Take an insecurity and ratchet it all the way up and what do you get? An anxiety.
I've probably obliquely mentioned that I have anxiety issues before. But I'm one of those people who likes to (needs to, really) maintain a veneer of being calm and collected no matter how I feel on the inside. So while I'm projecting this...
There's a very real chance that on the inside I look more like this...
And the problem with the anxiety that I suffer is that it's general, meaning that at any given point in time I'm feeling strong anxiety about nothing in particular that manifests its self by making everything I want to do difficult. My anxiety isn't based on anything real or anything rational for the most part. And let me tell you, that drives me insane. Because I am a very rational and logical person. So I can sit back and examine my symptoms of anxiety and KNOW that there's nothing to be anxious about, no reason to argue about the possible consequences of every little thing, no basis to most of my fears. And yet, that knowledge has absolutely no affect on my symptoms. I simply can't control the physical effects of my fear. I can't stop the breathing difficulty or the rapidly beating heart or the muscular paralysis or anything else that I experience every time I need to make an important phone call. (That's right, I get severe anxiety from making phone calls. It's stupid and really, really inconvenient and I've been struggling against it for years with no results.)
Quite honestly, anxiety is something that people who have never suffered from it can't understand most of the time.
And I'm talking about this today because in addition to phone calls, trying new tastes, needles and other various things I suffer from anxiety of putting my own words out there for other people to read. I know that this is what's been holding me back for a long time as a writer. It was easier, once upon a time, when I didn't really consider publication as the goal of my writing. I just wrote because I couldn't help it and the only person I ever showed any of it to was my husband. Now that every word I write has the potential to be seen by the public...
Well, let's just say I even have a hard time hitting the publish button on blog posts. There's a part of me always second guessing myself, whispering "You could have said that much better with a bit more time". But down that road lies madness. If you start telling yourself that with a bit more work it could be so much better (even though it's true) then you'll never get around to publishing anything because it could ALWAYS get better. None of us are sitting down to the computer and typing up perfection on the first draft or even the 50th.
For me, this particular madness is preemptive. Before I even get a first draft down the voices are whispering to me, "Why bother? You'll never get it right. It will always fall short of what you want it to be." And that's probably true as well. It's probably been true of all the masterpieces of literature that were ever published. In one way or another, they fell short of the author's vision. And yet we have those masterpieces because at some point the writer looked at his or her creation and said "It is good." Not "It is perfect and could never get better" but simply "It is good."
I haven't managed to reach this point yet, but I'm working on it. I suspect simple discipline is necessary and I am admittedly not a very disciplined person in my habits. That's something I plan to work on this year.
So how about you? Do you struggle with this anxiety? Have you found ways of combating it? I could use all the tips and tricks I can get.