Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Heading in a New Direction

Hi there! My name is Joe Lawry and I've been living with an anxiety disorder since 2010. If you're reading this, then it probably means that you want to know more about me or my experience with the illness. Before I go into detail about all of that, however, I want to give you a little background information about this blog.

I started Beyond All Pain back in July 2017 with the intention of discussing mental illness and my personal history with it. Notice that the emphasis here is on "mental illness" and not on things like therapy, medication, or self-improvement.

You know, the three cornerstones of mental health treatment and emotional wellness.

I've found that talking about mental illness alone is a therapeutic activity, because what you're ultimately doing is acknowledging your demons for what they truly are, but it can also be extremely self-defeating.

It's like playing a video game and tracking every mistake that you’ve made along the way...without mentioning any of the levels that you've beaten or acknowledging the enemies you've overcome. Or starting a new book and reading the same chapters repeatedly without ever reaching the end.

If you want to think about it like this, it's also like fighting a war without caring about the potential outcome:

The Menin Road, Paul Nash (1918)

My life has been like that in a lot of ways over the past seven years, and I'm not just saying that because I love video games, literature, or WW1-era paintings.

In 2010, I graduated from Butler University and left with a few things: a degree, a mountain of debt, and a plethora of mental illnesses that ground my life to a complete halt. These illnesses include an anxiety disorder, which I still suffer from today, and a crippling bout of agoraphobia that left me trapped inside my house for an entire year.

I also lost the ability to drive a car, but we can get into that in a later post.

After all this time, however, I'm tired of just focusing on the many ways that my life has gone wrong. Moving forward, I want to focus on the progress that I've made on my journey to full recovery and share a few things that I've learned along the way.

With that said, I guess it's time to turn this blog around and start 2018 off on a few high notes.