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anxiety


The irony is that at one time I was everywhere online. Well, maybe not everywhere but in all the hot places, for a little while at least.

But, wow, has the internet become a cesspool of clickbait and mass surveillance! Maybe I’m naive but I remember when people weren’t afraid to post their most inner thoughts without worrying who would scrutinize them — or worse, use that information for profit or shaming.

Maybe I got bored, or maybe I saw the futility in broadcasting my thoughts into a sea of nonsense. But it’s been quite a year, with revelations on crimes committed by the rich and powerful — our overlords — and mostly played out on social media. I’m in Australia and yet I’m well informed about the outing of actors and media moguls who abused their status for personal (albeit fleeting) gratification. I’ve followed Trump from the first time he said Mexico was sending rapists and criminals over the border, and was probably just as shocked as you to hear he won the US presidential race. Read More

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The reason I’ve been unable to contribute what I consider anything of substance to any one of the myriad of online soapboxes is because I didn’t feel like an expert in anything. I had no top ten lists, no gadget reviews, no pitches on how to make money in just four hours a week; all I have are my ideas, perceptions and insights — and even those I keep to myself for the most part.

Sure, I am — or was — good at being a designer and, maybe, a writer. But this, the third extended period of unemployment peppered with the relentless rejection from potential employers has left me doubting myself: I don’t know what I can do, really, having been told over and over for years how I wasn’t successful.

And that’s the key phrase, the one that cuts to the bone now. I thought I had a pretty thick skin (it’s a prerequisite for being in a creative field) but for the better part of the past seven years it’s the only phrase I’ve heard more than any other.

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Not much I can add, other than she’s vocalized much of what I’ve felt for nearly 30 years. When I was a kid, though, it wasn’t en vogue to talk about anxiety — or Aspergers, which was an unknown and undiagnosed syndrome. But now it seems like there’s a sort of “coming out” by sufferers who are finally being acknowledged (or at least recognized) for having a real cognitive disability that makes the day-to-day just a little harder than it is for most other people.

Frankly, I’m fairly certain that the anxiety (and subsequent depression) I’ve lived with all my life are byproducts of anticipating the awkwardness and confusion of mingling with other people. It’s exhausting to try and be social because it always feels like I don’t know how to have a simple conversation: it’s hard to know when to talk and when to listen, and it’s equally difficult to know if what I’m saying is being taken the wrong way.

 

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