Overcoming Anxiety and Panic Attacks Through Blogging

Fifteen years ago, my anxiety symptoms were mild and very manageable. Nowadays, just planning an outing with friends makes me reach for my chamomile tea. Hell, watching Fargo near midnight doesn’t let me sleep.

Before I started writing here, I was stuck in a loop of tiredness and lack of motivation.

I’ve blogged in the past, the same way a lot of people in my generation did (I’m an older millennial). We would basically use the internet as our journal for emo thoughts and rants. This was before we had Twitter and Facebook. Communities were smaller back then. You could share your feelings while knowing that not many people would read it. It was liberating and also perfect for teen angst.

Since my pre-adolescence, writing has been my main tool for self-expression. Yet, I never used it to relieve stress until now.

Writing is widely considered to be a therapeutic tool. Your mind is already revved up from so much worry, why not put it to better use and focus on something a lot more productive? Creating.

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As for the more concrete psychological benefits, there’s nothing like the tranquility and flow a good writing session provides.

When I write, I enter an abstract world of ideas, a place that’s very comfortable and serene. That’s what I enjoyed the most about grad school. Looking for patterns and connecting the dots became my way of life, and I relished it.

After graduating, I didn’t write for a long time. I thought that I had nothing valuable to contribute. I didn’t have a PhD nor did I consider myself an expert in any field. I then realized that it didn’t matter. Sure those things help, but there’s knowledge unique to all of us.

For me, a lot of that knowledge comes from the difficulties my fellow classmates and I faced in grad school, which is why a lot of my posts focus on writing for academia and dealing with difficult instructors.

Blogging now is different from ten or fifteen years ago. It helps that Medium as a platform is, quite simply, really good. There’s a good balance of shallow (yet satisfying) listicles and thought-provoking pieces. Writing here feels accessible the way writing on Deadjournal did a long time ago. Main difference? We’ve grown up now, but we still have a lot of things to say.

Instead of writing and publishing how sad we are about our internal conflicts, we write about life experiences and offer advice to others. This is incredibly rewarding, especially when you’re not just a consumer, but a producer of content as well.

Although I would love to make a living from writing, right now I’m enjoying the psychological benefits of the writing process. As an added bonus, I’ll spend less money on therapy and medication. That’s definitely a win.