A little while ago, I wrote an article about Project Juggling & Anxiety, but I didn’t do a deep-dive into my personal experiences and anecdotes. Today, I wanted to do just that, because my anxiety has greatly impacted my life, and when I have the funds, I would like to return to therapy for it. To sum things up, it really does suck, and I feel that writing about it might help others relate. After all, what is writing if not sharing experiences with other people in some fashion?
Now, anxiety is a mental-knife-twist in the gut on a regular basis. I can think of key reasons that will flare mine up, and unfortunately they are becoming more common. To start things off, I will discuss the critical anxiety points, to where I can barely function, if at all.
What triggers it:
- Fight with a family member or close friend
- Ailment that has been bothering me for a while with unknown origin
- Job Interview coming up
- Finding out someone has been spreading incorrect info about me behind my back
- Large, likely impactful events that will center on me (public speaking for example, contracts)
- Sudden and major concern over career/income
- Major political events
- Major loss of sleep
- Heavily impacted ability to focus
- Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea regularly, and deep pain
- Paranoia (how many people are against me? What do they think of me?)
- Lasting Dermatillomania that tends to be nearly impossible to shake, usually leading to scabs/wounds on the face
- Chaotic emotions (easy to anger or lapse into deep sadness)
Naturally, these issues impact my ability to work, sometimes being so severe that I can get nothing done. It has unfortunately happened often, and even with my personal calming mechanisms (which I will mention below), I will find myself entirely stuck. I’m trying to work through it, granted, with slow progress. But, well, any progress is progress.
Then, there is the less-critical aspect of my anxiety, which will cause fixations for a day or two, perhaps, but have variant effect on my work, never nearly as bad as the critical aspect.
What triggers it
- Gamer rage (fixations generally on story)
- Bad review on my books, mean comment on youtube, et cetra
- Twitter argument
- “I think someone is mad at me…”
- “Did I come off as unintentionally rude or ignorant?”
- Little to no work getting done due to the hyperfixating on the issue
- Minor stomach pains
- Slight loss of sleep, could be more depending on the issue itself
- Lack of ability to focus (though could be mended with a distraction sometimes)
- Constantly talking about it to lover/friends
Now, those are the two areas I generally deal with, and something I didn’t mention was going out, or being among crowds. It doesn’t fit into either of those because it could work for either. I find myself more and more nervous around crowds and large groups of people, which might be due to the quarantine from COVID as well. I “Fake it until I make it” though, and pretend to be social when really the constant question I ask myself inwardly is: “Oh gods they think I am so weird and probably hate me for it.” Irrational thinking? Definitely. But, not something I can easily shake.
I suck at initiating conversation, but once I start talking with an old or new friend, things come naturally, and I can relax. The anxiety dissipates, and I find myself having fun. For everything else, however, I have coping mechanisms that do work for the less critical aspect of my anxiety.
- Listening to music
- Reading a book
- Youtube browsing (usually music videos)
- How to Train Your Dragon & other family animated movies (really effective)
- Talking things out with friends (also extremely effective)
- Random rant on social media (not as helpful but sometimes I can’t help it)
Above are my personal mechanisms, and I want to make it clear–they don’t always work. It’s how I try to manage it, however, with mixed success. I find that talking things out with friend helps me calm down the best, and my head becomes more clear. Otherwise, movies are the next best thing. Family movies like How to Train Your Dragon will generally be a big hit for me.
Again, these are just my experiences with anxiety. I felt like sharing in case others needed to find something they can relate to. I recall specific times when the critical anxiety was triggered, such as waiting to hear back from a job interview (and getting declined), finding out that a contract offered for my books was predatory, getting an early one-star rating on my book when I was hoping it’d take off, and such like that. I’ve had fights with friends, and hell, some fights with family that have lasted months. That will impact me heavily, even subconsciously, and make life all the more difficult.
I hope this insight on someone with anxiety helps others possibly relate, and perhaps the coping mechanisms I use might also help! Sometimes a goofy youtube video is what it takes to calm me down, but it’s not the end-all-be-all solution.