I read a while back in the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook that you cannot fully overcome your anxiety until you have found your purpose in life; or until you are using your mind creatively. When I first read this, I didn’t think much of it since I have 2 kids and am agoraphobic. I didn’t think I would ever find anything that I could do to make myself feel like I was actually worth something. Most days I would sit at home on the computer, taking naps, reading books and feeling bad about myself.
I find it hard to even drive my daughter down to the end of the road to the bus every morning, so it’s not like I can go out and get a job. Plus my spirits were crushed even more when I was turned down for disability. I didn’t want a “free ride” I wanted some help with healthcare so that I could begin to work on my issues with a therapist and have regular doctor’s visits. I haven’t been to a doctor since 2008 and one of my anxieties is that there is something physically wrong with me.
Since my husband and I have 2 kids and he works long hours for little money, we are unable to pay for healthcare on our own. So I was stuck. Unable to even go to the grocery store by myself, but labeled by Social Security that I was “perfectly able to work a normal job.” State healthcare is another joke, in my state you have to make less than $1300 a month for a family of four in order for the parents to qualify for assistance with healthcare, plus the “basic health plan” has had a waitlist for the last 3 years or more.
A few years ago, I would occasionally work on a website for freelancers. This site enabled people from all over the world to “bid” on jobs, like data entry, web design, graphic design, writing and more. The people who need this work done are those who can’t afford to hire full-time or part-time employees, website owners, or other people who need something done that they are unable to do on their own.
I stuck with data entry; where I would look up contact information for companies. An employer would give me a list of company names and I would have to find their website, email, address, phone number, fax number, etc. I also did some product descriptions that paid a little more than the data entry, but it was still a lot of work. I gave that up shortly after since it seemed like I was working full-time from home and making much less money than I was worth.
Then I went back into my “funk” for a few years and this last year became completely agoraphobic and unable to hardly leave the house with someone, let alone by myself! In February of 2011, I was bored one day and decided I might try to use the freelance site again in order to help make us a little cash since we would be moving soon. This is when it really took off quickly! I started out applying for product descriptions and data entry, just like I had before; when I stumbled across a job listing for “Proofreading”. I have always been an excellent proofreader so I figured it was the perfect job for me! My bid was accepted and I started making a whopping $0.20 for proofreading one 500 word article. I probably took a lot longer than was necessary since I have OCD and am very picky about the way people use grammar and if words are spelled incorrectly.
Since I was pretty much re-writing all the articles I was proofreading, the project manager offered me the job as “article writer”. I never put much stock into the fact that I was an excellent writer in high school. I was in college level English 101 when I was a Sophomore in high school and every essay I wrote was used as an example to the entire college level class. Once I got started, and began making five times as much as I had been when I was just proofreading, I noticed that I started to feel really good about myself.
I wrote 70 articles, 500 words each, in the first 2 weeks, I have insomnia so it was a good thing to help distract myself from negative thoughts while I laid in bed for hours unable to sleep. When I made my first $70 I was proud of myself for accomplishing something and providing a little extra cash for my family. On a day when I had no work to do for my project manager I decided to go back to the freelance website to see if I could find a quick job to do since I was bored and needed something to do. I started applying for as many article writing jobs as I could find and found out that I could be making much more than $1 per 500 words.
Since then I have been hired by about 6 different employers that I do work for just about every day. When I get too busy and need help, I will hire other freelance writers to help me out and I make a small profit off of the articles they write for me. For the last 3 months, I have averaged about $1200 a month, just by writing articles from home! This isn’t for everyone, not everyone can whip out 20 articles a day like I can. Also, not everyone has the gift of writing with excellent grammar, punctuation and spelling like I do. I am not trying to be conceited, I just know that I have found what I am good at and that not everyone can do it.
On another slow day, I thought to myself that I should start a website and start marketing my article writing that way. So I began researching other article writing websites to get some ideas. Then I found a few that were actually hiring writers for even more than I was already making. I signed up for a few of these and have had a little bit of work through them. Since there are usually more writers than there is work, it can be very difficult to get jobs through these article writing websites. Most employers like to pay less and will choose to hire freelancers rather than article writers through a website.
I decided against my own article writing website since I see how competitive it is, and decided instead to start my own blog and continue writing for my current employers. And since now I am making enough money to pay for our rent each month, we are moving to a nice new apartment and we should be able to get health insurance after we pay off a few of our other bills. I am using my blog to help those who have agoraphobia, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, OCD and GAD to realize that they are not alone. There are millions of people out there suffering from agoraphobia, anxiety and many other mental health conditions who are alone and are suffering, unsure of what they need to do to get better. My blog also helps those who are agoraphobic and unable to work outside of the home, find work at home so that they can fill their minds with things other than negativity and worry. So they can feel like they are actually doing something and helping to make a difference in their lives and their families’ lives.
Whether you have a mental health condition or not, writing articles from home is a legitimate and free way to make money from home. When you go through a freelance website, you will be more protected and it will be more likely that you will get paid for your work; but if you decide to go off on your own and trust employers to pay you for your work, you want to make sure that they are trustworthy enough to pay you.
I can say that I have been working very hard and my self-esteem is much higher than it was 4 months ago. I still have insomnia, so it is very hard to sleep at night, but instead of lying there thinking that the world is going to end, I am up writing about car insurance or jewelry or even plumbing companies! Just a few days ago I left the house with my husband and went farther and stayed out longer than I have gone in the last year. With only a small, but frightening panic attack, I was able to pick up my laptop and start writing an article; this instantly took my anxiety away and I was able to continue the hour and a half ride, stand outside in the cemetery at my Great Grandmother’s funeral, and make the entire ride back home; while even stopping to use the restroom at a gas station!
This might all seem very minimal to someone who doesn’t have agoraphobia, has never had anxiety or panic disorder, or those who think mental illness is “all in your head”; but for those of you who have ever suffered from agoraphobia, anxiety, depression or any other mental illness that makes it difficult for you to function like a real person; you will know that I am making great steps in overcoming my anxiety and my agoraphobia. I know that writing has had a big impact on my current mental health and I wanted to share this information with those of you who think you will never get better, never be able to provide for your family, or those who think so little of themselves that they sleep or play games on the internet all day. That used to be me, and now I am working full-time from home! I know I have a lot more to go, but I can feel that I am breaking free of my anxiety and I know that if I can do it, you can too!