I had my first panic attack when I was 15, and I was certain I was dying. In the decade since, I’ve made an uneasy truce with my anxiety, keeping most generalized panic attacks at bay with medication. My social anxiety is trickier; negative internal dialogue and dread are my constant companions, though I’ve learned to hide it well.
Over the past year, I’ve worked to understand myself and took care of my mental health, learning to recognize which of my attributes to embrace (hooray, introversion!), and which behaviors are symptoms of anxiety. I illustrate my ideas and experiences in webcomics called Introvert Doodles (note: introversion and anxiety are not synonymous, I just happen to be someone who lives with both). As I’ve posted my cartoon drawings online, I’ve heard from others dealing with similar challenges, and it’s made me realize that I’m not alone!
This process of drawing comic strips has given me the strength to give up my goal of perfection and replace it with a desire for progress. I’ve realized that even though I’m imperfect, I’m still worth loving. And I hope that maybe my relatable comics will help someone else realize that, too. See my first post here.