I don’t like being vocal about my problems

I don't like being vocal about my problems (but I speak up anyway)

I don’t like being vocal about my problems. It’s scary and uncomfortable. It feels as if there’s so much wrong with me, so much to be fixed. I suffer from asthma, which makes my body feel weak. Training with others is a nightmare because even the least fit ones outrun me. I also suffer from anxiety, extreme worrying, and fear of failure. It doesn’t matter that I’m extremely smart, I still doubt myself too often and think I’m not capable of accomplishing anything. And to add to all that mess, I didn’t have the best childhood and also crossed paths with too many assholes.

Just thinking about all these things makes me feel ashamed of myself. Writing about them feels wrong. I’m ‘high functioning’, so people usually don’t notice that there’s anything wrong with me. I’m smart, hold a good job, have a stable income, and I have a boyfriend and great friends. I rent my own apartment, I rarely drink and I’m not a drug addict. I never harmed myself, never tried committing suicide and I’ve never taken off time from work because of my problems.

My problems are invisible and easy to hide

My mind may do over time, be filled with worries, worst case scenarios, and what-ifs, but I rarely feel emotionally drained. I rarely feel tired because of it. I don’t hyperventilate or get (visible) panic attacks at work. My therapy appointments are after working hours as well. People don’t know there’s anything wrong. They don’t know about my irrational fears, my worries, my doubts or my worst-case scenarios. 

It’s easier to let them think I’m ok. It’s easier to not write about my problems. It’s easier to write the fluffy clickbait articles. It’s easier to ignore my problems. Every time I publish a personal post I’m scared to read the responses.

What will people think of me? Will they think I’m stupid? Stop reading my blog? Unsubscribe? What if someone I know reads this? Will they stop being my friend? Will I get fired?

Stigma around mental health won’t be removed by writing Buzzfeed articles about cat facts

It would be so much easier to just stick to writing reviews all the time, or to only post pictures of the Norwegian fjords, or write about my cat. But that’s not what I want. I want to help to create an environment where people aren’t afraid to speak up. You’re not stupid because you have problems. You’re not a lesser person because you have flaws. It’s ok to have problems. It’s ok to be imperfect.

I’m a good developer, a good worker, a good leader, a good person, a good friend, and a good lover. I may doubt myself, I may be scared a lot, I may run out of breath all the time. But I’m not weak, stupid or weird. I’m the same person I was yesterday before I spoke up. I’m the same person you always thought I was, I just have some flaws. I’m not perfect, but I’m human.

Having flaws doesn’t mean being imperfect, but being human

I want people to know it’s ok to be imperfect, it’s ok to have mental or physical problems, it’s ok to be scared and it’s ok to make mistakes. I want people to know that it’s ok to step forward and open up. It’s ok to talk about your problems. It’s ok to show the world your imperfections. The rest of the world isn’t perfect either, they’re just hiding their flaws just like I used to hide mine. 

I want to live in a society where all of this is ok. Where having problems doesn’t mean being imperfect, but being human. A society where people can talk about their issues and collectively work on improving them. 

And the best way to achieve that is by setting an example and stepping forward myself. Putting my fears and doubts and worst case scenarios aside for a moment and just hit publish and give the world a peek into my life and show everyone they’re not alone. 

I don’t like being vocal about my problems, but I do it anyway. Because it’s important, because it’s needed and because it might help someone.

read more about my anxiety

crazy therapy experience anxiety-crashing-computer

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  1. I hear you sister – my grandma tried to install the anxiety about voicing our problems into my mother and I but luckily my father’s side has always been almost overly open about everything and we became (I hope) somewhat balanced. Voicing one’s problems is a way of avoiding them becoming some monsters and growing into un-proportionate creatures. I find voicing them helps me take control.

    1. You’re so right about that! Not talking about it just makes the issue grow inside of me and makes it worse. But once I talk or write about it, it’s out there and it makes me feel more relieved and calm 🙂

    1. Thank you 🙂 And I’m glad to see things are going in the right direction. A couple of years back people’s attitude towards mental health was still very different than it is right now.

  2. I think you are a very strong headed person. Writing about something so delicate takes courage. Thank-you so much for writing about this.

  3. needed to read this, a lot of the time I feel like people brush mental illnesses aside because they don’t hear about it too often and when they do it’s usually in a negative light. As someone who suffers with anxiety and depression it’s hard to simple things such as presenting my work at university, but I’m trying and learning to deal with it everyday

  4. Great article! People need to talk about this theme way more! I’ve never went that down to call it anxiety but I know someone who has serious problems with htat even tho most of her friends don’t know… And she learns to talk about it and admit that there is sth wrong but that sth doesn’t make her worse person! We all should learn to talk about our problems… it took me so long to tell my best friends about mz history or thoughts but it makes many things so much easier!

  5. If you havent, go and watch The Secret. It’s documentary about the ways of thinking, and it helped me in a ways that I can’t even describe.

  6. This is so apt! I’m always scared to tell a new person about my mental health as I know they’ll probably see me differently! But sometimes you have to, and often I’m surprised as how its perceived! Sometimes people are supportive sometimes they are absolutely a-holes

    1. Yes, it varies a lot. I’ve noticed that it has a lot to do with age as well. My parents’ and grandparents’ generation seem to be more negative and less educated towards mental health and therapy. But people my age (23) and younger are generally very supportive and open.

  7. I like that graphic and I’m the same was as you. I don’t speak up about my problems either, mostly because I process everything on my own. I’m currently in grad school to become an MHC, so I do understand the importance of speaking up and expressing your issues. Thank you for sharing on this brave topic.


    1. I think part of it is also finding a right balance 🙂 I’m not introducing myself to every person I meet as “Hey, I’m Sarah and I have anxiety”. But once I’ve spent a bit of time with them I’ll start opening up and tell them things like “sometimes I’m really scared to make mistakes”.

  8. great piece! I also think it’s really important to share our stories when we can because it means that others know they aren’t alone. I know my being super open about anxiety and CBT has helped others learn about it which is awesome!

  9. That’s exactly why I started my site. We’re not meant to be perfect and the more we share our perfectly ok imperfections, the more we all begin to realize that for ourselves and those we interact with.

  10. It baffle me that I don’t panic at work or uni at all! no matter what happen! but I do when it comes to my personal things! I think it is a good quality though.

  11. I think it’s so important to raise this topic and keep talking about just like you do. No one should ever feel like they’re alone with it. I think you’re doing a wonderful job voicing and helping others as well.

  12. Being vocal about this is important. It raises awareness among others. I am a very anxious person, but I try to not let my mind overthink the small stuff. Every morning, there’s a small vattle for me to get up and going, be mentally prepared to socialize.

  13. This was beautifully written. I definitely agree that it’s essential to allow yourself to be vulnerable every now and then. I applaud you for taking a step out of your comfort zone and sharing this with us.<3

  14. Thank you for sharing this with complete strangers. You never know what other people are dealing with and this could be exactly what they needed to hear today. Thank you. 🙂

  15. It’s essential to open up (to a certain degree of course) . You’re really brave to talk about it, I really hope some people will find it useful and try to be vocal too!

  16. As a depression & anxiety sufferer, I’m right with you on this! I try to blog about my struggles, but it’s incredibly hard. Hopefully we can fight the stigma little by little

  17. I really related to this, because I used to be the exact same way. Talking about my problems equaled vulnerability. I didn’t like being vulnerable at all. Now I know that talking about my issues is good. Not only for me, but for others as well. We often think we’re the only ones going through something, but we’re not. People have similar experiences, we just have different ways of dealing with them. Excellent read!