I'm less anxious, now I know I just get anxiety
Updated: Jul 18, 2020
I’m naturally quite an open person, I believe most of my friends would agree on that. I’ll usually tell people whatever they want to know and I've always been a pretty bad liar. Games like mafia or coup have always been a bit of a struggle for me - quite a surprise for an actress. Anyway, I wanted to be open about what I’m going through, because although I feel and know I’m not alone now - I would’ve liked to have known that these feelings are so common a little bit sooner. Basically, it’s taken me a few years (and conversations), to work out that I have anxiety. I'm less anxious, now admitting that and knowing what it's all about. Quite frankly I'm relieved I haven't just been going a bit mad for the last few years. I haven't been going crazy - I've just been getting anxious.
As a professional recently told me - anxiety centers around worrying about the future. And boy, when I look back, I've let myself worry about what’s coming like a QUEEN. For a long time, I've worried that I’m not going to reach the place I want in my career and intellectually in a “respectable” time-frame. I've worried I’m not going to be able to hold on to the skills or people I currently value in my life (which are of course my family, my partner, my close friends and the passion I have for audio and visual arts). I have set myself goals because a very wise woman told me that would help me see the progress I’m making towards the things I want. It’s taken about a year for me to see that it does help, because I can see the wheels turning towards the metaphorical and physical places I want to go in my lifetime. I think perhaps goals should always have time pressure, or else you’ll always make excuses for why you don’t have time to work on the things that will allow you to reach your goals.
I ignored some of the time pressure on recent goals of mine. Luckily only the short-term ones, but nonetheless, I felt a bit useless knowing I could’ve finished making this website months ago (if I’d just sat down and spent an evening or two investigating the options properly). Now my long-term and larger goal (although scary to consider the details of at times) seems not so ridiculously far out of my reach. If I want to go back to University and study something different, I can. If I want to keep hard at work and earn as much money before travelling as possible, I can do that too. I also really want to start releasing some of my own music into the world, so getting that properly produced (and maybe some collaboration on that) is a goal I want to put more energy into. Thinking about my ability to achieve all these things, and the opportunity I have to succeed, brings a lot of joy and direction into my way of thinking. There have been many times in the past 2 years though, where I haven't seen just how available these options have been to me. I've been worried about pleasing other people. I've been worried about their image of the five year old me who so badly only wanted one thing - to be an actress. She told anyone who uttered a word of wisdom to shove it for about 13 years.
I think my confidence was great - and over the past few years some of that has probably been scaled back a bit. But I don't think that means I should feel guilty about my wants expanding, priorities changing, or perhaps my short-term goals evolving. Believe me, I'd love to work on a big feature film. But at the moment it's a bit of a dream rather than a reality, and for the moment I want at least SOME security. And that's okay. I can keep working at my story and song-writing. I can fund classes I want to take, and extra things I want to do, with my day job. It's not forever and I can keep going towards those dreams I've had for such a long time. But it doesn't mean I have to give up on my other, newer dreams. Alongside this, I've always wanted to travel. I want to have a career and learn more about the world - and not just in the context of the media industry. I do want a family one day. I do believe in a world where you can have it all. I just need to remember to work hard, and not let my uncertainly about the future make me anxious. My life isn't going flash before my eyes in a way that I suddenly tells me what's coming. What's coming is going to come how it does, and I can choose how to navigate it.
Aside from that, what opportunities I want to take or make for myself are up to me, not anyone else. I'm slowly learning to embrace change, and be comfortable working towards want I want in the short-term, in order to help me through the long-term. I'm confident I'll like the place I end up. Whatever and wherever that place may be.