That’s the title of a poem I wrote about the poorly understood anxiety attacks I was having my senior year of high school. This morning, a post I read at Confident Writing, made me think again of it.
Consider this entry something of a short meme response on the one linked above. I suppose, in regards to writing, I am afraid I suck and people are just being nice to me when they say otherwise. I figure that’s a common enough fear. I know one of the best ways to combat that, is to get better, through practice and patience.
The original post, I think, is on to something though. That’s where the connection to my anxiety attack comes in. When the anxiety attack started, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. My mind raced for sources of the fear and ended up latching on to anything and everything while also quailing at some nameless source, a giant nothing passed fathom.
During one attack I grabbed the yellow book and scanned for mental hospitals. I put myself in touch with a therapist that way and they allowed me through, paid for by the state (we were too poor to afford it directly). Eventually, the therapist put a name to these attacks. She admitted she needed to send me to a psychiatrist with her recommendations and then, if the psychiatrist agreed, they could prescribe me any necessary medications.
I ended up cancelling future visits. She gave me all I needed. As soon as she said anxiety disorder I looked it up, I even watched a program about it and panic disorder. The name was all I needed. Knowing what it was gave me the control, put in my hands to power to research and find techniques to cope. I taught myself how to handle it without meds. Now I very rarely feel the racing heartbeat and physiological signs of fear and anxiety without mental cause. When I do, I know just what to do to return calm.
I think this naming your fears, in all areas of life, not just writing, has merit. If you let it continue as some unknown monster in the closet, closed off but never really forgotten, it will only continue to haunt you. Even if it turns out more than a shirt snagged awkwardly on the ironing board, you are still one step closer to knowing what it is to better deal with it.