Even for those of us who love to write, having anxiety can make it very difficult. Writing our thoughts can bring about a sense of shame…the thought of I must be crazy.
Yet, the process of putting words on paper seems necessary for sanity as well as survival.
Here are some confessions about writers with anxiety:
1. Even though we absolutely love writing, there are days when we can’t write a thing. Those days sometimes feel like the end of the world.
With so many things going on in life, all of those events add chaos to our minds. Like fuel is necessary for a car, energy is necessary for our minds to decode our thoughts. Just as we use a lot of fuel when we drive, we use a lot of mental and emotional energy to write. Sooner or later, we lose that energy. Sometimes we fear that we’ll never get it back again.
2. We don’t always finish what we try to write.
It’s not always easy to know when and how to end a piece of writing. Sometimes we feel that we say too much. Sometimes we feel that nothing we write makes sense. So we stop in the middle of a story. We might even rip up what we started.
While writing an essay for school, we may fail to turn it in on time or possibly have a panic attack on the due date. The thought of I’m not good enough can creep up on us. We can write something profound and honest (even great) and still hate it so much that we pretend it never existed. Although we know that this does have to do with anxiety and that we’re not “terrible”, it doesn’t make us feel any better.
3. We avoid writing about things that don’t interest us.
We love to write about what we love. Just the same, we hate writing about what we hate.
We could love writing about bands, but not politicians. We could love writing about actors, but not athletes.
Like children picking the yucky vegetables out of the good food, we separate the boring topics from our writing subjects.
4. We freak out over grammar and punctuation.
This is a big one for us. No matter how good the content is, we feel that one grammatical or punctuation error will make us look “stupid” to our readers.
5. We love positive affirmations.
Like anyone struggling with something, compliments like “Good job” and “I really like how you…” can encourage us to keep writing our way through anxiety. When we feel so ashamed of our own thoughts and way of conveying them, compliments help us feel like we’re not as crazy as we think we are…or that being crazy isn’t such a bad thing.
6. Writing helps us understand life and love.
For us, writing is a sincere attempt at connecting with the world. It is a way to be understood and promote understanding. It is a way to free ourselves from a hurricane of emotions.
Like runners completing laps, we love ourselves for having enough courage and patience to write. Like runners’ high, we get writers’ high. In these moments, we love life. We love other people. We love ourselves.
7. We wouldn’t know what to do without writing.
In spite of all of the challenges that come with writing, we value the outcome for our mental state. We love knowing that we can write positive thoughts and read them over and over again.