I began my blogging journey five weeks ago. I had a story to tell about Sunshine beginning school, and I wanted a place to tell it.
I am glad that I found my place. Since I began this blog, I have received many messages from people telling me that they understand, they feel it too, and they want to share in their own way.
I have had requests to forward certain posts on to others because they know people who might need to see my words. People have told me that I made them cry real tears for various reasons. My baby sister set a screenshot of a paragraph from one of my posts as her phone’s background. She told me that she shared my post with her counselor. She said, “This is my family. This is who we are.”
I have been complimented on my style and supported during my journey. I have opened my heart up to people who knew me and yet did not know me. I have shared myself with the internet, which is no small undertaking.
I have been honest. My stories have all been my truth.
Yes, I am glad that I started this blog, that I have bared my soul, that I have made connections to people who fight long and hard. Tired people who needed to know that there are other tired people.
I write about my anxiety.
It is how I process my thoughts and find my balance. I have been writing about my anxiety since I was a teen. Even before I had named my anxiety, I journaled about it. I have notebooks still stashed at home filled with my fears and concerns and off-balance thoughts.
As a teenager, I had a Xanga account where I wrote and felt connections with other people who understood.
Writing about my anxiety here has been cathartic. It has been medicinal. It has been terrifying.
My anxiety blog causes me anxiety.
There are clients at my work. People who should only know me as a professional. I accept that, I acknowledge that, and I am grateful for that. I had a dream a few weeks ago that one of my clients found my anxiety blog and shared it widely. I woke in a panic, convinced that I had crossed boundaries I never would have wanted to cross. I checked to be sure that my very public blog did not in anyway contain my very private name.
I write stories about my feelings regarding certain events that, because they are tinged with the darkness of my mental illness, skew toward the negative. I say that people I know did or said little things that hurt me in ways they could not have known or expected. It is not their fault. I do not ascribe malicious intent to these events, conversations, or behaviors, but I write about them to highlight how seemingly small activities can trigger my anxiety. I then worry that people involved in those experiences will become enraged that I was honest about my own self in regard to my reaction to them. I worry that I will spark their negative self-talk. I worry that I am making it harder for someone else.
I worry that I might be too open and that someone might decide to use my words against me. I worry that I may secretly be derided for the way I have experienced certain facets of my life.
I worry that people will change who they are around me simply because I have professed anxious feelings in regards to certain minutiae.
I worry that my mother will read my blog and think I have tainted my childhood because she might cling to a specific sentence and miss the whole. She might see the tree and miss the forest.
I worry that someone might think I am lying.
My Imposter Syndrome has told me that someone might think I am making all of this up for attention and that I do not suffer as I claim to.
I worry that, when I link my posts to my Facebook page, that no one will read it or, worse, that someone, anyone, might be annoyed by another one of my posts.
Yes, my anxiety blog causes me anxiety.
My second blog post was an introductory post. I wanted to share a little about my family. Someone commented on my post critiquing my style, giving me unsolicited advice on how to improve, and telling me that I was alienating my readers. She told me to show and not tell my experiences. She said I was not revealing enough. That I should be more open and honest with my readers.
I was very gracious in my response to her, but I stood with my phone in my hand feeling a little dumbstruck.
I disagreed with her rationale. I did not see what she saw. And then, I thought, what kind of person goes to a blog about anxiety and tells the author how to write it better?
I must assume that the answer to that is “someone without anxiety.”
So, even as I write now, I am feeling anxious in case she reads this and has more critical comments to support her position.
She will probably never come back. I am sure she stumbled on my blog, said her peace, and went back into the ether, promptly forgetting her commentary. Or maybe even feeling as though she did me a favor.
I would like to thank her, though. She did do something for me, but not exactly what she thought she did.
She made me remember that part of what makes my journey difficult is that not everyone understands it. Sometimes, I am surprised by the notion that not everyone overanalyzes themselves in the way I do. Sometimes, I find it hard to believe that not everyone focuses on everyone else’s darker motives.
The truth is that not everyone has darker motives. They simply act and do without focusing on the little details because their brains do not call upon them to obsess in the way that mine does.
So while I share stories where I might feel slighted, that woman who commented on my blog with her critical eye provides some evidence that the slight is not always intentional.
I love people. I really do. I work hard to focus on the good in people. I believe that most people act in ways that they think are kind and honest and helpful to the best of their abilities.
It is my anxiety that disagrees with me.
It will always be difficult to explain the fact that I can know something completely but that my brain still needs to be convinced.
I know my blog is worthwhile, but sometimes, I have to convince my brain of that.
Luckily for me, I have received so much support for my written words that I have felt bolstered in my endeavors.
So here I am, once again, deciding to do something when my anxiety casts doubts on it.
I want to thank those of you who have read my posts. Any of them. I want to thank those of you who have reached out to me about them. Ever. I want to thank those of you who have commented on my posts. Here or anywhere I have shared them.
And I want to thank the woman who critiqued my second post.
Every moment is a lesson, and I love learning.