I deal with major anxiety on a daily basis. I get so frightened sometimes, that I feel like hiding under my covers like I did when I was a kid.
It’s awfully confusing to understand why my fears are so intense. Why they can prevent me from getting out, and from living life more fully. I am often controlled by the way my mind chews and chews on the same problems. The terror holds me captive.
I’m not exactly sure why I’ve been so anxious for the majority of my life. All I know is that it’s always there. Like my shadow.
It can be difficult not to place blame on myself. What could I possibly be so afraid of? Well, life terrifies me. Much more so than the thought of death. If I don’t try I will achieve nothing. What happens if I do try? What if I work as hard at I can with my writing, and I fail to find an audience? Or ever publish a book? Or earn a cent for doing what I love, and believe that I’m good at?
The terror gnaws away at my insides, and leaves a lump in my guts. It prevents me from going to the supermarket, or going to that party, or introducing myself to that interesting looking person sitting next to me.
It is like a monster, eating all of my energy, stealing all of my reserves. It leaves me drained and broken.
People who haven’t experienced panic attacks or chronic anxiety might think I’m silly when they read this. As everyone knows who’s lived with it, it is anything but silly. “You are not a real artist. You are not a real writer. You are boring. You are insignificant.” These thoughts drain away my resolve. At time they convince me that I’m not worthy enough to make my mark in the world.
Why is it so easy to believe my inner critical voices, and so hard to believe when it’s positive and encouraging?
I have been in therapy for a long time. I have meditated regularly for decades. I know myself quite well. It’s funny, though, how intellectual knowledge doesn’t always translate into real knowing. It’s one thing to understand why I do what I do, and believe what I believe, with the brain in my head. It’s another to know something so deeply that it merges with my entire being.
I do know that it’s always been important to me to express myself. Through sculpture, painting, writing, and dance. However much criticism or support I’ve gotten in regards to my creative side, I have continued to do it in order to survive . I suppose that is what’s key. That is how I boost myself up. That is how I make my life meaningful.
My imagination energizes me. It’s been my friend through amazingly painful and lonely times. Writing helps me to clarify what’s going on in my head, and to free myself from obsessive thinking. It informs and it educates me. It is something I can rely on, and something that distracts me from my suffering.
So, even if I never gain an audience, I will continue to write. Even if I am never formally published, I will continue to write. Even if some of the people reading this believe I am without talent, I will continue to write.
It is good to be clear in my mind on this. It is something I can grasp tightly to, and utilize to buouy me up. And it is something, that I must never, ever forget.