(This post was originally posted on my Patreon page on 25th May, 2018)
Yesterday (last Thursday) was a very difficult day.As many of my readers and followers know, I suffer from workplace anxiety (and recently diagnosed as PTSD).
It was a bad day. I had a major panic attack, following an emotional communication from my insurance company. The phone call stirred up all my fears and sent me on a downward spiral, with the black dog nipping at my heels.
I felt betrayed, accused, and terrified. My biggest fear is having to face my old workplace. (I still haven’t set foot in the shopping centre where the attack occurred.) I still have recurring nightmares about it. It took an entire psychologist session to calm me down to a point where I could stop crying.
One thing that gets me through each day is writing. I find it cathartic. It keeps me sane. I find myself channeling my feelings and anxieties through various characters and pouring them onto the page.
Most of the time it’s unplanned – like Viola Stewart lost an eye in the short story, An Eye for Detail. (Was I trying to excise my old job from my life?) ‘Doctor Jack’ was a dark tail of conspiracy and betrayal. One of the main themes of the trilogy was trust – who to trust, accepting others can be trusted and of accepting help. ‘The Adventures of Viola Stewart’ series helped me work through some of these issues.
With ‘Aunt Enid’, I was hoping for a more lighthearted tale. Yes, there are a lot more humorous moments but the darkness still crept in. Sally’s panic attack for one, and the ominous ‘Big Bad’, The Dark, threatening to take over their world.
But… So many good childhood memories have found their way into the pages of ‘Aunt Enid’ as well. I do have a Great Aunt Enid. I remember her delicious lemon butter, her big old wood burning stove and the hydrangeas at the bottom of her front stairs. My best friend in primary school was Sally. I also borrowed the first names of my grandmother and grandfather, both of whom I have so many wonderful memories.
Writing gives me a reason to get up in the morning. It gives me a way to face my daemons (not literally as Aunt Enid did) and, hopefully one day, put them to rest. Writing also provides a platform to share my journey with you, and anyone who wants to read my stories.
So, yesterday, my world crashed around me. Today I start writing a new story I start repairing the claw marks and rents the black dog has inflicted. I write, and I hope, this story this may be the one to chase away those daemons – just a little bit further.
I’ve previously spoken about anxiety on my blog. I believe speaking out helps others who have yet to find their voice. It is up to the world to start listening and accepting us for who we are. Then maybe we won’t feel so alone.
When the Black Dog bites (may contain spoilers)