I am still conferencing. In the end, thank goodness for distractions and the friend/collaborator I'm sharing a room with, with whom I can talk about trivial things when I don't have panels to distract me. I can go for a couple of hours without thinking of the thing below. Then, of course, I remember, and I am gripped - absolutely, physically gripped - by panicky sorrow. I think I panic because this felt like a chance at happiness, and it's been wrenched away, and - because happiness has been far away for a long time - I feel deeply somewhere that I have lost my only chance. I know that is illogical, not true, but certainly it's how this feels. It feels like a tragedy. I have never had a story like this.
But I can report that I tried to do some positive visualization before my panel - imagining myself calm, etc. - and it worked! The extreme presentation nerves that have been sabotaging my conference participation for a long time - and which have somehow gotten worse in the last year or so - seemed to be mostly banished, and I got through my presentation more smoothly than any I've ever given. I even remained calm in the face of an interesting, fairly strongly worded challenge from an audience member - and had a good talk with him afterward. And I even remained calm in the face of the recognition that my paper was deeply flawed, especially at its repetitive end. I'm happy about that. Happy to have successfully repressed something. If only I could visualize away the panic and sadness now.