One of the great things about the writing community is the way authors so generously share support.
I attended my publisher’s Author Workshop last month. Every night I crawled in broken cowardice to the shelter of my room. (Okay, I broke and took short breaks during the day too.) After the Workshop, several other writers generously confided on Facebook about their painful experiences with social anxiety. I was not alone.
Methinks it’s not an accident authors end up with solitary occupations.
I’m a huge fan of Heidi Cullinan. She’s written a gorgeous novel entitled Carry the Ocean. (Referenced in a previous blog.) The story is narrated by two young men, one on the autism spectrum and the other with severe depression and anxiety. In one of my favorite paragraphs, the psychiatrist speaks to the very anxious second man:
“I would suggest, in fact, the greater issue is sometimes you can’t trust others because your greatest difficulty is in trusting yourself, that a good faith effort is enough. That saying you want to attempt to climb this mountain of your fear is something to be proud of. That the work you do with [your friend] is precious to many people. … That you’ve covered a great deal of ground. That you don’t have to compete with other people and their expectations of you. That first and foremost you should seek to live a life which gratifies and completes you—and striving is more than most people ever do.”
Later the young man says,
“I was amazing. I’d conquered my fear—or at least learned how to drive it a lot better. …I realized I was always this cool. I was just waiting to figure it out.”
Heidi Cullinan nailed it. She knows her subject.
Those of us who work so very hard to function while suffering with depression, anxiety, and other “disorders” need to let ourselves understand we are skating in the ultimate cool.