29. Anxiety

WORK

I moved my office into the hall and I love it! I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. The idea originated because John and I couldn’t come up with a mutually acceptable way to visually and emotionally divide our office. The space wasn’t working for either of us, so I surrendered the whole thing to him. He now has his own room in the house to personalize. (John finds my standards for neatness stifling and I can’t concentrate with his clutter.) What I realized when I created my new micro-office in the hall is that I’ve never felt comfortable with the light or energy in that back room, even when it was mine alone. So, while it may sound trivial, creating an inspiring space to work has been a huge psychological boon for me.

 

And I’m working! I’ve been busy putting together proposals and creating copy for the new BFD website. I’ve also landed a client of my own for some Creative Identity work, and I am still working with the Oakland Museum one day a week.

 

As for my writing and editing, the more I do it, the more confident I feel about my ability. I had a breakdown when I first started writing after a really wordy, shitty first draft, but then I read Anne Lamott’s chapter in Bird by Bird about shitty first drafts and found myself laughing and feeling relieved. I have also decided to sign up for a five week copy editing class and a workshop on writing for the web. I’m not looking forward to the “five hours of homework a week,” but I think mastering the mechanics of my craft will greatly improve my confidence.

 

LIFE

Since I shared my decision process with w2k, I will share the results. In the beginning of August I saw a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder. I was actually relieved to learn that I don’t suffer from depression, although don’t ask me why. I made the decision to take a low-dose anti-depressant for the next 6 months. The difference is subtle, but I feel less wound up and fragile—more like myself. I’ve also learned through counseling that my extreme sensitivity to stress and expectation is most likely a repercussion of my five years trying to make a go of Mind over Media and the psychological weight of wanting to make everyone, including myself, proud, only to fail in the end. Just having my counselor acknowledge how psychologically draining and traumatic that experience was for me, and that recovery takes a long time, has already made me feel stronger and healed.

 

FAMILY

My sister and her two children came to visit for nine days and I enjoyed the most wonderful time of my life. I adore my niece and nephew, and at 13 and 11, they are the perfect age to show new experiences, laugh a lot and laugh some more. We did things in the city I’ve never done in my 11 years living here. We then went backpacking in the Trinity Alps for three days. It felt really nice to have my sister see my home and life as an adult.