Anxiety; The Mountain

Anxiety; The Mountain

What if? I asked myself that question a lot. Walking down the street, talking to a stranger or someone I know, traveling to another country, making phone calls, sending a message, drinking in front of strangers and many more situations… They quite often start with the question “What if I do something wrong?”. The cycle ends with the same question… What if I did say something wrong, what if my voice wasn’t clear, what if I didn’t wave to that person, what if I was shaking while I was holding my glass. What if? The most common things in life can be a challenge for me and many times they were, and some still are…

To write about my anxiety disorder is tough because it gives me anxiety. My heart is beating faster, I breathe heavier, and my leg is shaking right now while I write this. It feels like there is a defense mechanism that doesn’t want me to open up about my anxiety. It likes to stay in the dark and constrain me to my comfort zone. It’s trying to tell me that everything outside is dangerous! Feels like being trapped in a cage. There were times that anxiety had full control over me and I wasn’t able to go outside the house without feeling frightened. My brain went in full horror mode like someone with an ax was chasing me… Maybe I see someone I know, and I have to say something. Sounds like a simple thing but when you have anxiety, it’s challenging. I thought a lot about this, and I think one of the reasons I never asked for help was because I felt ashamed. I still feel that way a little bit.

The tricky part of anxiety and especially my social anxiety is that it isn’t always there. I have my good and bad days. My bad days are far less bad than a few years ago though. On a bad day when I go outside, I know in a matter of minutes if I can function like a ‘normal’ person. Though even on a good day it can suddenly hit me. When it happens, I try to hide it even if it’s a panic attack. Back in the day I wasn’t able to do that and ended up in some awkward situations, which resulted in weeks and even months of thinking about it.

Anxiety is difficult to deal with and made me feel quite desperate at times. It’s like a huge mountain between me and my goals. There is always the question do I climb the mountain or do I stay in my comfort zone? If I reach the top of the mountain EUREKA!! If I fail and fall off the mountain, it often results in being depressed. If I decide to stay where I am, I mostly feel fine. Though after a while, I can still end up depressed. Anxiety is the invisible person inside me that tries to ruin my life and career. It’s just waiting till I give up fighting but that’s not going to happen. Giving up is not in my vocabulary. I might take longer to get where I want, but in the end, I will accomplish my goals and reach the top. I made an oath to myself a long time ago that anxiety would never stop me from becoming a successful game developer. Even if you have anxiety, you can still be successful and pursue your dreams. When I started, I could barely communicate on skype, because I was so scared that I couldn’t speak… These days I lead our level design team, conduct job interviews, mentor aspiring game developers and when I have time I stream on Twitch.

In my personal life, it’s a lot harder to manage my anxiety as you could read above. However, I’ve made quite some progress with therapy so far. I don’t have full control over it yet because even though I know why it happens. I can’t stop it from happening. Though EFT(Emotional Freedom Techniques) helps me a lot to cope with it, anxiety and EFT are definitely not friends. Every morning I check my mental health status, kind of like running a system check on a PC haha. When I feel tense, I do a few rounds of EFT and sometimes meditate after. My System check isn’t always correct, but I think it becomes more accurate through time. If you didn’t already, I hope when you read this, and you’re dealing with anxiety that you seek for professional help. Anxiety can lead to a depression very fast, and that’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Don’t let it win!

Thank you for reading and if you find this blog interesting, please like and share on social media!! Also, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly. 

Jeroen van Werkhoven 

You can find me on Twitter | Instagram and Facebook

6 Replies to “Anxiety; The Mountain”

  1. What if you didn’t take this journey to recovery, to put yourself out there, to do what you always dreamed of doing in life? What if you let fear take over or let your past define who you are today? If you did all those things; you wouldn’t be who or where you are today. You wouldn’t be the strong, vibrant, reslient, kind, caring, loyal, & very talented person that I know & many other people adore.

    You have came a long way & anxiety is not easy to handle. Even if doesn’t go away completely; you still have control of how much it affects your smile. You still can say no to that depression, & negative thoughts. Those EFT are a blessing indeed. I wish I had that when I battled depression a few years ago when my ex gf cheated on me. I didn’t have ASMR or many friends. I had God & my grandma who helped me through.

    He still loves you & won’t give up on you. I think time & good people heal all wounds my friend. I pray that each day gets easier for you. Remember you aren’t in this fight alone 😊. I’ll continue to share this great movement on my Twitter. This one especially, I will share it ASAP. Buddy just hang in there cuz I know brighter days are coming 🌠

    1. Thank you buddy! Your words and support mean a lot to me. I’m very sorry to hear that you went through that. Stay strong!

  2. You are so great at articulating how you’re feeling Jeroen. I felt some similar things, especially with the “what if”. But after really thinking about it, “what if I’m shaking, what if my voice cracks” I realize…it’s okay. It doesn’t mean anything. It just is. 🙂 I’m so happy to see you are making progress. The fact that you have these big responsibilities at work is such a huge victory.

    1. Thank you Amy!! 🙂 Yeah true, it just is but my head doesn’t always work like that yet. Though I’m working on it.

  3. Jeroen, I am so proud of the way that you are walking the the fire known as fear. When you describe how your anxiety affects you I can totally relate. I feel that way so often. I think what you’re doing and the way that you’re doing it to bring awareness to anxiety issues and depression is going to help many as well as yourself. Thank you for your help. Big hugs for what you’re going through with your dear loved one.

    1. Thank you Kathy for your ongoing support and interest means a lot. Even if I only help one person I’m already happy 🙂 Hugs!