I've been thinking increasingly about:
a) blogging as a medium for writing rather than just posting pictures. Some of my favorite bloggers post almost entirely thoughtful narrative accounts of what's going in their life (and some of my other favorites serve purely to fuel my rampant materialism, so it evens out I guess), and
b) what am I actually willing to share on here? Even with a no names policy to protect the innocent (and the total bastards) to what extent does it make sense to go on about my personal business? This is where you're all thinking either "who gives a crap your personal business, you internet stranger" or "oh yes, please tell me you're going to share all the pointless details of your daily struggles because I eat that shit up." As I personally fall into the second of these categories (give me more personal details! I don't read GOMI for nothing. Blogs are better than soap operas as far as I'm concerned), I have for the moment decided to give the longer more personal blog post format a go. Interspersed with the occasional shopping post, although I have to say that even I'm getting turned off by some of the crass materialism that blogs and Instagram seem to promote in myself lately.
So what exciting tale of personal nonsense do I offer today? Anxiety, that's what. The fact that I've been struggling with anxiety (mainly generalized and some situational issues) since I was a teenager. There were a few months back when I was about 20 when I struggled with daily panic attacks (thanks, BC hormone induced madness!), but I've pretty much got a lid on that now. Still, the primary limiting factor in my life has been anxiety. I generally do what I need to do professionally because that's sufficient as a driving factor, but when it comes to my personal life it's traditionally been a lot easier to just stay at home (or within walking distance from home) rather than go out and do stuff.
I think my worst case situational scenario for anxiety would be to take the chinatown bus to NY. That would kill me. It would be like an X-Files episode where some young woman spontaneously combusted because she had a rare condition that caused her to start vibrating at an intense frequency whenever she was trapped in a public bus for an extended distance. It's unfortunate. But it would make for a pretty exciting obituary notice.
Of course it's all vaguely ridiculous from the outside, but whatever your issue happens to be, panic, OCD, PSTD, social anxiety, GAD, it feels like the most real and important thing in the world at the time. It's hard to explain what panic or anxiety feels to someone who has only ever experienced anxiety in a casual non-crippling kind of way. But it's all consuming, and rationalizing it away does not work. Quite frankly there are few things more offensive than people who tell you to just rationalize the fear and get over it. That works about as well as yelling at someone who is depressed that they should really buck up.
But I'm working on it, and do I think it's gotten better over the past year or so. Not thanks to pharma (I have a bottle of klonopin that I got last year that I've taken a grand total of zero pills from, because taking pills gives me anxiety. There's a conundrum for you!), and not really thanks to therapy either (although talking to someone about school stress has been immensely helpful in other regards). I think what's primarily helped for me is a) meditating, b) exercise, and c) realizing that I need to stop fighting anxiety and just accept that it's always going to be there. I've read a few books on the topic and that message has probably helped me than any other (and if you catch me mumbling something under my breath while looking vaguely pale and clammy it's probably "function with fear.").
Most recently I've been reading this workbook. The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety. I definitely recommend it. As the title suggests (no shit sherlock) the book is focused on mindfulness and living with anxiety rather than fighting it or trying to reason your way out of it. So far so good, although I have yet to get to the chapters at the end where they make you actually go out and do stuff. But the small things that trigger my anxiety aren't bothering me as much right now at least.
It is kind of counterintuitive to have to accept the fact that you are anxious. After years of wanting nothing more than for your anxiety to die a horrible death by stabbing (and snakes, and then maybe setting it on fire and dropping it from an airplane into a pit of more fire), you're suddenly supposed to just accept it and stop fighting? Still, it's worked better than the alternatives for me at least.
I suppose it's a bit like those hilariously awful Abilify commercials where the improved scenario involves you being followed around by a sad bathrobe or a melancholy umbrella forever. I mean, shit! Am I going to be harassed by an anxious bathrobe for the rest of my life?
|Don't look now lady, but...|
Apparently, yes. I am going to be harassed by bathrobes and umbrellas forever. But the book makes the valid point that it's something like a tug-o-war (let's start mixing metaphors shall we?) where if you just drop the rope and stop fighting, then you'll be able to life your life even if the rope is still there. Seems fair enough. We'll see what happens I guess. But I think my main point is that as I get ready to graduate and be done with school once and for all I can't help but wonder what my life would look like minus the constraint of anxiety. I mean, minus that I could do anything (I mean, clearly not anything, but you get my gist). So I'm putting in the work over the next few months in the hopes that I'll not only be done with school but will also be done wasting my time basically wrestling with myself.
Anyone else have any thought on this? From my experiences online I suspect that people who blog or spend all their time on forums are some of the most anxious and depressed people out there. Either that or we just have a medium to actually be vocal about it without immediate stigma.