It sounds easy, right?
But for some reason, I could never find willing participants. The questions were usually light and fluffy (“what are you doing for the holidays?”) or related to local politics (“how do you feel about the mayor’s latest decision?”). People always seem to have an opinion on local politics and are always willing to talk about light and fluffy topics.
Maybe it was my press badge or my camera that made people shy away. After all, to share personal information with the world is a very brave thing. (Even if “personal information” is merely an opinion about the city council election, and even if “world” is merely the radius of your local newspaper distribution map.)
But now, I’m not walking around the street with a press badge. I’m walking around the internet as a patient of panic disorder. I’m walking around the internet as a mental health advocate. I’m walking around on the internet and Twitter and Facebook as a human being who enjoys connecting with others.
Especially those of you who share my struggles: panic, anxiety, agoraphobia, and the like.
And so, I’m launching my new blog series called “Anxiety Society.” Call it an extended version of the “man-on-the-street” interview, but conducted within the context of the internet. For each post in the series, I’ll be interviewing an anxiety sufferer and asking questions like:
- How do you cope with your anxiety?
- What advice do you have for other sufferers?
- What type of therapy have you found the greatest benefit from?
And so on. We’ll hear stories from many wonderful people from all walks of life. If you — like many of us — don’t have any real-life friends or acquaintances with whom you can chat about severe anxiety, you’ll want to stay tuned for this series. I’ll present it as a conversational dialogue, as if between friends over coffee, and invite you to join in and comment with your thoughts and responses.
The series will embody this simple message: you are never, ever alone. No matter how frightening the anxiety or panic may be, or how strange or disconcerting your superstitions or “safety behaviors” are, you are in good company. You are not alone, and you aren’t crazy.
The first post in the series is coming soon.