Darren Rowse from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.
2 weeks ago, I watched the above video by Darren Rowse. It triggered a depressive/anxious episode.
What right did these speakers have to talk about life as if it was simply a matter of motivation? Some people weren’t in a position to even dream; they were just trying to survive. I had planned to write a post detailing the monotony of being unable to function on a daily basis but, er, that would have involved effort.
My medication had stopped working a year earlier. I’d gotten a handle on the mental side of my illness but my body wasn’t holding up. I’d sleep 12 hours and wake up exhausted. I was lethargic and couldn’t do anything without getting a migraine. I was housebound. I’d forgotten what it was like to feel strong. I was a fractured shell of my former self. I knew I needed to change my medication but was petrified.
It’s hard to explain. Meds don’t change your personality, but they can impact on the chemicals inside your brain. They can make you feel manic or can numb your feelings completely. It is so scary not knowing how it will affect you.
What part of *me* would I have to sacrifice just to feel better? It was yucky. Anyway, within a week I had ditched the Effexor for Cymbalta.
Fast Forward to Problogger Event
It was the final presentation. Darren was thanking the staff and volunteers… and nearly forgot my name. I was embarassed – “Shit, my friends are here!” – but also kinda proud. My goal was to be invisible – to intuitively understand what people needed online and deliver it to them. It was to hear people talking about a problem and saying “hey, I’ll handle that for you.” It was helping overwhelmed people keep track of what they wanted to remember.
Heck, it was keeping track of anything that could be improved for next year.
The whole time I was at the back of the room typing away. I’d go on at night and in breaks even though no-one asked me to. I was on-fucking-fire.
Being an afterthought meant that I was doing my job well. And doing my job well meant that I wasn’t crippled by anxiety.
You have no idea fucking awesome that is
I’ve been sick my whole adult life. I got better but then got sick again in 2011 when I got burned by a previous employer. The past 2 years have been so hellish. Everything has been a struggle. I stopped leaving the house and I stopped doing things.
I didn’t really think of myself as being anxious during the whole event. I did leave half way through the team/speaker dinner because I was overwhelmed, but that was to be expected after such a hectic few days. It was the first time I had travelled independently since 2010. It was 4 days in a fast-paced, crowded environment that made normal people go ‘GAH!’
And I coped with it awesomely. I was exhausted, yes. But normal exhausted. The tension headaches actually responded to medication. I was able to socialize, albeit briefly.
There was just two moments where I felt the overwhelming urge to escape.
You know what this means?
This means that I’m back. It means that I’m not destined to a life of mediocrity. My brain is starting to heal itself, again. I don’t think I can explain what a relief this is.
Problogger Event was amazing as a blogger and social media professional. I could write thousands of words about how amazing it is and how I’m proud to be part of that community.
Right now, however, I’m just so glad that I’m getting better. This event was the perfect way to test whether or not I could get better.
I can. And life is fucking amazing.
I do want to say that I don’t begrudge anyone for not noticing that I was a team member. The staff worked their butts off the whole weekend and had so many things to remember. I’m surprised Darren was able to do the final presentation – he was up at 4am! on the final day. I only used the example to point out that finally, after 26 long years, I’m a grown up.