I was the kid who took school projects way too seriously.
I took simple homework assignments and turned them into massive projects. I spent hours measuring construction paper to make the most perfectly symmetrical poster boards. In my senior year of high school, I was so nervous about filling ten minutes for a Spanish presentation on Frida Kahlo that I decided to cover her entire body of work. My presentation ended up being over thirty minutes long.
Some people would see this behavior and assume I felt I had something to prove, or that I felt inadequate. But that was never the case. I simply loved school, I loved creating, and I held myself to high standards because I enjoyed the challenge. Could I have spent a little more time playing outside as a kid? Probably. But I took so much pride in my work and enjoyed the process too much to do anything less than #theMOST.
Non-binary author, actor, activist, and healer Jeffrey Marsh writes in their book “How To Be You” about this idea that we are all told that we are “too ‘something’” - and that ‘something’ is, in fact, our superpower.
Growing up, I had inexplicable and irrational fears, both conscious and subconscious, that controlled my life. School field trips were like Russian roulette — some were fun, and some ended with me being picked up early in excruciating pain that would dissipate as soon as I got home. I would keep myself up for hours analyzing every single event of my day as if there was a secret code that needed to be sorted out. This, among other behaviors, led me into therapy at age 11, where I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and put on medication, which gave me my life back. I have been in and out of therapy ever since, and have been medicated and unmedicated in that time.
I am noticing now that a lot of people who have never lived with anxiety are really struggling to manage it and I wanted to share some of the big things I’ve learned by being in my brain and working it out in therapy. Consider this a therapy redux: obviously it is not a satisfactory replacement for therapy (which I HIGHLY recommend!) but hopefully it can give you some peace of mind or tools as we navigate this really strange time.