Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , ,| By
It’s with a tightness in my chest filled with anxiety, I tell you that I’m lost. I feel uneasy, confused and uncomfortable. Maybe you can relate to these feelings I’m sharing more than you care to admit. These moments come at weird random times and intervals I can’t often predict. The voice inside my head tells me I’m not good enough that I need to be more, and I worry that I’ve ventured down the wrong path away from what was fame, fortune, happiness or my destiny.
I think about these things sometimes often especially as I enter my 39th year which happens in January 2017. We aren’t getting any younger. Our time on this existence is limited. I want to make sure I experience all I can and make the best life for my husband, myself and my daughter. All these thoughts lend to even more anxiety about my anxiety.
These feelings and thoughts don’t happen all the time mind you. They come at a moment when I’m deep in my work, I’m lost in my thoughts as I drift off to sleep, or when I’m enjoying a moment with my family. They also happen when I’m writing a blog post openly admitting I have anxiety, depression and thoughts that lend me to question myself, my abilities and qualifications. I don’t just feel anxiety. I feel guilty for even having anxiety. Not following? Don’t worry. I’ll explain.
The Perfect Life
I feel guilty because I have a
perfect good life and yet I have these weird, lost and uncomfortable thoughts. My life is pretty darn awesome. By most accounts I’m successful in my work, career and life. While I’m no Mark Zuckerberg, I never set out to be him. I like being me. I can pay my bills. I have a close group of friends I can rely on. My family and myself are healthy and I feel guilty feeling uncertain because I have friends who are working through some serious personal and family challenges right now. They are going through some epic shit. I’m not and I feel bad for having anxiety. My problems are small in comparison to what they’re going through. For example, my friend lost her father a week and a half ago after he had battled in the hospital for months with infection and refusing to eat. I have another friend who was told her job would be ending at the end of the year and is actively looking for work. Their holiday celebration has taken a bit of a financial blow. I don’t have these kinds of challenges or problems right now in my life. Sometimes I meet with them or catch up with them on the phone and feel like a total ass because I’m talking to them about a panic attack I had or the fact that I couldn’t sleep last night because I had insomnia because of this ebook I’m writing. Who knew that having a perfect good life could result in guilt and anxiety. My mom never sat down with me and told me that I would still feel anxiety, guilt and be lost even though by most accounts I have a happy fairy tale of a life. No one talks about what happens after the book, Disney fairy tale or movie ends. People still have struggles. People still overcome obstacles. That’s why it’s life.
Technology is the Source of My Anxiety
With the advent of technology like mobile phones and social media platforms, we are offered the opportunity to see into the lives of others more than ever before which I think is where much of my personal anxiety stems from. It’s not the reason for my anxiety but accounts for a great deal. Although I try very hard not to, I am using this technology to compare myself, my life, my career and my happiness against that of others. It’s feeding, no, it’s fueling my anxiety.
- No one has a perfect life
- Appearances one sees on social media and in person are not always reality
- We are all struggling and dealing with life challenges no matter our class, circumstance or life experience
- Comparing yourself to others can’t bring you happiness
I find it ironic that the same technology that I use in my work and consulting business is also the source of much of my personal challenges. You might remember I wrote a book on how to use Twitter called Tweet This! The technology that connects us can also harm us which is why we have to make personal choices and give ourselves permission to feel the feelings we are experiencing, acknowledge them but also know when it’s time to make a change.
75% of Adults Lie on Facebook About Their Life
In August of this year, I deleted Facebook from my phone. After several weeks of going Facebook free, I eased my way back on the platform limiting my time spent there. I am committed to spending more time in face to face conversations and phone calls versus simply connecting on social media. I have made a conscious decision to limit my time. While it’s a great resource, engagement and networking platform, it often makes me unproductive and is a source of anxiety personally. Life is too short to worry about someone I haven’t seen, connected with or engaged in 5 years. It’s also worth noting that 75% of adults lie on social media platforms like Facebook about their life. We want to portray that we live the perfect life which is why I’m admitting here I don’t have one. I have a good life and yet I still have sadness, anxiety and dysfunction, but I also have happiness, success and friendship.
It’s not just technology that is to blame. It’s me. I am the reason for anxiety, guilt and sadness. I’m the reason for the happiness, success and friendship too. We have and are responsible for our own lives. We have our own path and we need to stop feeling guilty and know there are peaks valleys and feelings associated with those things that are unique. I have committed to working through the root of my anxiety and guilt which I’m taking time for some much needed self-reflection, meditation, yoga and time away from work. Most importantly, we need to quit comparing ourselves to others whether our friends in real life or the ones we scroll by on social media. We have to just be okay with me, my life and my choices. No one has a perfect but my life is my own social media or not, technology or not. It starts with me. It starts with you.