I get worried a lot. That’s one of the side effects of having an anxiety disorder, is worrying a lot. The first time I was told about having Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), I worried. I didn’t focus on what the psychiatrist was saying about symptoms and treatments; I was too busy worrying, and I never stopped.
I visualize the thought process in people’s heads like this. People think things all day, and their thoughts go around in their head like a news ticker on the side of a building. These thoughts might be harmless or very important but, regardless of their relevance, they move constantly, all day long, around and around the ticker. People with anxiety? They probably have two or three tickers going.
For me, I typically have two thought processes going on in my head at all times. One is the regular thoughts that everyone has about life, work, stuff like that. The other ‘ticker’ is a constant stream of anxious and depressing thoughts which run in my head – constantly.
That’s a long build up to say that this worry has affected me even here on this blog. I worry about the content I write. I worry about how personal I can (or should) be with my topics. I worry that someone will take something I write the wrong way, because writing about mental health is a tricky thing that can sometimes be like walking on a tightrope. I worry that no one cares about what I write – even though that’s never stopped me from writing before.
And here’s the other thing about all of this anxiety, all of this worrying: I absolutely, from the bottom of my heart, hate it. If I didn’t have GAD, I don’t think I would worry about too many things, if anything at all. There have been too many times where I’ve been introduced as a ‘chill guy’ to think otherwise – I’m not Type A and I don’t need to have everything in order in order to feel okay about things. That’s why it’s also hard for me to talk to people who worry about real-life things, things like money and school and hobbies. I spend my day worrying about how much I matter, if I matter at all, and how I can help people feel like they matter even if I don’t think I matter myself (did I mention the word ‘matter’ enough? I feel like I didn’t).
Worrying about whether or not I matter, or this blog matters, has stopped me from posting for the past few weeks. Yes, I’ve been busy and have been working on other things. But there will always be excuses not to do something. It comes down to that worry, that constant anxiety. And I’ve been letting it win. I can’t say that anxiety and depression won’t get in the way of me writing; some days it takes everything I have just to get out of bed and go to work, let alone anything else.
But it’s good to remind myself every once in awhile that I can be stronger than my worries and fears, that I can be stronger than GAD and being labeled as clinically depressed. And hopefully that will be enough to push through and create content that matters to those in the mental health community. As with most things I do, it will be a fight, but one that I can’t – and won’t – back down from.