I’ve struggled with crippling anxiety and depression for a couple years now. It’s not a fun thing. It’s made me more of a xenophobe than I’d really like – I don’t go outside because there /are scary and stressful things/ out there. I tend not to try new things because they, too, are scary and stressful. I stick to my safety nets and comfort zones to the point that BEING WILD AND CRAZY is so beyond me, I have no idea how to even go about it if I wanted to. It’s a pretty pathetic way to live, if I’m being perfectly honest.
The last few days I’ve had fits of anxiety about various things that seemed unrelated until I sat down and actually wrote out what they were, and I realized every single bit of stress I’ve had is because I feel like “I’m bad at everything.” No really, everything. It’s not a logical hang up, but there it is. Video games? I’m terrible. Writing? Terrible. Socializing beyond my 5 person Saturday safety net? Awful. My crazy brain has decided I am the captain of the SS FailBoat, and no amount of reason is going to steer me off my course. I can tell myself twenty times a day that no one person is terribad at everything, that clearly I’m good at some stuff (I got a lot of awards at work when I was actually there, I have a literary agent who’s absolutely fantastic, I have great friends and family) but it doesn’t seem to STAY PUT. It’s like a band-aid that I will gleefully rip off whenever my head goes for a trip on the dark side of the moon.
The only problem is? It has to stay put. I need to function at work. I go to doctors every week to get back on my feet and things ARE looking less bleak, but there’s a single appointment I have been waiting upwards of two months for simply because no one took my health insurance. This appointment is pretty important as it’s to try and figure out what chemicals in my brain are misfiring and causing panic attacks. Sooner would be way better than later on this, and yet . . . AND YET! At least I’m on the cancellation list for first available.
The point I’m making beyond WOE and HORRORS FOR HILLARY is that I know I’m not the only person who never feels Good Enough. In fact I’m one of many. Some people look at everything around them and instead of seeing the accomplishments, they see unwashed dishes, unfinished projects, a book they started to read but put down halfway through. Nothing is ever What They Expected, and so they live in fear of what that says about them. From someone who’s done all of these things and has pretty good hindsight? Do yourself a favor and find a way to get a grip NOW before you walk this path any further (and by getting a grip I mean talking to someone who can help you past it, whether that’s a therapist or a trusted loved one). Self-doubt is like a disease – if you treat it early and find a way to better understand the balance of your strengths versus weaknesses, you’ll be all right. But if you let it fester you’ve got major surgery ahead of you and there’s nothing to do but lose. I wish now I’d been a lot more pro-active about my mental health. By ignoring it and letting my fears and abject terror of failure run my life, I’m missing out on a lot of living I’d really like to do right now.
This dubious mental health advice brought to you by the letter Q and the number 6.