Manxiety Diaries: The 20-Something Southern Creative Gay Man

Today is the second issue in the Manxiety Diaries series, based on New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries, where I ask anonymous men to record a week in their anxious and stressed out lives with the hope that it will help others who are going through something similar not feel alone. Check back each week for a new Manxiety Diary!

This week’s post is written by a 20-something creative gay man who lives in the South. Everything said below is directly from the contributor with minor grammatical edits.

Writer Introduction

“Well, it’s been three years since I recognized my disorder. I have severe anxiety and mild depression My anxiety is mostly manifested out of the stress of me being satisfied and happy.

I think I am struggling with my anxiety as much as I am because I am scared. Afraid of what the future brings, scared when my time to die will be, afraid to die because I will miss life and this Earth and all my friends and family too much. A lot of the time fear is what controls my decisions in life. 

Also, my anxiety is further perpetuated by being a southern creative, open minded gay man in the mostly conservative South where criticism has happened way too many times to my friends and me. So I am constantly trying to show people how to love other people and sometimes find it hard to do so when I am met with hatred and bigotry in return when my overall goal in life is to be happy and love.”

Day 1

4AM | Anxiety Level – 6

Woke up super early and couldn’t go back to sleep. Had a dream about my coworkers and our new upcoming office. Nothing too crazy. No nightly panic attacks about death, surprisingly. Managed to fall back asleep around 5:30.

8 AM | Anxiety Level – 8

Woke up late for work and as usual, my fear was constantly telling me how I will never be seen as professional since I always 10-20 min late to work every morning. The other part of me tells me how less of a big deal it is because in my field and current position there is no worries about being that late unless that one co-worker constantly reminds you of how you need to stay an extra 10-20 min later in the office when everyone else goes home.

11 AM | Anxiety Level – 4

Just regular work stress. Same co-worker was making everyone in the office stress out way more than what needs to be happening right now. Also attempting to invite the boyfriend to lunch and he is still at home sleeping and not answering his phone. Nothing new.

2 PM | Anxiety Level – 6

I would say it was like 8 or so but honestly writing about everything always lowers that number down. Currently I am at my desk at work and just kind of processing all of my thoughts and feelings right now. My work brain is turned off because I was mostly productive in the morning before lunch time and now I am in post lunch mode where all I want to do is relax my work brain and process my personal life for what it is at the moment. My boyfriend is leaving for flight attendant training this weekend and I won’t see him for two months. Mixed feelings on the matter, because even though I will miss him, I need this break so badly. In my life right now I feel so stuck and in limbo, because there is so much I would rather be doing right now than sitting at this damn desk. Now if this desk was in our newly renovated office that would be a different story, but we won’t have our new office until early April. Work for me lately has been very disappointing. I accepted this job, because I could really mold my position here to the best of my ability, but it is hard to do with a pain in the ass Creative Director that I work with. He literally gets on everyone in this offices’ nerves and things are starting to surface about how the team should make things better between everyone’s problems and adapt them into a new process.

3 PM | Anxiety Level – 9

Just wrote down on note paper the things I have wanted to talk to my boyfriend about, but always feel intimidated or discouraged to share due to him leaving soon, but I understand to improve this section of my anxiety I need to communicate it out with him and work on improving things together.

6 PM | Anxiety Level – 2

Finally leaving work allowed me just to enjoy the rest of my evening at home. Spent post-work grocery shopping with the boyfriend and we had a great time in each other’s company as we always do.

11 PM | Anxiety Level – 9

Tried to have a conversation about the things we could work on to be more emotionally stable in our relationship and stronger as partners. Didn’t go as well as I originally planned, so I just spent the rest of the night asking myself what I value out of this relationship and how I think I can either improve to make things better or simply just allow it to fade? Until I fell asleep, I just began thinking about all the other things in my life such as my full-time job at the ad agency, how I need to finish up issue 02 of the magazine I am putting together, and how I need to finish filing my taxes. My priorities are starting to fluctuate, and I am starting to get stuck and frustrated. Being so overwhelmed with these worries, I fell asleep without thinking about death again, which is usually a normal nightly occurrence.

