A few posts ago I said I’d write about anxiety. So here goes.
Living with anxiety is different for everyone. For me, it shows itself in various ways. At times, it sneaks up on me while I’m not expecting it and it can cause either an accelerated heartbeat, shortness of breath, an inability to concentrate, and irrational, (though not to my brain) thoughts and fears. Other times, it can send me into a full fledged panic attack. Sometimes anxiety hits me when there’s too much on my To-Do list, not enough time, and I’m sleep deprived.
In whichever form anxiety hits me, if it lingers, writing sometimes has to take a backseat. Either by choice or not. Anxiety can cause me to spiral, making it so my brain is unable to either form the words and sentences I want to write or making it so I believe my words don’t matter or I’m not good enough to write this story. When anxiety causes lack of concentration, I’m unable to stick to a plot or fully form relationships or dialogue. When anxiety is stemmed from busyness or too many balls being juggled, I have no choice but set my writing aside. The only problem with that, is that writing is a form of self care for me. So if I’m so busy I can’t find the time to write, it makes me irritable and can even cause a form of anxiety as well.
Leading from that; writing as a form of “self care”. When I become too anxious or irritable, I have to step away from my adult responsibilities for a few hours. I usually take an evening. My husband and kids are super supportive and they actually are good about noticing when I need to shut myself away by myself to write. When I do this, there are times when I’m able to pick up my current manuscript and add to my word count no problem. Other times, when my brain is foggy from anxiety, I spend time either journaling or writing poetry. While those are a similar type of creative outlet as writing fiction, they’re a bit different. I find journaling and writing poetry therapeutic. An added bonus? There’s been times when I’ve gone back and read some of those poems or journal entries and have been able to incorporate them in a story. I feel like anytime I can use this cursing disorder to my advantage, I’m sort of winning.
How does anxiety affect your writing?