Blank Screen! The Responses

Blank Screen! The Responses

I am sitting in my chair staring at a blank screen… For the last two months, I didn’t have much inspiration to write a new blog. Sounds like a good reason right? If it was true, but to be frank, it was more the doing part that stopped me from updating my blog. I already wrote a good chunk of text, but it wasn’t perfect enough. So I started from scratch and again and again till I drove myself crazy and two months later there was still the blank screen. “Why does it have to be perfect?” I thought to myself this morning. A lot has happened in my period of absence, which I keep for myself for now. It feels like the calm before the storm, however, at this moment I just have to wait what we’re up against in the future. There’s nothing I can do right now, but what I can do is finish this blog post. And well then it isn’t perfect, so be it. At least there’s a new blog post to read.  Maybe it helps someone; a blank screen doesn’t do anyone good, including myself. So Let’s Do This!

In the meantime, I already published quite a few blogs, but whenever I post a new blog, it still makes me quite anxious. It’s not precisely a uuuh. I used for the Dutch version of my blog the word “Gezellig” Here comes the problem there is no English equivalent. But in this context, I think I can use fun. So let’s continue with the blog ___ It’s not exactly a fun subject. Yes! That works 🙂 Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is that also my friends, family, and colleagues can read this blog. I received messages in my email that I should be careful with what I post on the internet. Because maybe I can’t find a job in the future or even worse getting fired. Who wants to have a person at his company with depression and an anxiety disorder that is sometimes standing at the ‘edge.’

The interesting part is all these messages with well-intended advice are coming from my Dutch readers. The stigma surrounding mental health is still going strong in our small country that’s for sure, although I received many encouraging messages too. It’s not easy to be ‘open’ about my mental health problems. But every message that feeds into the stigma makes me aware that it’s needed. I’m not alone; many other people are suffering from mental health issues. They have jobs or even run their own company, and their productivity is not different from any other person. Some are maybe even more productive.

The side effect of my anxiety disorder is that I sometimes double check my work and fix last-minute issues, which I might wouldn’t have found otherwise. Personally, I wouldn’t enjoy working for a company where they don’t accept the real me. No, you don’t have to shout it from the roofs. It’s not like when I come somewhere that I directly share my story. But if it comes up I try not to avoid it, which can be quite challenging with a social anxiety disorder.

When I posted my first blog, I was well aware that everyone could read it, including my colleagues across the globe. Though it still hit me a bit by surprise when I received messages on Slack (team chat). Some of my colleagues wrote me about their own stories because they recognized parts of mine. Both my bosses expressed to me that they admire my openness and most importantly that I sought help. That was the moment when I thought “Okay I’m accepted here for who I am.” I was afraid at first that I might be treated differently, but the truth is that isn’t bad. I have quite often more in-depth conversations with some of my colleagues nowadays. We’re one big family, and I’m very thankful for the support and understanding! I know that isn’t everywhere the case.

I received many messages from friends, family and even former classmates. Just before I posted my first blog, I already informed some people close to me about what was coming, including my brother. I share pretty much everything with him, but still, I kept some details under wraps. Writing about it was much more comfortable and when I put the blog online and visited my brother. His first response was “What a story!” I didn’t say much, but later that night we did talk about it.

Also, my friends expressed how happy they were that I sought therapy instead of keeping it all to myself and do something that can’t be reversed. To stick to game terms there is no ‘respawn’ it’s permanent, I’m well aware of that. A dear friend of mine said: “I hope we can enjoy you for a long time Jeroen! I told him, I hope for the same and work very hard on it, but it’s not a button that I can just switch off and gone are all the bad thoughts, although EFT comes pretty damn close to it and therapy obviously helps me a lot too. Just talking about it even though that can be really difficult at times. At therapy, you often hear things you don’t like to hear, but you have to hear. In the meanwhile, I made some good progress to become Jeroen 2.0 and even though I am not there yet and maybe I never will. 1.9 Might be enough too, better than a blank screen right?!

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

 

2 Replies to “Blank Screen! The Responses”

  1. I really enjoyed this Jeroen! I admire your strength…I really do!!! Keep it going buddy!! You are helping many with your honest sharing.
    Be well,
    Joanne xo