I hate that lately I've been too scared and self-conscious to create and share my work freely. I feel like I can't express myself easily without art, craft and writing - and being unable to create makes me feel idle, bored and depressed.
The trouble started about seven months ago, when I had a terrible reaction to heart medication that had been prescribed by my cardiologist. The pills were beta-blockers, and were supposed to help with POTS and SVT, however, taking them almost resulted in me losing my mind.
I was warned that there would be side effects, but I was told they would subside within a week or two. Only they didn't subside, and I became too out-of-it to realize that the medication was responsible for the way I was feeling. Among other things, I had repetitive ultra-realistic nightmares of my own death (which I would then re-experience as flashbacks or dissociative episodes during the day), and an overwhelming fear of my own imminent death would suddenly come over me at random times. I had panic attacks that made my whole body numb, and severe anxiety that I couldn't shake. It was the worst thing that I have ever experienced in my life.
Anyway, I have blogged about the side effects I experienced on beta blockers before. To make the long story short, I ended up stopping taking the medication. I figured the heart problems could not be worse than the side effects of the tablets. After stopping the medication, my several-a-day panic attacks became once-a-week, then once-in-a-while. I have now not had a panic attack in several months! All of my side effect symptoms improved but for some residual anxiety.
This residual anxiety is still a problem, because since then, I have felt uneasy creating art and craft, and I feel especially nervous about sharing my creations. Thoughts of having it judged negatively by my friends or by those I admire trigger my anxiety to the point where I now find myself sharing very little at all.
I used to hate the way that society made other people scared to be creative. It made me sad when people would forewarn when sharing things they had drawn or made, using sentences like: "I'm not an artist, but...". I felt like they were somehow trying to distance themselves from their creation so that others judgments couldn't hurt them, and it made me sad that people would feel that way. However, lately, I have caught myself doing exactly this! It somehow feels like other people's opinions matter more now. I think I have lost the resilience that I used to have before my experiences with anxiety and the other side effects that my heart tablets caused.
I keep wondering how I can get back to being how I was before I took those awful pills, and how I can stop caring so much about what other people think of me and my work. It seems that this is not an easy task. I used to focus on the fact that the worth of creative works is subjective and that no matter how many people didn't like what I made, somewhere, someone would - even if that someone was me!
I suppose that like getting rid of the panic attacks and other symptoms, getting rid of this residual anxiety will take time. I'm sure that it won't disappear if I hide my creativity, though. So wish me luck as I embark on the next leg of my journey to beat anxiety. It won't be easy. but I am sure it will be worth it.