How Instagram is helping my Anxiety

Anxiety is a bitch. It really is.

I know a lot of people suffer from anxiety and they keep it bottled up. It’s something like a taboo. And I don’t know why. Because I think it’s a common problem in today’s age, where so much is expected of everyone and really, we’re all just kids in adult bodies trying to forge a path in this world that just doesn’t make sense.

I mean, in what sane world do you tell a 17/18 year old – hey, make a decision about what you’d like to do FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE right now. Like, now. You have a deadline of  28 days to put in your university preferences. And if you’re good enough, you’ll get an offer. If you’re not, just choose something else.

That’s bullshit. I am 23 at the moment and I look back to when I was 17 and it horrifies me. I knew shit. But the scary part is – I THOUGHT I knew everything. I thought I knew myself and all my likes and dislikes. I thought I knew what made the world go round – money, of course. Money is all and money is everything. If I don’t have that house and car and Prada handbag by the time I’m 25 then I’m a complete and utter failure.

When I was 17 I thought I wanted kids by 25 because ew who wants to be an old mum (dude, no sperm is impregnating me at 25, not even close).

When I was 17 I thought pink was my favourite colour. I know that’s just something small, but it’s not. It’s blue. That changed since I was 17 and it’s probably one of the most insignificant things ever.

When I was 17 I thought I disliked red wine, that I would never drink alcohol in my life because drunk people are just nasty (HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAH)

When I was 17 I thought that I’d never smoke. (Just for the record, I am not and have never been a smoker. Doesn’t mean I haven’t tried it though – and that would have horrified 17 year old me).

The point that I’m trying to make is you change. You grow up. You slowly realise that you don’t know shit. And just that fact, of actually having the penny drop that you don’t know shit and realising you have so much to learn, makes you wiser.

That penny is starting to drop for me. I don’t think it has fully. But it’s a realisation I had last year. And it threw my entire life out of whack. It amped up my anxiety, it made me feel lost, it made me question every single thing. It made me cry and scream and be angry at the social order of our world. It made me go a little nuts at times and I’m sure I had like, a quarter life crisis at some point last year because I was all, what is life and what makes me happy and what do I want to do with my days?

I switched jobs last year from working in a law firm to running a business. It was probably the best decision I have ever made. But running a business isn’t a simple feat. It’s tough. I love it, but it’s tough. And it’s those doubts that drive up my anxiety. What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m a failure? What if I become homeless? Anxiety does that to you – it makes you envision the worst case scenario repeatedly. It’s makes you stand frozen. It clouds your thoughts. It’s something that is so hard to control and shove away in a box. It sucks.

I don’t want anxiety to rule my life. I don’t want it to make me cower in fear. I want to rise above and beyond it. I want to be innovative. I want to be FEARLESS. And I know part of reaching that means that I need to treat anxiety like a bad friend and cut off all ties, unfriend them from Facebook and surround myself with things that make me happy. This may sound weird, but Instagram (follow me @jessica_grundy) is helping SO MUCH. It’s forcing me to take pictures. It’s forcing me to look around and see the beauty in life to capture and share. It’s forcing me to think about the world around me rather than focusing inwards.

It means I am connecting with more people and getting inspired by more people. It means that I’m out there rather than holed up at home worrying about every scenario. So far, it has helped in 2016. I’m going to keep using Instagram to force myself to appreciate my world. It’s nice to see the likes and follows slowly pour in and know that others are appreciating the photos too.

I know anxiety will be a hard thing to over. I think I’ve had anxiety ever since I was young, probably 5-6 years old. It’s been with me ever since. Sometimes I forget that I have it. Sometimes it’s all I can think about for a day. But I am determined to not let it beat me.  Because I’m much stronger than the red devil telling me everything is going to fall to pieces. This is me saying out loud that I have anxiety, I’m going to deal with it, and it’s going to be something that I defeat.

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5 thoughts on “How Instagram is helping my Anxiety”

  1. This is a great manifesto on the quarter life crisis and on anxiety! You write with a great voice. I’m interested in your career switch, as I’m going through an extended quarter life crisis myself. Did the career switch lessen or provoke your anxiety? Has it helped your day to day anxiety?

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    1. Thanks! I really appreciate your comment. My anxiety changed – I still have it but it’s different now. Before my career switch, I was anxious from the moment I woke up. I dreaded getting ready for work, I dreaded driving to work and walking into the office. I disliked the people I worked with as I hated their ethics in the profession. My supposed ‘mentors’ couldn’t be further from being inspiring or mentoring – they were probably the most dislikable people in the entire firm and they happened to be my superiors. My colleagues at the same firm even said themselves they would quit on the spot if they had to work for them. So their unreasonable expectations really drove up my anxiety every single day and despite that fact that I knew I was a very good employee, they never gave out rewards but focused on every single negative, even small typos that they themselves were constantly guilty of. So for me, I hugely disliked the people I worked with and that was a huge contributing factor to my daily anxiety as, to be honest, I saw them more than my own family on a daily basis.

      Now, I have so much more freedom and I don’t wake up like that. I wake up happy, I wake up motivated. I enjoy being at work and I enjoy what I do. The anxiety instead comes from fear of the unknown. Will this succeed? Am I making the right decisions? What I currently have is probably classic business anxiety and it probably won’t go away for a while until I continue to see growth in what I’m doing – it’s happening, but my anxiety is just getting in the way and making me doubt myself at times. But I would choose this type of anxiety over the other (which I’m sure bordered on depression for months at a time) any day.

      I’m happy to talk to you about any concerns you have, because quarter life crises can be a serious whack in the face and it always unexpected.

      Hope that helped a little 🙂

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      1. Sounds like the environment made a big difference to you. That first environment definitely sounds like a recipe for anxiety. I’m excited to get to that place where I wake up motivated for work. At some points in the year, I’m fine with it, and other times (like now, midwinter where I live) is harder. And I guess I’m still deciding “what I want to be when I grow up,” haha. But it’s good to hear that the environment made such a big difference. I really appreciate you sharing your story 🙂

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