I love to write. I have always loved coming up with characters and making a world come alive on the page. Reading and writing were two constants I could count on when the rest of my world went through changes. I could pick up a mystery novel and get lost in trying to solve the crime and not worry about the fact that we were about to move. I could write fiction or I could write down the things I was feeling that I didn’t, or couldn’t, say out loud. Writing is where I am most myself. So why have I been having so much trouble with it?
I constantly have thoughts running through my head. Mostly logical or necessary for the moment, but then my anxiety starts talking to me too. About a year and a half ago, I was in the middle of writing my first novel. It was a mystery/ dark comedy about two retired detectives getting called back to catch a serial killer they put away after he escapes from prison. I really liked the idea and I was progressing. I wasn’t writing as much as I would have liked because, as it turns out, college is a lot of work. I didn’t have the time to sit and write something that wasn’t for a grade. That was my first excuse for not writing. I was busy. But it was just that: an excuse. It wasn’t the real issue.
I didn’t fully realize the reasons I was struggling so much until I talked to my therapist about it. Around the time I started having trouble writing, I found out that a cousin I was close to was diagnosed with ALS. At the same time, my grandfather was declining in health. I was struggling with emotions relating to that news. Questioning why diseases without cures exist and realizing that some problems that feel giant really are trivial in the grand scheme of what life can throw at you. The more I tried to write my novel, the more unimportant it seemed. I was beginning to question what I wanted to do with the life that I had that could be cut short without notice. Writing a mystery novel didn’t feel like the goal I wanted to work toward anymore.
The things that I have been writing in the last year and a half are things that no one has seen. Poems, songs, journal entries, and stories all describing my anxieties, thoughts, and feelings as it started to feel like my family just kept getting hit with waves of bad news. Some of the things I have written are pieces that I’m the most proud of, but they are also the most vulnerable. They feel important, but every time I go to show someone, I can’t. I’m worried that they will look at me with pity or that they will know too much about me. I’m bad at being vulnerable. This blog is the start of me trying to work towards sharing the pieces I have written and will write that I feel hold importance. Step by step, I’m trying to walk outside of my comfort zone.
I know that anxiety and depression can hold us back. It seems to be their favorite thing to do. They make it hard to do things that others seem to do easily. But that just means that when we do accomplish something, it’s that much more rewarding. It is definitely something that you have to take a day at a time. I may not be close to where I want to be, but I’m closer than I was yesterday. That is something I try to tell myself and it helps, so maybe it can help you too. I’d love to hear about your experience with thoughts or feelings holding you back. Leave a comment below and share your story. Thanks for reading and continuing to grow this community.