Despite reading on the internet and learning in my psychology electives, I never really understood anxiety. I was never sure if I had social anxiety, or if I was just shy. It wasn’t until I started getting anxiety attacks last summer that I started to understand. It wasn’t until I cancelled on plans last-minute because I was terrified at the thought of being in a room full of people I thought would find my presence annoying and unwanted. It wasn’t until I realized that being quiet during conversations because I was afraid of stuttering or accidentally offending someone wasn’t normal.
I don’t really want to delve into my personal life, so I’ll just get on with it. I don’t believe that all mental health problems can be solved on your own, but I truly believe that having a positive mindset and making the effort to make things better for yourself can really help. Blogging is an outlet that has allowed me to connect with other people with similar thoughts and feelings, meet people and practice my interpersonal skills, feel more confident in my work and myself, learn to not care what negative people say or do, and take things less personally.
Disclaimer: This post is made up of my own personal experiences and opinions and is for informational purposes only. If you rely on any information in this post, it is at your own risk. When in doubt, please seek help from a professional.
1. I’m able to connect with others by writing out my feelings
From time to time, I write self-help type posts like how to deal with your negative thoughts. I write these kinds of posts whenever I’m feeling bad about myself, and it really helps to be able to talk to myself (and you guys) through writing. It honestly means the world to me when you guys send me messages saying that you can relate – it’s wonderful to know that you’re not alone!
2. I’ve met such wonderful people in the blogging community
There are so many bloggers here in Toronto, but the community is so welcoming – I’ve met so many kind and inspiring people through blogging. I once went to an event by myself where I didn’t know anyone, and there were two people there who introduced me to everyone else and spent their time with me. It’s pretty terrifying for me to approach or talk to people I don’t know very well, but going to events really forces me to put myself out there.
At my very first blogger event, there were a few other girls and they mingled with each other when the presentation was over while I was standing in the corner by myself. I should’ve put myself out there, but I was afraid they didn’t like me so I ran off without saying bye to any of them. I’m still not as outgoing as I’d like to be, but I really try to put myself out there as much as I can.
3. It makes me feel more confident in my work and myself
I’m by no means an expert at anything I talk about on my blog, but it seriously makes me so happy to see that my posts actually help people. For example, I spend a lot of time researching about and trying new things on Instagram, and it’s amazing when people actually find my tips useful. Writing quality content that helps other people makes me feel like I’ve achieved something, and that makes me feel much more confident in myself.
4. I’ve learned not to care what negative people think
When you put yourself out there online, you have to expect some negativity. It sucks, but that’s the world for ya. I had one of my posts go slightly viral earlier this year and it got (and still gets) so much hate, I couldn’t bear to read the comments anymore. After awhile, I began to realize: these are faceless people angrily typing their one-sided, judgmental thoughts at me through a computer screen. I didn’t know these people and I shouldn’t have cared about what they were saying. So, I stopped caring.
When you stop caring about what people think of you, you stop worrying about whether they’ll judge you. What other people say about you or what they do to you should not affect how you live your life.
5. I’ve learned not to take things too personally
Building on the previous point: not everyone is going to like you, not everyone is going to like your work, and not everyone is going to say nice things about your work. It’s not a big deal. I once had an anxiety attack because a company I worked for deleted my email without notice and I lost a lot of important emails. It was shitty of them, but I took it too personally. I feel like a lot of people in the blogging world take things too personally (like when people unfollow you), but it’s so much more easier to just relax and not think too much of little things.
While I’m still not the most extroverted person, I feel like my anxiety has gotten significantly better during my blogging career. Obviously you get out what you put in, and I actively make the effort to change things for myself. I think other lifestyle changes like trying to be more positive have also helped with my anxiety.
If you’re looking for ways to help your anxiety, write it out, talk to people, put yourself out there, meet new people, and do things that make you feel proud of yourself. And if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here for you.
Remember: if you have good thoughts, they’ll shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely (an amazing quote by Roald Dahl).
Photos by Jasmine L.