Monday, July 24, 2017

Keeping the Motivation

"Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts." -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


A really hard part about anxiety is how fast it is to take away my motivation and confidence. I have these moments where I’ll get an idea and get really excited about it, whether it’s writing a book, public speaking, making an Instagram account for my blog, or whatever. Those ideas have all given me that amazing passionate feeling- my heart swells up and I get excited and I want to spend the next five weeks working on whatever it is nonstop. When you get that feeling, chase it. There aren’t a lot of things in life that are going to make you feel like that.

The problem with anxiety is that it will let me be excited for a while. It will let me plan and create and think “yeah, I can do this.” Then it will say “Well, actually you can’t. Want to know why? You’re a failure. Nothing you do works. Other people can do it, but not you. You will fail. You know you will.” And when someone (or something) tells you you’re a failure enough times, you start to believe it.

Take my Instagram account for example. A while ago I thought it would be a really cool thing to make an Instagram account about my blog. I could post whenever I made a new blog post, and talk about my anxiety on there as well. So I made the account and I updated it pretty religiously for a good couple of months. But I wasn’t seeing any growth in followers at all. The same 10 people were liking my posts every time, and they were almost always friends I already knew. So my anxiety started to get at me. “There’s no point doing this. You’re not helping anyone. You’re just annoying people by posting all the time.”

And I believed it, so I stopped posting on my account. It’s been three months and I still haven’t posted. I can’t get myself to go back now, because what’s the point? No one cared that I left, right? I didn’t succeed immediately, so that means I’ll never succeed, right?

Honestly I still kind of believe that’s true. Failure in any degree is hard, and with anxiety it’s a thousand times harder because your mindset isn’t that it will get better. You’re mindset with anxiety is that it will never get better and there’s absolutely no point in trying. So can you understand why it’s hard to go back to something after all those thoughts? I know it’s just an Instagram account, and to a lot of people it sounds like a stupid, childish problem. But to me it’s a big deal because my anxiety makes EVERYTHING a big deal.
That all being said, I think I’m going to go kick my anxiety in the face and go back soon. Social media is so, so important for the message I’m trying to share and I really want to share it. Yeah, maybe the same five people read my posts for the next ten years, but what if those five people need to hear what I’m saying? If nothing else, maybe I just need to hear what I’m saying. Maybe Instagram isn’t where I’m going to be successful, but maybe it will lead to something else. Maybe it will introduce me to people and organizations I never would have found otherwise.

I have two points here. 1) You have to keep going. Everyone is going to tell you why you’ll fail, but you have to tell them why you’ll succeed. 2) It’s okay if you have some roadblocks when you try to keep going. You may stop or quite at some point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get up and try again. Even if it takes you three months to get off the ground, you still got up.

Xoxo Anne

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Being the Best

Yesterday my sister came home from a week-long leadership camp she had earned a scholarship to attend. My sister and I are very close, and of course I was very happy for her when I found out she was attending.

But when she got home I was kind of indifferent to her. She was telling all these stories about camp and my parents were asking her all sorts of questions, and I just kind of ignored her. I felt a little annoyed at her, but I wasn't sure why. Later that day I made kind of a rude comment to her the put down this experience, and I felt bad about it but didn't apologize.

I started thinking about why I was acting the way I was. I knew I was a little jealous of her week- I miss going to leadership camps and events and feeling motivated enough to do anything. I hadn't felt that in a while. But then a clear thought popped into my head:

"I'm not the best at anything in this family."

The notion surprised me, and I pushed it away initially. I'm good at a lot of things. I had to be the best at something. So I tried to think of something I could say I was the best at compared to everyone else in my family. And...nothing.

I was good at sports in high school, but never as good as either of my brothers.
I'm funny, but not as funny as my younger brother.
I'm smart, but not as smart as my dad or my sister.
I'm nice, but not as nice as my mom.
I'm really good at writing, but my sister is just as talented as I am, if not more.
I got second place at a slam poem competition in high school; my sister got first.
I got a 3 on my English AP exam; my sister got a 5.
I had a good relationship with my teachers, but my sister has better relationships.
I have a good GPA, but my sister's is better.

My whole life I have felt overshadowed at some point in time by my siblings. Especially since I got to college, I don't feel like I stand out at all in my family. I'm just here. And sure, I have talents and I have a good life and I'm accomplishing a lot, but nothing more than anyone else.

I also figured out why I was being so bitter towards my sister lately- you'll notice that most of the things I listed involve her being better than me. She is incredibly talented and smart and accomplished, and she's four years younger than me. That beats of my self-esteem a lot.

Since this is sort of a realization I had just yesterday, I'm still dealing with it and don't have a ton of positive stuff to say right now. Sorry.

BUT. I know it's not important to be the best at everything. You're never going to be the best at everything, and in a lot of cases you're never going to be the best at anything. There's always someone in the world who will be better than you in some way. And you cannot let that stop you from doing what you love or working hard.

You don't have to be the best, you just have to try your best.

Now I'm going to go work on that.

Thanks for listening,
xoxo Anne

Saturday, July 1, 2017

I'm Back

So I kind of disappeared there for a over two months. From the blog at least. A little over a month on my Instagram.

I dunno. I finished school for the semester and once I got home I just didn't feel compelled at all to write or post.

Okay, I do know why: when I'm at home, whether for summer or holidays, my anxiety gets way better. And even though it's still a big part of my life and I am doing new, intimidating things like an internship, I am in a place I'm comfortable and around many people who make me feel secure. Since I'm mostly writing about my anxiety on here, I felt like I just didn't have anything to say.

And I kind of go back and forth because like I said, I still struggle with anxiety daily. I guess I've just felt like it doesn't mean as much if it's not as bad? And hopefully that isn't true, but what I've been experiencing the most over the past couple months has been kind of the same small things over and over. That's not very interesting to read about.

That all being said, I miss writing. And I miss talking about my life, even if it's just to my computer. So I'm writing this with the hesitant commitment to continue posting regularly.

Alright, here's what's going on in my life:

Most of my energy is spent towards my internship- I am interning with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is an amazing organization and it's really cool to be a part of what they do. My supervisors are incredibly kind and great to work with, and for the most part I really enjoy my time there (even if i'm not getting paid). My main job right now is preparing for a fundraiser we have in a few months, which means contacting basically every business in the Spokane area asking for donations. Emailing is fine for me, but phone calls are where I suffer, which is a nice transition into some anxiety talk.

Phone calls make me feel incredibly weak and powerless. Even if everything goes great- I say my piece confidently, the person on the other end is friendly and gives me everything I asked for, and we part ways amicably- one simple call just drains me. I have to spend at least fifteen minutes psyching myself up for every phone call. I go over what I'm going to say and everything they could possibly say a few dozen times out loud, and sometimes write it all down so I basically have a script to follow for the entire conversation. The thought of a phone call makes me sweat and start to shake almost immediately. My heart starts to race the second I pick up the phone. And I always, always feel bad for calling people, no matter what I'm asking for.

This makes me feel weak because a stupid phone call has so much power over me. This is something I'm going to have to do for the rest of my life no matter what my career or life situation is, and I hate the thought that I'm going to be controlled by these emotions for that long over something so day-to-day. It makes me feel like a child.

That feeling sucks. Anxiety sucks. I like to end my posts with some positive "but it will all get better and I'll keep trying" message but I'm tired of everything and I don't always feel like things are going to get better.