One of the ways my anxiety likes to upend my life is by messing with my ability to pursue a new idea or challenge. It usually goes something like this:
I’ll have a creative idea that I think is exciting (i.e. taking a photography class, starting a YouTube channel, writing a play, learning another language, etc), then my anxiety likes to chime in with a heap of worry and rumination. I’ll feel immediately convinced that people will think it’s stupid, or that it actually is stupid, or that it is a waste of time, or that by doing that thing I could open myself up to far too many risks than are worth it. I eventually succumb to the lies it slings at me, deflated and frustrated with both myself and this dumb disorder.
This cycle kept me from pursuing my creative impulses for years. When I feel my anxiety lurking, I know the first thing it’s going to go for is my simple and vital joys – the ones that serve my creativity best. We all need lighthearted outlets, big laughter and creative expression that isn’t bound by the worry of “what if” every single day, yet anxiety seems to hover just on the borders of these spaces for me.
It wasn’t until I started a better coping strategy for my anxiety (reaching out, writing about it) that I’ve had the freedom to explore these artistic and creative impulses in a real way. In turn, I have been able to shove my anxiety aside far more easily because I am simply experiencing more joy and fulfillment by being true to these creative urges. It’s a positive feedback loop.
I am a bubbly weirdo (I was a theatre kid in high school to give you some context), but as I’ve gotten older and more anxious, the more my personality has become shrouded in self-doubt and second-guessing. When I’m unbound by anxiety and overthinking, when I’m just being myself and following my instincts/interests/obsessions, I have so much fun. I have been searching for more ways to infuse my daily life with a stronger through-line of fun to best combat my anxiety’s stronghold on my artistry. Enter social media.
I haven’t been historically big on using social media. I’m a private person by nature, I didn’t grow up with it since I’m old, and I’ve always been hesitant to overshare for pure safety and sanity. But it is a necessary tool for a writer, and I’m coming to find that there is a way of using it that is both safe and sane, and also super fun.
If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed this shift. I’ve been posting a lot more on my Instagram especially. I’ve been playing with fashion and make-up, connecting with other writers, bloggers, moms and business owners. Posting videos on my stories with random musings, workout updates, mini-adventures, and making a lot of friends along the way. It’s been a blast!
I’ve been interested in utilizing social media this way for a long time but I was always so hesitant because ANXIETY. No more.
I’m finally getting out of my own way to allow myself to pursue and enjoy something new and different (to me; see above: old). Instead of worrying about all the ways it could go wrong, or what anyone else is thinking, I’m simply enjoying myself.
It has also been such an effective tool for getting me out of my anxiety bubble/ comfort zone on a daily basis. Putting yourself out there to be judged on social media (or blog posts) is vulnerable and nerve-wracking. I’m starting to develop a sturdier disposition all around from sheer frequency of sharing.
Social media has a lot of issues and often does more to increase anxiety and depression than alleviate it. But I’ve managed to harness what’s good about it to help my anxiety and bring more levity and fun into my daily life.
Writing is my pure and true love. This blog is my space to work on and through a lot of ideas/topics/opinions that I churn on constantly, and my book is my place with full artistic freedom of expression and reflection.
But Instagram has been a fascinating addition to my creative expression that allows me to let you in a little more to those ideas or events that are less interesting to write about and way more fun to talk about or showcase in photos/videos.
Even though writing on this very topic is giving me anxiety (what if people think I’m stupid for basically writing a post about Instagram?), I’m going to post it anyway and then go talk about it on Instagram.
Photo Credit: Pexels