I’m scared.

Today. Tomorrow I may have another emotion. Today, it’s fear.

Emotions are ephemeral, so I don’t expect that this is forever – experience shows that it will change.

A lot is going on in my life this year.

I mean, a lot always goes on in my life. That is the nature of life, is it not?

This year, I’ve set myself up with a big lot of things that “normal” people say are scary. I am going on an intensive clown course in July. I’m doing a street show in August (which I’ve never done before and the idea terrifies me). And… well that’s enough for the moment.

But right this second, I’m more scared of the future of my personal life.

A lot has shaken me up recently. In December, I dipped into something that we might call depression. I don’t know if it would be diagnosed as such. Without “objective proof” Scientist Alex would prefer to say “a really shitty low point.”

At the same time, my research into mental health made me realise that a lot of my life has been filled with anxiety. I’d never have labelled it as anxiety, but it became clear that a lot of the problems I’ve had in life have had symptoms of anxiety.

Not “fainting to the floor after thinking of ducks” anxiety (a Soprano’s reference for you there) but the far less obvious “spirals of uncontrollable negative thought” anxiety.

I’ve always been shy. But coming out of the Covid lockdowns, the social anxiety that I’d long felt as “just being me” came back with the strong force of a hammer from Thor. Even simple social occasions suddenly became huge and would worry me for weeks afterwards (my social anxiety comes after events more than before, though it’s present throughout).

Was my social anxiety bigger than before Covid? Was it the same, but was I less used to it after having been shielded from it during lockdowns? Or was it that I’m already sensitive at this point in life because there’s some shit stuff going on in my personal life right now? Perhaps a combination.

That’s what life is like, right?

So often it’s not just one thing at once. It’s all things all at once.

And then, the latest cherry on the cake is that my sister and I think that we might have ADHD. This is a new thing and I’m not making any definite statements one way or another. Maybe we do, maybe we don’t. But the symptoms, experiences, and problems that people with ADHD talk about, which I’m discovering through my extensive research… those all seem Extremely Familiar in our family.

So it’s too early to tell on that front. But, if it were true, it would be simultaneously a huge relief (i.e. all those organizational difficulties I’ve struggled with for years are not just due to me being lazy) and scary (i.e. this is it for me going forward!?).

Who knows what the future holds on these counts.

Who knows if I am correct in my reading of the situation of my mental health or whether I’m getting it all wrong about myself.

Who knows how any of this will affect my life in the future.

The only thing I do know is that this is a turning point in my life. I don’t know what I’m turning towards, but I’m turning… sometimes sickeningly quickly.

In honour of this particular journey I’m on, I’ve called 2022 the Year of Mental Health. Because it’s the first year when I’ve suddenly been able to empathise with the struggles I’ve heard previously from people with mental health challenges.

As my sister said, “There’s nothing like getting a mental health issue to make you understand mental health issues.”

And maybe I don’t technically have a mental health issue… it’s too soon to tell. Maybe my situation falls within the “normal” bracket. Time and continued learning and action will tell.

Whatever my situation, if you’re having a tough time, for whatever reason, I feel like I can understand you more than I ever have before. Like many people, my reaction in the past has been to think of others, “It’s probably not that bad. They just need to find the right strategies and move past it.”

Which is true. But also not very helpful when you’re stuck in that zone of uncertainty. The zone that makes you feel scared.

Isn’t life just fascinating?

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