My sanity isn’t my primary motive for writing. I feel the need to explain that for some reason, although even if it were, that would be okay. Of all the motivations and goals that I have, this happened to be where my head is at the moment. So, it gets written first. It’s the absolute truth, though, that I write because I have mental health issues.
I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. The kind that leads to insomnia and fatigue. Nausea and digestive issues. Panic attacks where you feel like you’re dying. No, it’s not the normal “worry” that everyone feels. The things that set me off are irrational, uncontrollable, and excessive. That’s why it’s a disorder.
When I write, I have something to do with my brain and my hands. I’m able to direct my attention away from what’s freaking me out, and put that energy into something constructive. It’s something that I have control over. Writing is also very meditative, at least for me, and it helps to calm me down. It’s something that I can do when I’m wide awake in the middle of the night, or when I don’t feel well physically. My headphones go on, with some white noise or calm music, and I sit down at the keyboard and focus.
It doesn’t always work, of course. Writing is not a substitute for necessary health care. The genuine issues that need to addressing, which I’m overreacting to while in the throes of an anxiety attack, still need dealing with. I’d be worse off if I didn’t have it as one of the tools in my toolbox, though.
As bizarre as it sounds, I’ve grown to see my anxiety as a benefit in my life. No, it isn’t pleasant and nothing about it is fun. Yet it’s been a driving force behind whatever success I have as a writer. Without it, I could easily have been wasting my time watching TV or playing video games, things that jangle my nerves too much now. I’ve turned a form of self-care into a career.
You can read more about Why I Write here.