In just a couple of days, my blog will turn 2 months old. These past few weeks have been an interesting journey for me, trying to figure out what’s the best way of sharing my experience and talking openly about anxiety.
It hasn’t been easy, even though this is not my first time as a blogger. When I was 19 I used to have a travel blog (surprisingly much, considering how little I have travelled in the recent years), but the topics I dealt with were so different that when I opened The Brave Grey Cat I felt like I was starting from zero and I had to learn everything again.
The reason why I closed my old blog is that I no longer recognised myself in what I was writing. Lots of things happened in my life, lots of things changed and I didn’t know anymore how to feel at home in the space I had created and that had surely given me plenty of satisfaction. I knew I needed to write though. Turning thoughts into words has always been the best way for me to deal with feelings and events and having a blog keeps me motivated to do it, instead of just bottling everything up until I explode.
The idea for The Brave Grey Cat came to me in July, in the strangest, saddest possible moment, as I was trying to come to terms with the loss of my grandpa and all the changes that it was bringing in my family’s life. My anxiety was over the roof and everything was so overwhelming and scary that I suddenly felt the compelling need to write. I started filling pages in my journal, and then, one afternoon, it suddenly hit me: write about anxiety. Blog about it. And so I did.
The joys of being honest
The journey so far has been challenging, but full of joys. One of the best things that creating this space has brought along is the sense of freedom that comes from being open and honest about what it’s like to have an anxiety disorder. For most of my years struggling with it, and especially during high school, the fear of being judged and left out made me try to hide my feelings in any way I could. I can probably count of the fingers of just one hand the number of times I admitted in front of my friends that I was feeling anxious or panicked. It was suffocating and mentally deteriorating in many ways, and I know now that it’s just not worth it. I no longer want to hide or find excuses, because this is my life and there’s no point in dealing with people who don’t care to understand how complicated it is.
Being open about my disorder, however, has also meant entering a community and getting in touch with people who go through the exact same things as I do. People who know what I feel, people who understand. After years of feeling alone, knowing I am not the only one who is struggling feels liberating and, in a way, even encouraging.
At the same time, it also gives me a chance to communicate and hopefully try to teach what anxiety is to those who have never experienced anything like this but are ready to learn. Raising awareness is essential and if I can do even just the tiniest part in making the world a less scary place that’ll mean The Brave Grey Cat has achieved its goal.
The pains along the way
The journey back to blogging has also meant lots of doubts and insecurities. The worries that gripped me in the past always find their way back to making me question what I’m doing. I want to be honest, but what if people think I am just making things up, making excuses, being lazy? What if they think I am just dramatic? I perfectly know it’s anxiety playing its tricks on me. Still, opening up and being so vulnerable, the fear of being misunderstood is always there in the back of my mind.
Sometimes, it’s also really hard to find the right words to express what I want to say. Despite having hundreds of prompts and ideas written down in my bullet journal and being highly motivated to publish a mental health post every Friday, there are days when I sit at my laptop for hours but the page just stays blank. I am sure everyone has moments like that, and I tend not to worry too much about it. The words come when they want, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with missing a deadline sometimes.
One thing that I find especially challenging and somewhat scary, however, is that the implications of mental disorders and the ways people live their illness are different for everyone. Despite always trying to make it clear that what I’m writing is completely based on my experience and perspective, I constantly worry that I might accidentally hurt or offend someone with my words.
The journey so far
Worries aside, these two months of blogging have been amazing. The response I got has been greater than I ever dreamt of and I have met some really supporting people that have shared advice and encouraged me to keep going. Despite everything, I still believe in what a friend once told me: you must write, because writing is therapeutic.