Even In The World Of Mr. Sunshine, Anxiety Is Real.

The peeling paint on the walls of the house, the dust collecting on the hardwood floor, the pile of Christmas gifts in my room the need wrapping, the pile of Christmas cards on the coffee table in the living room, the last minute details of planning a Christmas Eve service that will be inspirational and moving to all who attend, the latest gay couple engagement photo from social media. What do all these things all have in common?

They are just a few of the current thoughts running through my mind that are giving me…wait for it…anxiety.

ANXIETY.

Yes, you read it right. Anxiety. Even Mr. Sunshine experiences it.

According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Assosciation of America), here are a few quick facts and statistics:

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

I’m not one who has ever officially diagnosed myself as “depressed” (or sought professional medical attention); however, I will admit with full heart on my sleeve that feelings of “anxiousness” and the term of “anxiety” are ones that have moved their way into my vocabulary more often than not these days. I don’t know if it is because my brain has matured with getting older in the adult life, but it is a real struggle for me personally that I don’t always feel comfortable admitting to others.

I think, in my mind, the greatest fear for me admitting that I have these anxious feelings is that it will make me look like a failure–someone who is weak.

While I know the above is not true since it is just a story I create in my head, it is how I’m wired in the brain naturally with my personality. Combating the fears of looking like a failure or not good enough to others is one of the hardest things for me.

It takes a lot of positivity, energy, and optimism to keep up a personality of happiness . And quite frankly…there are times when I don’t have that. At all.

And the anxiety grows.

Right now in life is one of those times. The time after Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas is always jammed pack and sometimes, it is easy for me to forget to breath, eat, and sleep. There is a constant list of things that need completed and my OCD makes it simple to panic and become stressed out.

Now, let’s go back to one of the entities above that is currently on my list of aspects in life that give me the anxious feelings.

Gay couple photos on Instagram.

Being single is something that I find myself feeling very comfortable with for the most part these days. But sometimes, when I log on to social media and see the smiles of the gays in full force with their significant other, I can’t help but get a combination of feelings which include both jealousy and fear. Jealousy in the fact that I don’t have what I’m seeing portrayed through the pictures I witness with my eyes and fear that I will just shut down, which I’ve done previously. Just last week, I went through a moment of anxiety because I came home late from the theater and I wanted nothing more in the world than to be greeted by a significant other with the world’s biggest hug.

Now, I don’t want you to read this post and think to yourself “Gosh, that J.P. is not a happy person.” That, by far, is the furthest thing from the truth. Deep down, in my soul, I’m a very happy person who does so much on the daily to keep my heart fulfilled and feeling vibes of warmth and joy. It’s just that sometimes I hit road blocks. Road blocks which are called anxiety.

My time at the theater is often very special to me because it involves relationships and friendships with some very special people and allows me to transport myself to a world of fantasy where I can play a specific character(s) under the excitement of lights to bring smiles to the face of audience members. It is one reason why I always keep going back for more. I can’t stay away. And it helps me combat the road blocks of anxiety that find their way on to my path of daily life.

January 2nd will release a whole new world of Mr. Sunshine to the community around me when I take on something of extreme magnitude that I’ve never done before. It will be a challenge for sure, but the true happiness and joy that it will bring to me (and hopefully others), will be immeasurable. Once this day hits, hopefully the word of anxiety will be one found in my past.

As the days continue on, I will continue to learn more about myself and how to cope with the ever-growing list of aspects in life that give anxiois feelings. I will continue to learn how to channel a negative energy into something positive. I will continue to come up with new ways on how to spread hope and love to others in the community.

Anxiety is real.

Even in the world of Mr. Sunshine, there are a few rumbles of thunder and clouds.

Sprinkle sunshine always,

JP!