Sorry it’s been a couple days since my last posting. I’ve been fighting what appears to be a hormone-induced migraine, which made it very difficult to do anything last night. Currently I am feeling much more like myself again and with a good night’s sleep, I should hopefully be back to normal by tomorrow.
This is one of the things I intend to work on fixing over the course of the future. I’m fairly healthy overall, other than being a little overweight, and even my doctor noted that I’m very flexible, something else I’m very proud of. But I know I have a hormone imbalance and some mild to medium anxiety issues. Not quite enough to call it a disorder, I don’t think, but it has definitely gotten worse in the last year. And after experiencing two pretty severe attacks within 12 hours of each other, which is rare for me and actually made me consider quitting my job in my heightened emotional state, and then having to deal with the aftermath the next day, I am determined to do everything I possibly can to manage my anxiety better. I never want to feel that way again. It was debilitating. There’s just no other word for it.
Managing my anxiety is one of the main reasons for weeding out the toxic people in my life. Only two of my friends really know and acknowledge/accept my anxiety for what it is, and of those two, I think only one knows about the dual attacks because she is my rock when I need her and I tell her everything. Up until a few years ago, I didn’t even know that I had anxiety. For a long, long time I was told, “Oh you’re just shy. The nerves will pass.” And sometimes they did. But more often than not, they didn’t. I once gave up participating in a spelling bee, despite being an excellent speller, because I knew the boy I had a crush on at the time was in the audience and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of him. That was in 6th grade. Considering I’ve been out of college for six years now, this has been going on for a damn long time, and I either went along and let it control me, or I found an outlet to let me express what I was feeling. Most often the fear won out and I missed out on some excellent opportunities, but I did also discover that writing was the best and more therapeutic outlet even back then. As I grew older and more familiar with language in general, I was praised for and took a lot of pride in my writing skills. I excelled at research papers; I usually had too much to say.
However, the real joy came from making up my own stories. I wrote the very first draft of my first novel (still in a lengthy revision phase) in high school and looking back at it, it was horrendous! Like, laughably awful. But I guess you have to start somewhere, right? I finished the initial rewrite in college some six years after I started it and ever since, it’s been on hold because life kept getting in the way. But for 2016, it was one of my goals (“resolutions” if you may) to write out length character profiles for all of my major characters in this series.
Well, truth be told, I didn’t get ALL of them done, but I got at least half of them done, which I call a win, and through these profiles, I learned a lot about them as relatable characters and also things that were vital but missing from their parts in the story. I hadn’t realized how little I knew about these people or why they did what they did until I did these profiles for them. This alone helped me understand the bigger picture of the story I was trying to tell. On top of that, my best friend, who is also currently my editor because of her enthusiasm and love for my babies, asked a lot of questions and helped me see things I hadn’t seen while writing initially. She also pointed out contradictions, redundancies, and parts that needed more description. Yes, she was sometimes brutally honest with me, but that’s what I needed. Someone to tell me when I suck and not sugar coat it. You would think as a person with anxiety, such harsh criticism on something you love would make the anxiety worse, but I’ve grown a hard enough shell with my writing skills to know to take all feedback with a grain of salt. Usually I can tell when something’s bad or needs work, and she helps me figure out what I’m looking for or need to make it better and more vivid.
Criticism on me personally (clothes, personality, etc.), still working on a shell there. I can usually ignore it, but stuff meant as “jokes” such as being assumed stupid based on what kind of car I drive, yeah, not tolerating that anymore. I’m still upset that the people I call “friends” continue making that “joke” even after seven or eight years when it’s no longer funny, and when my car is twice as old as any of theirs and in decent enough condition because I take care of it.
Ok, end rant. So yeah, part of managing my anxiety will be these designated writing sessions, which will hopefully not only manage my anxiety, but also help with the revision process on my book. Maybe by having an established writing routine, I won’t have to wait for inspiration to strike. It’ll just flow naturally. I hope.