A few weeks ago, I finally set up a contact page. I’ve wanted to connect with other anxiety/mental health bloggers for a while to hopefully begin some sweet collaborations and thought this was the best way to do it. Well, I received my very first spam email the other day. And instead of immediately trashing it, I read it.
This spam message was supposedly from a marketing professional. As someone who works in marketing, their technique was…let’s just say, less than professional. Thus, why it was sent to my spam.
Like most spammy messages, this message told me how I have so much room to improve, how I can magically get thousands of new hits if I just email back or sign-up with them or follow these Easy 29 Steps to Blog Glory (You’ll Never Guess #17!)
But this message took it a step farther. It also decided to list out all the things I was doing wrong with my blog! Ah, unsolicited advice from strangers. Gotta love it!
So I went through all the things I supposedly stink at, assuming this message was just copied and pasted from some template and the only thing that changed was the name of the blog, something like “Dear [insert name of blog].”
But the message was…weirdly personal. Now, it’s easy to make generalizations about smaller blogs. So I will never know for sure if this person actually read through my blog or did just send me a template email with generic “blog wrongs.”
So, I tried to just brush it off and not let it get to me. I’m not trying to become famous. I’m not trying to sell anything – so who cares if my blog doesn’t have perfect SEO or I forget to tag a post here and there?
But one of the comments really stood out. Partially because it was worded so strangely, but also because it was the one thing I am insecure about.
“Your social media efforts are lame ducks.”
Oh. Well then. I have only recently become active on social media, creating a Pinterest and Instagram for my blog. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that for the first 3ish years of this blog, I was anonymous. Putting yourself out there is scary.
And putting yourself out there on social media, where you cannot moderate and control everything, where you are judged by the quality and quantity of images, by how active and creative you are, by how many others follow and like you…that’s a scary thing too.
So anyway, I deleted that spam email, slightly amused, slightly proud that I actually received some spam, and slightly irritated by the whole lame ducks thing.
I tried to ignore it, not let it get to me. But for some reason, that lame ducks comment just kept repeating in my head all day. And it brought along with it a whole whack of doubts.
“You’re not good enough,” my brain told me. “See, someone else noticed that your social media accounts suck.”
“You should just give up now,”
“No one cares about what you have to say,”
“Why do you even bother? Stick to blogging…if you think that’s even worth it!”
My anxiety usually manifests itself in three ways: emetophobia, panic attacks, and health anxiety. I have thankfully never really struggled with social anxiety or low self-esteem. But I do have GAD, and that can cause incidents like the one above.
This is what anxiety looks like.
It looks like obsessing for days over one comment from a spam email that was likely not even personally written for my blog (the beginning of the email said, “Dear business owner” …Does this blog look like a business?!)
It looks like feeling like a failure and wanting to run away and give up on the things you work so hard on because you’re afraid. Afraid to fail, afraid of judgment, afraid of criticism.
It looks like taking one tiny comment to heart and blowing it up into something of massive proportions when most others would have just deleted the email and never thought about it again.
So, what am I going to do about this?
My social media efforts are NOT lame ducks, marketing expert guy!
I have a whole 9 followers of Pinterest, take that.