One of the many, many joys of depression is that it often goes hand in hand with anxiety. As someone once put it to me, they're two sides of the same coin. Me, well I guess I'm just lucky in that I get to experience both sides of this coin. While this blog is primarily about dealing with depression, for me anxiety has also played a huge part in that. Sometimes my problem is primarily anxiety with a tendency towards depression, other times I'm depressed and slightly anxious.
So, say I'm having a good day. I decide to do something a little out of the ordinary, like, oh I don't know, let's say I start a blog about my life with depression. I feel really positive about it. I'm amazed and uplifted by the response that I get, and I'm 100% sure it's the right thing to do. But then, on another day, let's say today, someone slightly implies that it might not be such a good idea. And boom, anxiety grabs hold of that and sends me through the roof. All the second guessing starts, all the self doubt comes flooding in. What the hell am I doing? How could I ever have thought this was a good plan? I'm making a total idiot of myself etc etc etc. I have a knot in my stomach from thinking about it.
So what can I do? The first thing is to recognise where I went wrong. The person who triggered this spiral of doubt and anxiety never actually said they thought it was a bad idea. They asked me a lot of questions, which I took to mean they thought it was a bad idea. I didn't think to ask if that was the intention, I interpreted it that way, I was trying to mind read, projecting my own fears and doubts about doing this on to someone else.
It has taken me, quite literally, years, to be able to recognise that mind reading and projection is something I do a lot. An awful lot. And without fail, every time I do it, anxiety takes hold. If I'm not careful it will run away with me altogether, leaving me spending hours, days, weeks, agonising over something that might not even be true, however I perceive it to be.
So how do I feel now? I'm aware of the doubt, aware that it's my own. Of course I have doubts!! I'm putting myself out there for the whole world to see, when a year ago most of my friends didn't know. But, I also have to remember that I thought long and hard about doing this, I didn't rush into it. The knot is still there, it will take time to fade. But really, would it be right to let my perception of someone's opinion be the deciding factor in whether to continue with this? If you're reading this, then I thought the better of it!!
I wonder if this sounds familiar to any of you? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, on how anxiety or depression has influenced your thinking.
Labels: anxiety, projection, self doubt