When I started this blog it was with the sole intention of trying to deal with anxiety and being very open with what was going on. I also used it as a vehicle to embarrass myself into losing a significant amount of weight. This meant journaling how it affected my daily life and what sorts of things were triggering it and how I would try and cope. I was very surprised when I received an email in June sometime from someone who was also suffering with anxiety. He thought it was a unique problem and there was something very wrong with him. It was a short email just saying thanks, he now knows he's not alone and there are ways to try and make dealing with it easier.
Since then I've had a about 5 or 6 other emails from people in similar circumstances. Some in the thick of it and some coming out the other side. All with the same message of thanks for sharing what I'm going through. I hope I'm through the worst of it now but have continued my blog as it's interesting for me to journal my life and it also informs orthers about me. Tells them about what they don't see. Hopefully you can see that I'm a man with normal worries, who is completely devoted to his kids and his wife and just wants to get by with the minimum of stress.
I have been completely open about my blog with my work, my boss, colleagues and friends and told them all about this. I think I originally told about 6 people at work but have seen at least 15 different people hit the site thanks to the grapevine. I've not done it because of some vanity streak or some weird exhibitionist tendencies but because I want people to know why I'm the way I am, why I act the way I do and why I can sometimes be arsey or unreasonable and have mood swings. I don't want this to be used as an excuse but I was hoping people would at least try and understand. And mostly they have. I didn't realise that in some small way it may help others too.
What I do find curious and a sad sign of people today is that I've started getting snide comments, or digs trying to ridicule me for having a blog. Hey if you don't like it, don't read it. Go back to your own lives and do what you do. But no, they keep reading, looking for some hilarious fact. You can just imagine what goes on: "Hey did you know Steve has a blog, want a laugh, here pass it on". Strangely no one talks to me directly about it, like they shouldn't know about it. Here's a surprise: I don't care who reads it!, it's not a secret!
I reckon there are about 30 different people visit this blog regularly each week (I reckon I know who at least 7 of them are) and then another 20 or 30 who drop in as the result of web searches or links. It's been up since May and has had nearly 2000 views. If it's helped just one person be better equipped to deal with anxiety then it's worth it.
Trust me, anxiety, real anxiety is anything but funny. It can be completely debilitating. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there or is any less serious. Writing this blog and being completely honest has helped me see some triggers for my anxiety and learn to deal with them. The embarrasment factor is certainly working for the diet (over 3 1/2 stones lost so far!)
So I say hey, have your laugh, there are more important things in life that what you think.