I’m writing this blog post today to hack away at my anxiety and to try to accomplish something for myself. I would like to keep track of the things that I do to overcome my mental illness, and to offer it as a resource to others who may be looking for change in their lives as well. This post is dedicated to some of the things that are stopping me from moving forwards today, and what I’m doing to challenge myself and overcome those barriers.
The first hurtle I have to jump over is racing thoughts. I was pacing around my house with a thousand ideas in my mind before I decided to sit down and write a blog post. “How will I become independent” is a constant question in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking of ways I can manage my illness and find a steady income. Grandiose thoughts can be a problem, as I have an itch to start my own business or pay my way through other means then a 9-5. I have lots of ideas for what to do when things are rolling, when things are big, but nothing for right now. So I’ll pace back and forth, thinking of all these things I would like to accomplish, all at once. Which usually leads to a big let down, I go in circles for hours until I decide it’s all too hard, and I start browsing the internet instead. I overcame this today by having the courage to pick something. I don’t know what other word to use to describe it, it took courage to stop thinking about what will work, and just try something to see if it will work.
I also deal a lot with anxiety, for me it’s a feeling of impending doom that’s always there. I can’t relax, it’s impossible for me to sit still or unwind on the couch. Even worse is trying to get myself to do something. With all the racing thoughts it can take hours just to decide where to start. With anxiety, there’s this underlying fear that moving forwards means change. Ideally, change should be embraced and met with curiosity of how to make the best of things. With anxiety, it’s like you have a crystal ball that sais “doing this means death”. You see all the reasons it won’t work, the ways you’re incompetent, and all the time you would waste trying something. In the moment, it’s not so clear what the problem is either. It’s just a feeling, that overtakes all of you, that you can’t stop and do the thing you need to do. You’re brain just sais “I won’t”. I overcame this in a weird sort of way. I just sort of did all the things I was physically capable of, without attaching myself to what those actions meant. What I mean is I knew I was physically capable of setting up my computer at my desk, and using my fingers to type words. I knew I was physically capable of sitting down to watch wordpress tutorials. So I just sort of went through the motions. I watched tutorials, without really thinking about my website. I played around with my blog settings without thinking too much about what I was doing. I literally typed “I’m writing this blog post today…” and just sat there until I had an idea to work with. It was all quite easy in hindsight. Getting myself to start was really the only hard part.
Low self-esteem is another barrier that I face in accomplishing what I desire. Feeling like I can’t do it, that my attempts will be futile or childish or humiliating. Objectively I can say that we need to fail to succeed, but subjectively failure can be a frightening experience. It’s easy to have a perspective that views failures as a pattern I can’t escape. I don’t know how to describe how I overcame this, other then with, you guessed it, Courage. It took a lot of courage to just say “I’m doing this, and I don’t care what you think!”.
So I’ve decided to just DO something. I’m making the best with what I have, and trying to learn what I can as I go. I’m overcoming the things that are holding me back as best as I can.
I’ve been getting little glimmers of excitement about starting a blog for a long time now. Nothing really amazing or joyful, just every once in awhile it seems like a good idea. I think this is important, because I chose this idea based on the fact that it had been around for awhile.
So I’m having all this anxiety today about what to do with myself and how to better my life. And this blog idea keeps coming up. Not really exciting me, just an idea out of hundreds of others that keeps popping up. I decided to grab onto it and run with it. How did I finally decide on something?
I decided to just do it. But as simple as that sounds, there was some thinking behind it. My mind works in funny ways, I’ll do my best to describe how I got myself to overcome the anxiety and do something. I decided to waste time. One of the biggest things that stops me from moving forwards when I’m depressed or anxious is that everything feels so pointless. I decided that I was going to sit down, put some time into something, and possibly end up with no result. I decided that I was going to possibly make an idiot of myself. I picked something that I felt I had the potential to do, just not the motivation to do. I’m feeling more anxiety then depression today, so it’s not so much that I can’t do something with myself, more so that I don’t know what I should do with myself.
And from then on, once you take the first step, its really just about taking things as they come. For instance, I was watching tutorials on how to create a blog. With my anxiety levels so high, I could only sit for a few minutes at a time. The important thing is I kept coming back to it, forcing myself to sit down again and take in as much as I could. The cool thing is I actually learned something from it. I had trouble sitting down to make a blog post, but in the end it came down to simply sitting in front of the computer. I got up, I paced, and I smoked the entire time I wrote this, but either way I came back and I did it. It took me a lot longer then you might suspect, and I took a million breaks, but I did it. And if I keep practising, I can only get better at it.
This blog post might feel a little empty of content, but even the act of doing a boring blog post has taught me things. I’m learning about the way that I write, how to articulate myself, and how I can be more helpful in the future. I’m learning ways to say something without needing so many words to do it, I’m learning how ideas look in words, and I’m learning about how my own mind works. I’m learning how to link ideas together, and what makes ideas hard to understand or articulate.