Why I’m a Freelancer 2: Electric Boogaloo

Brace yourself, this is a humblebrag blog. At least, I think it is. I never quite got a handle on humblebragging, which means I probably do it accidentally all the time. Anyway. I was shocked (or “shook” as the kids say these days? Maybe?) because I really wasn’t expecting such an outpouring of kind words resulting from my last blog, so thank you.

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In an uncharacteristic fit of self-indulgence (HAHA, omg who am I kidding?) I wanted to reflect on a few things off the back of it, so do allow me a little wankery.

I was surprised by the number of people that got in touch, both publicly and privately, to say the piece resonated with them and they found familiarity in my experience. Naively and probably very myopically, I thought I was more alone than I really was. When you’re stranded on the shrinking grey island of anxiety, it’s lonely and isolating even if you have wonderful people around you, so perhaps my stupid assumption makes sense in that context. I’m also, literally, very short-sighted. Can’t see shit. I’ll blame that.

In a way, it was saddening. I don’t particularly want many/any people to have also experienced the life-limiting fear of nothing, so the fact that there was practically an army of fellow anxious people just amongst my friends was really… horrible? I guess? However, I was especially touched when friends shared their issues off the back of the blog – I’ve always reckoned it’s much harder to admit a mental health wobble to a friend than a stranger, so that felt like a Big Deal.

Speaking of interaction, I know that a relatively small number of people will see a link on their Twitter or Facebook timeline. Then, only a small percentage will actually click through to read the content. Then, an EVEN SMALLER percentage will interact with the content with replies, retweets, likes and stuff. My point is, for such a teeny-weeny blog I had a lot of interaction, which was incredible. Actually, even if you just read the damn thing, you still count. I have Google Analytics, you know.

One surprise was an ex-colleague getting in touch to say they wish they’d realised how much I was struggling and done something to help. To be honest, I’m really very glad they didn’t, because it would have meant my carefully constructed (but paper-thin) facade had failed. And we couldn’t have that now! But I’m so grateful they got in touch, it meant a lot.

A few people have called me brave, but considering I didn’t expect many people to read the blog, I’m really not. Like yeah, ok, I posted the link on social media, but I seriously wasn’t expecting many people to read it and share it. Really. It was mostly an exercise in catharsis. (Christ, look at Humblebrag McHumblebraggington over here. Seriously, what a puke, I’m dreadful.)

When it comes to mental health, they say that talking helps and boringly enough, it’s true. It does. Sometimes, all you need is one person brave enough to say their problems out loud, to let a whole bunch of people know that they are not alone. So, if you want a properly brave someone, that’s Aaron ‘@TechnicallyRon’ Gillies, who does wonderful work talking about mental health in the media and has recently announced he’ll be writing a book called The Anxiety Survival Guide. Also, he’s fucking funny.

Lastly, a gigantic but mumbled thanks-so-much-head-down-awkward-shuffle for the, er, many compliments on my writing. I don’t really know what to do with that, so I’ve decided that you all just feel sorry for me and decided to dole out compliments to make me feel better. Of course.

OK, enough. This isn’t a fucking Oscars speech, so I’ll wrap it up. I want to blog more often and get some writing practise under my belt because I enjoy it, so expect more. I can’t promise to bare my crummy soul every time as that would be tedious in the extreme, but perhaps I’ll write some more things you’ll be interested in reading. Or I’ll post cat photos, that could also work! Much easier.

p.s. I’m sorry about the misleading picture of pizza but this week I remembered how to make pizzas from scratch, so pizza is on my mind 24/7.

p.p.s. I’M ACTUALLY NOT SORRY AT ALL, NOT ONE BIT. LOOK UPON MY PIZZA, YE READERS, AND DESPAIR!