Day 2

8 AM | Anxiety Level – 3

Arrived at work very relaxed since it was Friday and I didn’t have too much on my plate for the day to get overwhelmed or stressed.

1:30 PM | Anxiety Level – 8

Realized that I had a photoshoot after work around 7 pm scheduled, and I want to reschedule it but feel like I can’t do that to not seem unprofessional. Another reason I want to reschedule it is to spend my last Friday with my boyfriend before he leaves for two months on Sunday. The second issue of our magazine is due on the 18th, and I need to finish up photographing these paintings to meet my deadline. I am just worried I will fall behind.

4 PM | Anxiety Level – 5

Ended up rescheduling with the person I was supposed to photograph, and they were very understanding, and we rescheduled for Sunday evening. Which is honestly working out a lot better for me. I just told them the truth about me wanting to spend the last weekend with Devin, and they completely understood and had no problem working with me. I know that I can commit Friday to Sunday morning to Devin and when I drop him off at the airport Sunday morning I can spend the entire rest of Sunday catching up on everything I need to do. I am starting to trust in my own timing and how the world places the certain situation in front of me.


5 PM – 8PM | Anxiety Level 3

I am excited and anxious to get home because I get to hang out and commit all my time and attention to Devin. I decided to pick up 10 lbs of crawfish to eat for dinner, and we just ate dinner and drank beers. It was a great way to end our Friday.

Day 3


11 AM | Anxiety Level 3

We slept in, and now we are off to a friend’s small business tasting. They have a fermented vegetable businesses, and we are going show our support at their event. Then afterward we are going to my aunt’s house for a couple’s baby shower. I am prepared for a day of superb food and a bloody mary bar!

3:30 PM | Anxiety Level 2

We are home taking a break from our long morning. So far a great day, no crazy anxiety just the slightly tight chest and shoulder pain. More bearable than the past. Off for last minute shopping in a moment.

6 PM | Anxiety Level 7

Trying to make sure Devin has everything he needs for his flight Sunday. Trying also to fix an old laptop of ours and I am getting very discouraged and angry at the laptop because it is not cooperating and I feel sorry that I didn’t take better care of it.

9 PM | Anxiety Level 1

After finishing packing, we picked up dinner and smoked a few bowls in the living room together while watching movies and eating dollar store candy. We had our last boyfriend talk about expectations, worries, etc. and reminded each other of our feelings and commitment to each other’s happiness.

Day 4

8 AM | Anxiety – 4

Went to sleep for the first time in my bed without my boyfriend being there. It was so nice to have the bed to myself finally and not worry about waking him up. Or his snoring. I had pretty common dreams. Woke up without my tight chest as sometimes expected.

1130AM | Anxiety – 2

A Very productive day so far outside. Sweating and getting overheated. Cleaned out the entire house and shed. Very very very productive. My heart was pounding, and my chest was super tight, but I knew that it was my body mimicking my panic attacks and I must say after all that subsided I felt great and was able to breathe steadily for the rest of the day calmly.

730PM | Anxiety – 6

Spent the past few hours at a friends house with his boyfriend and we went over our local project we are working on together, and he let me vent about my relationship and work issues.

1030PM | Anxiety – 8

Getting ready for bed I was struck with so much anxiety just to start all of these amazing things I want to start, and I get overwhelmed and then depressed because I know that I won’t be able to accomplish all that I want to achieve thanks to a think called death. That one day it will all be over and hopefully what I leave behind is worth it, and worth attention and affirmation and to be considered a story of real change. Just to leave this place better than when we were brought to it.

Day 5

8 AM | Anx Level – 3

Woke up very relaxed and had a great nights sleep. Those nights are rare, and I was off to a great start. Work was also off to a great start since my plate hasn’t been as overwhelming as it normally is. I have been practicing my mindfulness meditations in the morning on my car drive to work. I remind myself how I am on this Earth at this very moment, and only I can dictate how I respond and react to what happens to me on this day. I can take control of whatever it is that is put in front of me today.

