Writing & Anxiety

Holly Huntress
5 min readNov 2, 2021

The first time I ever acknowledged I had anxiety was actually three years ago, when it became unmanageable. I started therapy and it helped me so much, Now I rarely have anxiety attacks. Except when I go on planes — which I never used to worry about, but of course, now I do. Other than that, anxiety attacks don’t really happen for me too often anymore.

My anxiety attacks look/feel like this : I start feeling lightheaded, and like I’m going to pass out. This in turn causes me to think that something else is wrong, like I’m going to be sick, and so I start getting more anxious, and my heart races. A newer symptom that I have been having is chest pains. The last time I was on an airplane, my chest pains got worse as my anxiety flared, and my thoughts jumped right to heart attack. This thought made my anxiety even worse, until I realized I was just having a panic attack. Acknowledging this fact helped me start being able to calm down. All the while, no one around me knew that I was in the midst of this anxiety attack, until I told them.

When I had an anxiety attack at midnight last night, it really scared me. I was exacerbating the issue by also thinking “oh no, it’s happening again. I’m going to start having these again.”

Journaling

My first thought was to journal. But, I didn’t want to wake my husband. So, I turned my focus to Bobs Burgers instead. This and other comedies helped me before whenever I was in a bad place, and I knew they could help me now. It did help, and I was able to calm myself and fall back asleep. But now, I want to do the journaling part — but in a blog post.

Writing about my anxiety was one of the coping methods I came up with when I was in therapy. Part of this was journaling. I would write down everything I was feeling in the moment so that I could let it go and move past it. Another type of writing that my therapist used to have me do was a thought chart. For the thought chart you start by writing what caused the anxious thought, how it made you feel, what the thought was, and what you could replace the thought with. This was kind of like structured journaling. These activities helped so much when it came to identifying what triggered my anxiety. They also helped to create alternate thought patterns.

Anxiety and Writing a Novel

In my current series that I am writing, my main character has anxiety. It is not the main focus of the book, but it is an important development in my character as she is going through some traumatic events. I use my own experiences with anxiety to write about it in my books. Rather than be upset that I have to deal with anxiety, I give it purpose.

People always say “write what you know” and so I do. I want to help bring more light to mental health issues. It is my goal to utilize my writing to both have fun, but also to bring awareness to issues that are important to me.

Writing my current series actually helped me a lot when it came to removing myself from my anxiety. I created a character that reflected myself, but also that had traits I wanted to gain. My character, Andy, is a strong young woman who can take care of herself. She does not like to ask for help, which is a trait I took from myself, but she is figuring out how to do that. The anxiety builds up in the first book, and then it is in the second book that she learns more about how to work through it — this is where I used my own processes, but also let her work it out in more physical ways.

It is a lot of fun to work out my own problems on the page of my book. I am so happy to have this outlet to be able to do that.

Anxiety and Publishing

If you are a writer, or want to be one, you probably know how nerve wracking trying to become published is. You have to put yourself out there time and time again, only to be shut down continuously. I try really hard not to let all of the rejections affect me. Sometimes, though, I let myself be upset. I let myself be sad, or angry, and then I send out more agent queries. Just because certain agents don’t want to represent me, does not mean no one will want to.

The most important thing is to push through anxiety and keep putting yourself out there. If you don’t, then you will never become published. You have to keep trying, and eventually, you will succeed. Keep editing, adjusting, rewriting, and sending out your work, because someone will love it as much as you do.

I was scrolling through Facebook earlier and saw this article called How to Calm Anxiety. I though how perfect and timely it was to see that as I was working on this post! It is written by someone I follow on Facebook, Kris Carr. Check it out!

Never forget, you are not alone!

If you are ever experiencing an anxiety attack, remember, you are not alone! Ask for help — reach out to friends and family. Talking about it can help you to understand what is happening. Since I am not great at reaching out or asking for help, I turn to my writing. I am working on asking for help, but in the meantime, writing has been very helpful to me on my journey dealing with anxiety.

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Thank you for reading!

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Holly Huntress

Author and content creator. My books - the Broken Angel series & Unbound - can be found on Amazon!