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Manic

You see that? That’s insanity bubbling up inside me.

That’s the traffic to my site the last few days. Suffice to say, I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s not like I haven’t been shoving this blog in everyone’s face, though. So perhaps it was to be expected.

But it’s still crazy.

I’m clinically depressed, and have an anxiety disorder to boot. So, for a long time my stance on existence was, “Life sucks, and I’m scared to death of it.” Lots of fun, really. My depression and anxiety, which feed off each other, have been perhaps the two most significant driving factors in my development since my teenage years.

Low self-esteem? Check. Social anxiety? Check. Panic attacks? Big check. Basically, I’ve been a basketcase forever. I’m not saying that as some kind of (perverted) brag, either. I’m just trying to tell you how I’ve perceived the world for my entire adult life. 

But now, things are changing. Now, my depression and anxiety are under control through treatment. Now, all sorts of shit is exploding at once. That image up top is just part of it.

In the past month I’ve made or fulfilled three huge decisions: attending the StoryBrand Guide retreat, pulling the trigger on my sojourn to Europe next year, and… well, something more personal than all that. Three huge events/decisions/meteor strikes in just under a month. Incredible. And scary.

My thought process goes like this: in this last month, I’ve gained more friends than I had in the previous thirteen years; I’ve started this blog, putting my words out to the public like never before; I’ve made huge changes to my business–changes that worked; and I’ve committed myself to an adventure that simply feels bigger than me. Now, I sit here and wonder if it’s all too much, too quick. Is my environment–my life–changing too fast? Am I still in control of these events hurtling around me? Scariest of all: have I changed?

This post is called “Manic” because that’s what it feels like, a manic episode. Technically, I’ve never been diagnosed as bipolar, but this time of crazy growth and change has elated, confused, and terrified me. It’s like, if all these changes happen like this, will I still be the same person I was just a month ago?

My identity is sacred to me. I’m a Four on the Enneagram, which is the type known as “The Individualist.” For individualists, nothing matters more than their sense of who they are and where they fit in the world. We hold a never-ceasing self-inventory in our heads, constantly comparing our actions and words to a perceived “perfect self.” When we fail to match that perfect self–when we say and do and think things contrary to “who we are”–we get scared, and depressed, and angry. We feel lost, overcome by chaos, and undefined as people.

That’s what I’m feeling now in this time of mania. I love the changes in my life, and at the same time I couldn’t be more frightened. Am I crazy? Am I too stuck in my own head? Have I overthought all of this?

Maybe, yes, and yes. I know worrying that there’s too much good stuff is a really shitty thing to do. There are billions of people alive today who will never know a fraction of the good fortune I’ve had. Complaining about “losing myself” when what I’m really doing is finding myself  is the epitome of selfishness and hypocrisy. I know that. 

There’s no reason why I should be hung up on “changing” from who I was a month ago to who I am today. It’s not like who I used to be is/was somehow better than who I am now. In fact, who I am now is probably way happier, way more content, and way more excited about life than, well, any prior version of myself.

Yet I can’t escape that feeling of swirling mania. I can’t shake the thought that somehow I’m betraying my individuality. 

It’s stupid, but it’s true. 

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