So today is the day that I go live with my blogging site, HuckleberryGrove.com
This is hitting me with a whole bunch of emotions, understandably.
However, what is hitting me most is my anxiety levels are shooting up.
What I want to do today is explore this with you, in the hope that you may be able to relate and maybe able to give me your thoughts on the subject. I’m going to cover:
- Goal settings and our brains
- Why my anxiety levels have risen
- What I’ll do next.
Now as I am making my way through my journey with anxiety, two of the key things I do are, to be aware of it and to talk to someone about it.
For me I talk to my wife, Nicki. For you it could be whoever you feel comfortable speaking to. The important thing to take note of here is that you talk to someone about it. You may find this difficult, as I do, but like most things, for me, the more I do it the easier it becomes. Plus I always feel better after doing it.
Goal Settings and our Brain
So I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am no expert when it comes to mental health and certainly when talking about the brain. Then how is he going to talk about goal setting and the brain I hear you say! Well I’ll be honest, I googled it to try and understand.
Here I am, I’ve set myself a goal (launching HuckleberryGrove.com). I have been told that setting goals is a great way of recovering with depression and anxiety. Always start small and begin building yourself up.
I was talking about this the other day with Nicki and bloody embarrassingly for me she reminded me of when I was at my lowest point with my depression. She started making me small goals to complete for my days. Now I’m not sure if any of you that have suffered with depression or are suffering experienced this next thing.
I went through a period of not getting out of bed. Now even if I did get out of bed and make it to the couch, I wasn’t eating, wasn’t drinking, wasn’t getting washed dressed or brushing my teeth. Sorry to have to paint that picture for you but it is relevant I promise.
When I was ready for it, Nicki would write me down a daily plan for the week. And at first this included the basics like, getting washed and dressed, eating and drinking. It then grew moths later to include things like going outside and doing something that I enjoy.
Anyway, so we’ve established that setting goals is a good thing. So why do I feel so anxious today as I achieve, what for me, is really a big goal?
Well from what I’ve researched, its all down to that thing that at times we can’t live with and always can’t life without…..my brain!
Apparently our brains like goals. Goals keep us focused and happy. When we achieve our goals our brain rewards us with something you may have heard of before, dopamine.
However, as a safety reflex, our brains also likes routine as it’s less risky. Make’s sense. So doing something new may be seen by our brains as a no go. My view on this now is that if we just stay in a routine we never grow as people.
So now I’m sat here scratching my head because there’s a conflict here. The key message I’m taking from this is that this is just what my brain want’s and I’m the decision maker here.
Why my Anxiety Levels have risen
I’m going to step away from the brainiac neuroscience for a second and be honest and open with you. I can tell you exactly why I think my anxiety levels are high today.
- Firstly, I am about to go public with the very fact that I have been suffering from several mental health conditions. Six months ago it was all I could do just to tell my wife and mum. Then one of my brothers and my best mates. Then other’s closest to me. Right, I’m going to go off at a tangent but I think this is important. I’m going to say again how important it is to talk to someone and I can say for me how it got easier each time. OK back to this bullet point. So yes I’m about to go public with my story, I would never have dreamed of doing this 6 months ago, or even maybe 2 months ago.
- Secondly, I set myself this goal of setting up a blog site with the aim of helping others on a similar journey. I recognised how good it would have been for me to visit a site online to find information about men’s mental health. To realise that I wasn’t alone, odd, strange or crazy. So the little voice on my shoulder is asking:
“What if all this is a mistake?”
“What if nobody likes your site?
“What if people think it’s rubbish?”
“What if people think you are weak and crazy for having mental health issues and telling the world about it?”
These are probably the main reasons I’m feeling my anxiety level rise. Quite obvious really.
What I’ll do next
Regarding the first bullet and going public with my mental health struggles. I’m telling myself that my mental health struggles are mine, nobody else’s. Even though I refuse to let them define me, they are a huge part of my life and have led me to where and who I am today.
Plus I have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk as they say. My top level aim of HuckleberryGrove.com is to break the stigma of men’s mental health. We can only do that by talking about it. Now to be clear, I’m not telling you to go public here. I’m simply saying that I am in a point in my journey where I feel I am ready. Only do what you feel is comfortable for you.
I feel I am able to cope with the anxiety of going public, because I have a great support network around me. If you don’t feel you have a support network, then reach out to people. Or at the very least contact me on here, please.
Now the second bullet, the anxiety of achieving the goal. I guess it’s all to do with my fear of failure. Nobody want’s to fail, right? This is a normal feeling, the trick for me now is not to dwell on it too much and shut out the negative thoughts. As a man in my 30’s, this wouldn’t be the first time I have failed at something and definitely won’t be the last. I’ve been watching some videos about depression on youtube recently and one by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He talked about not failing and falling down, but failing forward and taking what you’ve learned into your next thing.
Plus, after all is said and done on this subject, the better question surely is “what if it does go well?”
Anyway, that’s enough for now. As always, I’d love to hear your views on this so please do comment.
Take care of yourselves.