In my upcoming graphic memoir, Float, Anxiety is the main villain. He’s a charismatic monster who leaves a path of destruction in his wake. In my life, anxiety has been like a raging fire that leaves my loved ones, friends and my career in ashes. The process of writing Float is like sifting through those ashes.
Even though the memories are painful, it’s important to recollect the times anxiety got the best of you. It can help you keep track of how it attacks. It’ll also help you prepare a better defense for the next time anxiety strikes. Ever since I was little I would constantly remember troubling or embarrassing things from my past. I’d beat myself up over things I couldn’t change. Later I learned this is one of anxiety’s sharpest swords. It would bring me back to that day and cause me to relive the mental pain I experienced. Anxiety’s dream come true is a constant cycle of pain and anguish filled with regret and worry.
When this happens, I talk to myself and offer reassurance. The past has already happened. I can’t control it or change it. Since society has already kindly labeled me ‘crazy,’ I’ve come to accept that the pep talks I give to myself are just part of my gift. I pick on myself too much so it’s necessary to force my mind to offer a compliment. We have so much more work to do here and our time is limited.
Why waste so much worrying about the past? Instead I’d rather reflect on it and use it positively. I’m putting a lot of extremely personal moments in this book but I’m not afraid. I know that some feelings are universal and that many others suffer from anxiety like me. I hope by revealing my shame and embarrassment it will help someone else going through the same thing. We’re not alone. We stand together in the wake of anxiety’s path and we’ll be ready to fight next time.