What can I do for you during a panic attack? Don’t you ever worry that you won’t make enough money? Wouldn’t going out for a bit help you get over your depression? Why can’t you ditch work to hang out Wednesday morning when you’re your own boss?
The questions I get about my mental health, career choice and the intersections of the two are quite repetitive and I’ve found myself answering them frequently, sometimes needing to tell the same friends multiple times that I’m trying to keep steady hours during the week and will only infrequently and for good reason take a day off.
I’ve answered well-intentioned and rude questions alike many, many times. Even questions that are super helpful become a huge time waster and a bit annoying when answered a dozen times.
I also often find myself drowning in messages from friends. Having dozens of texts to reply to gives me mad anxiety, especially when some require thoughtful responses.
After February’s concussion, the repetitive questions became bad for my health. Why can’t you answer text messages? What happens when you go to the grocery store? Can’t you talk on the phone?
Having to think through the answers gave me wicked headaches and made me dizzy, but I wanted to keep friends in the loop and let people know why I wasn’t responding to the silly Facebook messages they were sending to cheer me up.
My now husband suggested I write stock responses to copy-paste to friends.
Great idea. And a great idea to carry over into my anxious freelance life.
What can I do for you during a panic attack?
Thanks for asking! I need to not be touched and not be peppered with questions. If you could just grab me a glass of water, help get me somewhere quiet and calm, and then be patient, that’d be super rad.
Don’t you ever worry that you won’t make enough money?
Yup. All the fucking time. But worrying about that won’t help pay the bills. I have some tools for dealing with my money anxiety.
Wouldn’t going out for a bit help you get over your depression?
Nope. That will just make me anxious and self-conscious about how shitty I’m feeling. I’m better off staying at home and taking good care of myself here.
Why can’t you hang out Wednesday morning if you’re self-employed?
I need to stick to a schedule and get work done. If I ditch work every time I don’t feel like working, I’d never get paid. If I get ahead of my schedule, I can take a bit of time off. I’ll let you know next time I’m thinking about playing hooky and maybe we can do something fun?
Join in on the discussions about what the freelance life is like for people with mental health struggles on my Facebook page.