Writing with Anxiety
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer.
Words have always held such beauty, and such destruction for me. From the make believe stories I wrote when I was barely nine years old, to the journals and diaries I filled with the words I longed to speak but never could.
When I write, I lose myself in the worlds I’m creating. The outside world blurs into the background and the aches, the sorrow, the grief, it’s all gone. Replaced by vivid imagery of angels and demons and the spellbinding sceneries of heaven, hell, and everything in between. Fantasy and fiction are my escape from reality. Poetry is where I write my truths.
While I’m writing, there’s no anxiety.
But when I read back over my words, doubt creeps into my mind weaving tendrils of self-loathing into the very fabric of my being. I’m drowning, but no one sees me, and no one reaches out. There’s nothing but silence swarming with my own irrational thoughts.
Why did I write this?
What does it mean?
What’s wrong with me?
Does this all make sense?
Why do I bother?
So many questions swirl above me, thunderous clouds of worry, shame, and worthlessness. Trying to push them away is like attempting to lift the weight of the world above my shoulders.
In the past two years, I’ve published five novels and five poetry books. With each one, anxiety has forced its way in and led me down the path of self-doubt where tiny, insignificant moments from my past come creeping back in to haunt me. To remind me of my failures and my inability to find the happiness and hope that’s lingering just out of reach.
This time, with my new release on the horizon, I expected the same thing to happen. I prepared for it. I made notes... so many notes to keep me on track, to remind me to be positive. This time I thought it would be different.
I wasn’t wrong. It’s definitely different.
In the worst way possible.
Fear has replaced logic and reason. Doubt has replaced confidence, and panic has replaced positivity. I’ve been spiralling into the darkest recesses of my mind, wondering if it’s all worth it. If I’m worth it.
For the first time, I’ve written a story that hasn’t sent me into fantastical worlds of love, lust, desire, and hope. For the first time, I wrote about heartache and suffering. I wrote about the real world and the human monsters who threaten to destroy all that is good. I took every ounce of my own pain, sorrow, grief, and heartbreak, and I poured it into three hundred pages of shattered hopes and dreams. I broke my own heart and pieced it back together, all the while thinking that I’d never really share this story with anyone. Because this story was never on my to do list. It wasn’t going to be told, at all.
Love Lost Her Way is the most the difficult story I’ve ever written. Within those pages are tiny pieces of my own heart. Scattered between the words are remnants of the love I lost when my world came crashing down around me and realised life is fleeting, and in one tiny moment you can lose everything you’ve ever held dear.
But... Love Lost Her Way is also a story of hope. It’s a story of triumph, survival, and the beauty of friendship and love in the midst of untold grief and sorrow.
It’s a story that needs to be told.
I was so prepared. So excited.
Then, I was falling.
Falling into the abyss where anxiety was crawling through my veins and depression was tearing at my heart.
You’re not good enough.
You’re not worthy.
You’re not anything...
Anxiety tells me to give up right now. To take all my words back and run away with them. To lock them up and throw away the key. Anxiety tells me none of this is worth it.
Yesterday, I was ready to give up. Today, I’m still holding on.
I can do this.
I am capable.
I am worthy.