Losing control, increasing anxiety

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This year, my life has been spiralling out of my control.

It started off when I literally lost control of my car. The concussion I got from that left me unable to work with no real timeline of when I’d be able to read or write again. And then I moved to the US and was left unable to work both because of the injury and because I needed to wait for the work permits.

I was up and down, going between a deep depression from being unable to do anything to an optimism that things would get better, but everything fell apart incorrect immigration paperwork was filed and we ended up a month behind the process. I’d initially been on track to be back in Winnipeg for the Vegan Handmade Market I’m running on Dec. 2. Whether or not I make it is now up in the air and is basically out of my control. (But don’t worry, it’ll happen whether or not I’m there.)

There’s so much that can be controlled when you’re an artist. What kind of work you do, how you get it out there. When you work, how much you work. It’s one thing I love about being self-employed. As long as I keep working ahead of my schedule, I can basically do whatever I feel like most days.

But there are always things that are out of my control.

No matter how much I take care of myself, some days the anxiety and depression are going to throw me down. I have no power to make sure an editor accepts my work and doesn’t make so many edits that it is no longer recognizable. I can’t make my work permits come sooner.

For a few years, I’ve had wild nightmares. They almost always revolve around me losing control. I’m driving from the backseat and can’t reach the brakes. I’ve taken my cats somewhere off leash and can’t gather them all back.

Being here is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Yet it seems so easy. Just sit still and wait for everything out of my control to work itself out. It’s a good lesson in finally dealing with my control issues and learning patience, and an opportunity to do so. But how?

When’s a time when everything has fallen out of your control? How did it impact your mental health and what did you do about it? Send me an email at megjcrane@gmail.com or join the discussion on my Facebook page.

 

Be your own coach

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Somedays fucking suck.

Somedays, I can barely breath because of the crushing anxiety. Somedays, I forget about all my successes. Everything just seems absolutely hopeless. What’s even the point of continuing to freelance? It’s not going to get me anywhere.

The evidence against my extreme pessimistic views are in my bank account and resume, but when you get down too deep, who’s going to remember that? Not me, let me tell ya.

But if not me, who else?

It’s not my husband’s, friends’ or fellow freelancers’ responsibility to drag me out of my depressive holes. It’s my own.

Finding inspiration or storing evidence against my false beliefs is helpful, but sometimes I just need a good pep talk, and who better to give me one than myself? After all, I know myself and what gets me out of a slump better than anyone else.

I’ve gotten rather good at giving pep talks by regularly offering them to friends when they’re not feeling like their awesome selves. It takes a little practice to be able to turn that around on oneself, but it’s important because, especially as a freelancer, you can’t always count on someone being around and having the right words.

Here’s a basic, standard, probably not super helpful because it’s not personalized pep talk:

You’re doing great. Despite everything your brain puts you through, you still get shit done. Incredible. Some people would crumble under the anxiety, but not you. Sure, it gets you down sometimes, but you get back up. You’re a badass, kickass human being who’s taking on the world like no one else can. Pick yourself up, take a day to rejuvenate and keep up the great work.

Wanna practice your pep talk skills? Shoot me a draft of what you’d say to yourself at megjcrane@gmail.com or post it on Instagram and tag @MegJCrane.

 

 

What’s up with Meg J Crane?

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I’m switching up the format a bit right now to let you know what I’m up to.

I’ve let you know a bit about a survey I’m doing to see what sorts of things I can do to support creatives who have anxiety, I’m planning a weekly newsletter for creatives who struggle with anxiety and I’m focusing this blog’s content more on what it’s like to be a creative who deals with poor mental health.

Here’s the deal: While I’ve only recently gotten a name for all the issues I deal with, I have had anxiety and depression since I was a child and PTSD since I was a teenager. Through the absolute best and the absolute worst, I’ve always been a writer. Sometimes I’ve also used other mediums to express myself, but even on days when I’m too depressed to pick up a pen, I’m always a creative at heart.

I’ve learned a lot. Through starting to open up about my mental health, I’ve connected with so many other creatives who are dealing with similar feelings. And many of them come to me with questions about how they can improve their life. Rather than keep giving advice and support on a one-to-one basis, I’ve decided it would be most efficient and helpful if I started focusing more of my career on supporting and motivating other creatives with mental health issues. (Which doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t want to still have those one-on-one discussions!)

A huge portion of my life is dedicated to my creative work, my mental health and trying to help other people, so it only feels natural that I finally combine all three.

But I do want to know how best to help people on a bigger scale. Check out my survey to let me know if I’m on the right track with the things I’m thinking about and to leave me some suggestions of your own. You can also send me an email or post a comment here if you’ve got thoughts for future blog topics or want to talk more about products.

And, of course, sign-up for my newsletter if you think it’ll help you. In it, I’m prompting a lot of private convos with my audience and I’m so excited to get started with the first one on July 31.