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The Beginning of an Explanation

When I dropped off of the Internet, it wasn't meant to be a years long sabbatical. I thought I just needed a break; that I was getting burned out from writing Basement Songs and movie reviews for Popdose.com. Something cracked, though, and I couldn't consider writing even in a journal for a very long time. Things changed in the winter of 2017. While driving to pick up Jacob at theater rehearsal, I experienced my first panic attack. It started immediately after he got in the car at the theater and it slowly took over my body for the fifteen minute drive home. My skin became clammy and I felt myself removed from my body. My brain was empty and I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I gutted it out until we walked through the front door. Without saying a word, I went upstairs, crawled into bed and got in the fetal position. I just wanted to close my eyes and shut out the world. The next morning I awoke exhausted, as if I'd exercised the previous day. That was the first time I understood that panic attacks are as much a physical experience as they are mental. I went through my regular day and thought it was just one of those things that happened. I didn't even know if I called it a panic attack the first time. But I knew that something was off. The first true indication that I had to remove myself from the Internet was when I went to write my next Popdose piece. As I tried to write, my fingers became dead weight and I could feel that same panicky sensation brewing. That's when I chose to stop writing. As painful as it was to just quit, something I never would have considered because I was raised not to be a quitter, it was such a relief, too. To not worry if anyone was reading my posts (most peiple weren't) and to not compare my ratings to those of my fellow writers took such a load off of my shoulders. I'm sure many of you know that feeling, the feeling that not enough folks have liked you posts on Facebook or Instagram. It's a vicious thing getting sucked into that cycle. Vicious. I thought that was the end, that ditching writing for Popdose would cure me. It didn't. It wasn't just writing on the Internet that froze me; I quickly found out that when I tried to work on a screenplay the same feelings crept in. Faced with the idea of not writing a screenplay, a new fear overtook me: if I wasn't going to be a screenwriter, what the hell was I doing with my life? Petrified that my life journey of being a writer was now something I couldn't do anymore, I bottled up even more.

Comments

Sophie said…
You are my hero for willing to be this vulnerable and challenging your triggers
LittleOne said…
The struggle is real. Write to heal or because you love it. Don't worry about the rest. Sending love and encouragement from Ohio.
JediMom said…
Thank you for sharing. As someone who also has suffered from panic attacks, know you are not alone.

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