Anxiety and the Curse of Overthinking
I have mentioned before that I suffer from anxiety and depression. There are multiple reasons why I am the way I am. Past experiences shape all of us and sometimes it shapes us into a drooling mess of feelings that we don’t know how to sort out. Life throws us all different kinds of curveballs or obstacles, whichever overused cliché you like better. I don’t normally talk about these issues I have straightforwardly. I use symbolism, writing, daydreams, humor, and unprovoked outbursts to show that it is a continual battle I go through daily. I have held myself back in so many circumstances because of these feelings, fears, and a sense of imminent failure.
It took me over a year to press the submit button to apply for school. I was convinced that I would never amount to anything and didn’t want to waste the money to prove it to myself. This directly stems from my grades in school, which were less than stellar due to my classmates making it insufferable to even be in the building. Not to mention my guidance counselor shrugging his shoulders and telling me average was all I could ever achieve. When you have these thoughts and the inner voice telling you these things constantly, you just believe it and think nothing more of yourself.
Now, I am still in school and am a lot harder on myself about my grades than I ever was in high school. I am even worse when it comes to my writing. If a teacher comes back and tells me it wasn’t good enough or what I wrote was more “fluff” than information, I begin to travel down that all too familiar road of thought. I am not good enough and my writing is just basic. Not worth the work or time. I settle down into that dark hole that was dug out decades ago. The familiar damp smell of earth. A cold place that I can go to; to disappear and be forgotten.
While I was completing my Associate’s degree, I made the Dean’s list every semester and won a writing award. I have made the Dean’s list twice while at Drexel so far and have a 3.6 GPA. I am not stupid, and I have ample proof for the contrary. But it really doesn’t matter. In my mind, it isn’t good enough and I am still a failure. Or perhaps it was just a fluke, and it really is all too easy. The professors just aren’t that hard on me, and I am good at bullshitting. Well, I am, but that isn’t real work.
Besides all of that, I dress a certain way to hide and blend in. Anything I wear that I get any type of comment on, I normally never wear again. Why? Even if it was a compliment? Yes, because it meant someone was looking or paying attention to me. Perhaps giving them fuel to say something nasty or to whisper something later. Again, this is from years of conditioning and believing that the whispers are horrible things about me. No one likes you and you are nothing, voices that scream on a never-ending cycle in my head. This began my continual use of music forever playing in the background. It helps me focus. I can tune in on the songs and tune out the chatter going on around me. Not to mention the chatter that goes on in my head.
I would like to blame my lack of content due to having some major breakdown this past week. Perhaps it is the case, not in the sense of throwing a tantrum or crying, but on a more subconscious level. This was more of a want to escape. I did everything other than what I needed to do. Schoolwork, writing in general, and even cleaning. I had no drive to do it. I needed to be somewhere else. I played a game until it was done. I began a fill-in word puzzle. I read Fahrenheit 451 again and began another book. Anywhere but where I was is where I wanted to be.
I have gone through bouts like this before. I usually just suppress it and slap on a smile for everyone to see. I am OK, I say to everyone. All is good here. All the while that voice in my head screaming and banging on the walls. Do you ever just have the want to go out in the middle of a field and just scream as loud as you can? I do. All the time.
I haven’t uploaded a podcast this past week. I felt like yet another endeavor going by the wayside and never to be finished like so many other things. Checking my stats on my website and Spotify I begin to think to myself, does it really matter? Mind you, I never started the podcasting venture as something to become “famous” by. I needed another outlet for creativity, something to test my limits. It still makes me feel good when I see a certain episode get a lot of listeners, don’t get me wrong. Finding vindication on the internet is not where I should be looking. First and foremost, it needs to be found within me. Plus, let’s face it, there are far too many horrible people out there to get a good reading on how well you or I, are doing. I don’t measure myself that way. In that instance, I have grown a lot. Before I would take every little piece or comment to heart. Not so much now. It does still sting when someone has something negative to say. Even if it is in the guise of “constructive criticism”.
I meant for this post to be more about how to get beyond these feelings and use that to help the writing process. Instead, this harkens back to the days of Live Journal (or Dead journal, my journal of choice). So let this post be about the fact that we are not always alright. That we have those moments of complete loss to our emotions. You are not alone. I am right there with you. We can get through it. We are stronger than we think. I hope this post has shed a little light on me and perhaps helped someone out there to know that they aren’t the only ones feeling this way. I try to keep positive; I have inspirational quotes all over the place and even tell my friends to keep their chin up. I am not good at taking my own advice, however.
Considering this darkness, we are survivors and worth more than our minds make us think.