report to myself, along with their own bosses.
Me being naturally an introvert and an over-thinker, one who had esteem issues while growing up, my initial reaction were to have feelings of discomfort and nervousness.
Although I had been able to manage these feelings better in the last few years, it still resurfaces during the initial stage of any similar event.
Midway through the conversation and while chewing on food, I bit into my own flesh.
There it is.
A small chunk of internal flesh sheared off.
An immediate feeling of dismay came over me.
I thought about not being able to enjoy spicy, crispy good Malaysian food for the next few days, maybe up to a week due to the pain.
And I chided myself for letting this happen, again, as this has happened before where I caused my own ulcers by biting into my flesh on accident.
All this took a few seconds.
Then I gathered myself and resumed the conversations at the table.
I hid the pain from the rest around me. I carried on as if I was completely fine.
The rest of the week I managed the ulcers with oral gel medication and by drinking lots of water.
Now, it occurred to me that this was not the first time this has happened.
Looking back at stressful seasons of my life, I tended to develop mouth ulcers around these times.
Either by my own doing of biting myself accidentally, or unconsciously when I slept at night. Sometimes, they even developed on their own.
Accidental biting appears to be one of the ways my mind and body manifest my internal stress and anxiety.
The problem is, having mouth discomfort just adds to my feelings of anxiety.
Especially for a foodie who gravitates towards food as a release.
So if you are like me, I would like to know how you cope with this reaction to stress.
As for me, I have had to make myself really mindful of this tendency of mine to avoid repeating these events. Thankfully, it seems to be working for now.