1:30 PM | Anxiety Level – 3

The post-lunch work flow is going just as smoothly today. It’s funny how I wanted to do this anxiety journal and so far these past few days have been pretty good for me. I think it has a lot to do with being on a break and finally having time to focus on myself. I haven’t had time for myself for months. Most of my anxiety lately has been more so focused towards mental strength and the realities of figuring your life goals out. I know I am on the right path, I just need to accept the timing and take it as it comes.

730PM | Anxiety Level – 6

Just a bit lonely tonight. I am trying to be as efficient as possible putting this magazine issue together, but when I get home from work, I am totally drained and unfocused. I always question whether my lack of motivation to this project has something to do with any subconscious dilemmas, but alas that is most likely me overthinking things again. Waiting around for motivation needs to stop. I need to stop allowing myself to hesitate and question everything it is that I want to do. Trust in your process and trust in your talents.

Day 6

8 AM | Anxiety Level – 2

Again, slept very well and woke up very refreshed. Continued with my morning routine and mindfulness car ride.

1030AM | Anxiety Level 6

Work is very chill today. However, I am just in the biggest mood to just DO EVERYTHING, some days like today, I find myself wanting to do everything. Make a t-shirt for this. Design a poster for this. Create graphics for this. I sometimes find it so hard to slow myself down and take projects as they come instead of trying to do everything at once. Having it all rush through my mind doesn’t allow me to concentrate and commit to one idea. I’ve noticed when I do take my time I am a lot faster and more critical when it comes to making decisions.

1230PM | Anxiety Level – 4

Enjoying my lunch break with a dear friend who I am featuring in my second issue of Leur Magazine. We enjoyed each others company and enjoyed a giant margarita. It was refreshing to take a break from my agency job and do things I love and want to be doing full time.

430PM | Anxiety Level – 3

Work is just about over, and I am so ready just to go home and work on the magazine with a bottle of wine.

1130PM | Anxiety Level – 8

I ended up re designing the entire layout all over again…. Why do I constantly need to change things? I do think the new design is going in the right direction, but I am also angry at myself for re doing it again when I told myself I was to finish the entire issue for Wednesday. Still, have two days. I know this will turn out, I just want it better than the first one.

Day 7


9 AM | Anxiety Level – 2

I couldn’t get out of bed this morning to save my life. It was rather frustrating. I wasn’t anxious. I was relaxed yet unmotivated to do anything due to the morning bliss of actually waking up from a decent night sleep.

130PM | Anxiety Level – 6

Work today is very unfulfilling. Stagnant, just going through the motions. Went take a walk for lunch and ran into a friend from college. That made the afternoon for me. Of course, I also spent my lunch break thinking about my long term plans for my life. What I want to accomplish and what I plan on doing to get myself there. Who am I going to have on that journey with me? Why must I insist on doing this alone?

430PM | Anxiety Level – 3

Driving home in traffic. Just letting my body absorb itself from the energy of today. Have some music playing. Just using the drive to relax and accept that I will not get home any faster if I try and rush or get mad at drivers. Just enjoy the ride and unwind.

830PM | Anxiety Level – 6

A friend came over. We hooked up since my boyfriend is away at training ( open relationship ) so of course my anxiety is only manifesting itself in the worry that this friend may get attached and how my boyfriend would feel about it knowing that it hasn’t even been a week since he has been gone and I already had a guy over. Even though in all honesty, this friend was the one who insisted and of course I am way too nice, and I can not say no to anyone to save my life. It was okay; I didn’t really enjoy the experience. I liked having someone to kiss, but there was nothing there. No connection. I am starting to appreciate relationships more as I grow up, learning the more complex flexibility of my emotional stability for sure.

1130PM |Anxiety Level – 2

Took a hot lavender bath and just took the rest of the night to work on personal projects. It was a chill way to end the night.

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Ben Foley

Author Ben Foley

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