April is National Anxiety Month (and probably some other “National Months” too, so many topics need attention)…so I’ve written a special column over at USA Today Happily Ever After blog on this subject.
Now I’m strictly a layperson, but as I understand it, almost everyone suffers stress and anxiety from time to time in our modern world. There are plenty of things to stress a person in the normal day – commuting to work, the big meeting with the boss or client, the final exam, making a speech etc. Anxiety becomes a problem when it interferes with a person’s everyday life.
In my house, we call it “Mama’s feeling tense”, which can be quite an understatement at times. But I’m happy to say it isn’t all the time, every day either! Everyone has their own health challenges – I have migraines, asthma and oh, anxiety attacks. None of the three things is 24 hours of the day, seven days a week, thank goodness, and there’s stuff I can do to alleviate each one when it comes on. Now I’m not trying to make light of the topic, not in the least. After a near fatal car crash on the way to work one morning, I became subject to anxiety attacks, particularly when I had to drive. Especially when I had to drive to work along the same route where I had my accident!
I pretty much avoid that particular bridge on the 605 freeway every time I can, even after all these years.
Now I’m not my characters and they aren’t me, but when I was writing my latest novel, MAGIC OF THE NILE, I realized the adult heroine Tyema had been through a very stressful series of events as a child, when the enemy had invaded her village, killed a number of people she knew and kidnapped her. (These events form part of the plot of my first novel PRIESTESS OF THE NILE, about Tyema’s older sister.) It wasn’t believable that Tyema wouldn’t have some lingering effects as an adult. Symptoms of anxiety were well recognized in ancient Egypt, although not of course by that name.
You can read more in my post over at USA Today Happily Ever After. My primary reason for writing the post was to urge anyone who might have symptoms of anxiety not to hesitate, but to do something about it. I was so lucky that my family doctor diagnosed what was going on right away, so I’ve always known what to do for it.
My character figures out what to do about her challenges over the course of the novel, in ways that work for her. And yes, she has a Happily Ever After! It’s a romance after all 🙂