One of the requirements of being a HealthyPlace blogger is personal experience. In other words, having an anxiety disorder qualifies me to be one of the authors of the anxiety blog. More specifically I have panic attacks, crippling self-doubt, paranoia, and general anxiety. My blog application was one of the only times this was a plus.
Weekly blogging isn’t an easy thing to do, despite the number of them out there. Topics need to be chosen, research done, comments read and responded to, titles selected, keywords considered, pictures picked, then it needs to be written, formatted, and scheduled all before it goes live for all the world to (hopefully) see.
As a writer, I know other writers, and the general consensus is that publishing anything, even a blog, is stressful. It invokes a sense of anxiety in the most grounded of people. A part of the writer – his work – is out there, waiting to be judged by strangers.
Anxiety – What if People Hate Me?
I believe we can all agree that writing something people love is a great feeling. I find it rewarding and validating when something I wrote has resonated with or made someone smile. Maybe a piece I wrote taught you something, enlightened you to a social issue, or just allowed you to see the world from my point of view, even if just for a moment.
But every single time I hit “publish,” I can only think about one thing: What if people hate me? There is no end to the pressure I feel. My blog manager is an award-winning writer, a supreme editor with an eye for detail I can’t even comprehend. Frankly, the very fact she reads what I write is enough to push me over the edge. My co-author for this blog is the author of three books! I am a writer, too, but I feel out of my league.
Anxiety – What if I Hate Myself?
The real issue isn’t with my words, my writing, my work ethic, or even an entire Internet filled with people willing to share their views, both good and bad. The real issue is wondering, what if I hate myself?
The problem with paranoia, anxiety, and self-doubt is that I am willing to believe any negative thing a person throws my way — literally, anything. I am more likely to believe an insult over a compliment any day. It is called disordered thinking for a reason.
This is the reality of life with an anxiety disorder. Our brains are wired this way. There are medications, treatments, coping skills, therapies, and an infinite number of hints, tips, and suggestions but, at the end of the day, there is just some anxiety that gets through.
Learning How to Live with Anxiety
I am bold enough to say I have learned how to live with anxiety. I also find it somewhat amusing to have “anxiety blogger anxiety.” I do ignore the “voice in my head” more than I listen to it, but it never completely goes away. That is the reality of my life. It isn’t fair and it isn’t my fault, but it is real.
The amount of anxiety I tolerate is a minor miracle and a real credit to how much I truly want to succeed.
Owning my anxiety might be the only way to outsmart this pesky disorder. Because every single time I publish something, give a speech, or hold my head up when every fiber of being is telling me to hide under my bed, I triumph over anxiety.
Cosmically, I hope someone is keeping score.