Best-selling author Jenny Lawson has had a busy career.
Her site, The Bloggess, which features her colorful blogging for more than a decade, has been named one of the top 100 sites for women by Forbes and has won numerous awards. She has written four books, including “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” and her most recent, “Broken (in the Best Possible Way),” all of which were New York Times bestsellers. More recently, in 2019, she opened a bookstore, Nowhere Bookshop, in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
Among the topics Lawson covers at length is his own mental health. She has written openly about her struggles with depression, ADHD and OCD. She also frequently spoke about how anxiety manifested in various aspects of her life.
Lawson recently spoke to CNBC Make It via email about battling workplace anxiety.
CNBC Make It: How often do you experience anxiety in your professional life?
Jenny Lawson: All the time. It never completely disappears.
How does this manifest for you?
A gnawing sense of doom. I’m afraid of never finishing what I have to do. If it gets bad, my stomach hurts and sometimes it can feel like a terrible stomach flu.
How do you deal with your anxiety at work?
I remember that I have always crossed it before and therefore I will cross it again. I take a walk when I feel overwhelmed. If it gets too bad, I allow myself to take a break for a while or even for the day. I’m lucky to be able to reschedule my work for weird hours so I can work around my brain when it gets too weird. Breathing exercises also help me. And if all else fails, there’s always Xanax.
Has anyone given you any advice on how to handle it?
Once, while recording my first audiobook, I was not well because my anxiety overwhelmed me. Neil Gaiman told me to pretend I was good at it. I did and it totally worked. Even now, if I have to speak in front of people, I first write “pretend to be good” on my arm. Also, beta-blockers. Talk to your doctor first.
Do you have anything else to add on the subject?
Sometimes the anxiety of not being able to work because you are anxious becomes a snake biting its own tail. I wish there was an easy answer, but I remind myself that all the things I’ve been worried about in the past have generally worked out well and I can’t undo all the time I’ve wasted at worry. This can sometimes help me worry less. But sometimes it makes me more worried because I worry about all the time I’ve lost and will continue to lose. Anxiety sucks.
The work was overwhelming. I couldn’t stay motivated. I would let go. Turns out I have ADHD.
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