Anxiety is different for everyone.
For some, it's like running in place. For other's it's like looking at the world though a pair of paper towel tubes. For me - it's like having a hive of bees in my head.
Yes. Bees. So many bees.
Every hum and buzz is a whisper. They tell me things that I don't want to hear, surfacing my deepest fears and worries. Sometimes, that hive sleeps and I feel like a normal human. I can go about my day without dealing with their feedback and I can formulate thoughts and ideas of my own.
Then - there are days when that hive is agitated. It usually started with a trigger, like an excess of sound or a situation that shifts faster than my brain can keep up. Sometimes it even feels like someone has taken a baseball bat to the hive, sending me bees storming out in a violent fury. My brain feels swollen in my skull and my ears buzz with every bad thought those bees can throw at me. I feel dizzy, nauseous, tired - and often sleep is the only escape.
Why am I telling you this?
I'm telling you - because anxiety, in all of it's forms, is normal.
You aren't crazy.
You aren't being dramatic.
You aren't overreacting.
And - you can still be you, even if you live with this anxiety. The hive will have it's own days, and God - those days suck. Trust me. I know. But there will also be days when the hive sleeps, and you will be able to function as if they weren't there at all.
Personifying my anxiety in a tangible way has helped me to deal with these feelings. It's helped me to be a good mother, wife, business owner - and now, a writer.
While writing Vivian's character, I didn't seek to make her perfect. She's sooo far from perfect. In fact, she's so utterly normal that at times, it may drive you crazy. I find myself judging her decisions a lot and criticizing the way she thinks and responds to others. In reality - Vivian is an anxious mind. She lives with her hive and she has become a master at knowing when it is active. This is a lesson I taught myself, as well as a quality that I wanted Vivian to also have.
If you have your own mental hive - there is a way to live alongside it. You don't have to like the bees. Occasionally they will sting, as bees do. But if you can learn to respect your own bees and what triggers them, living with their buzz becomes bearable. Respect the things that you need, such as more sleep, days off, time alone, time with family, exercise, healthy eating, time outside, reading, and anything else that makes life a bit easier.
And when all else fails, it's okay to shut down for a day and just "exist".
It's okay to feel exhausted with existing. It's okay to do exactly what you need to do in order to be a person again.
For me, that "thing" was writing The Channel.