The Importance of #AnxietyGirl

The last 12 months have been the worst of my life. But they’ve also been the most liberating. I lost my job, went on unemployment, moved to a new town for a new job that was almost immediately dissolved, and spent the next six months searching for yet another new job. My savings took a big hit, and now I’m too far away to see the therapist I really liked.

I also learned that going on unemployment is not shameful. I applied to so many jobs (around 170 since last April) that writing resumes and cover letters became as easy as breathing. Even interviews lost most of their terror. I learned I can book movers, stand my ground with stupid apartment complex managers, and drive myself through downtown Austin during evening rush hour.

Through some of my favorite people — Jenny Lawson, Wil Wheaton, Linz DeFranco — I learned that anxiety lies to me. It tells me I’m a bad employee, a bad wife, a failure, that I constantly disappoint those around me.

I learned that one of the best ways to fight anxiety is to be open about it. I’ve started blogging more about it, and using #anxietygirl in some of my tweets and Facebook posts. Some things I’ve shared:

  • It’s incredible how fast I can go from being okay to hating every single thing about myself. ‪#‎anxietygirl‬
  • What I hate most about being ‪#‎anxietygirl‬ is how my anxiety saps all of my energy. I’m sitting on the sofa, exhausted and paralyzed by all the things I know I have to do before bed. And this is one of my good days.
  • Things only I think when about to meet strangers: “Damn it, I should have looked at my small talk flash cards!” ‪#‎anxietygirl‬
  • When the prospect of attending a social event full of strangers in a few days makes you have to stop what you’re doing now and meditate. ‪#‎anxietygirl‬

I don’t post these things to gain sympathy. I post them because 40 million people in the US have an anxiety disorder, but only about a third receive treatment.

I want my friends who count among those 40 million to know that they are not alone; I want those who don’t have anxiety disorders to understand a bit better what’s happening in my brain.

Being more open is scary — it might mean that some people will think less of me, or that I could face prejudice at work.

But I’m tired of hiding, of pretending that I don’t have to fight my brain every day for who gets to control my feelings. I’m being honest, I’m using my anxiety against itself, and I’m better off for it.

Anxiety girl

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6 thoughts on “The Importance of #AnxietyGirl

  1. Roommate, I know it has taken a big effort to share your #anxietygirl thoughts over the past year, but I so look up to you for it. Why should we have to put up a facade and pretend we’re ok when we’re really not? I hope your openness and honesty will help our generation (and the next and the next and maybe even the ones before us) to understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. And that doing things alone and bottling things up are unnecessary when you can have the support of loved ones around you (sans those silly coworkers you mentioned, who sound like weren’t worth your time anyway). I know I should be better at keeping up with friends (I can barely keep up with family), and that it may not amount to much, but I always send good thoughts your way when I read your #anxietygirl posts. Keep up the hard work and know that I love you!

    1. I saw your comment when I was at work and got a little teary. 🙂 Thank you so much for your sweet words and thoughts! I love you too, and I love seeing all the pictures of your adorable little gnome. 😀

      1. Of course! Thank you for being brave enough to share. And the gnome pictures can’t stop won’t stop soooooo I’m glad you like them 😀

  2. Great post Amy! I’m so happy you’ve been sharing #anxietygirl. I know lots of people who struggle with it too, me too, and getting it out there really does help. I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished this year! You are way more like a daughter than daughter-in-law! I love you!

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