Anxiety Is The Writer’s Toxic Muse


Anxiety is a writer’s ailment – here’s why. The process of personification aids catharsis; it makes palpable the otherwise abstract, sharpens the blurred grooves of consciousness into focused, delineated rows ready for observation and intricate deconstruction. It takes the otherwise non-human or illusory and gives it signs of life with the God-like audacity of the imagination, transforming everyday encounters, both unique and mundane, into moments of worth. Noteworthy. Book-worthy. Mental-delicacy consumption inviting.

A writer is, in effect, taking part in an imaginative degustation. But after the 10th course, the inevitable happens: you become overfull, slightly sickened with yourself, and begin experiencing the first pangs of regret. You realize you never savoured the flavor of the moment that you’ll never have again. You have a reconstruction of how you’ve idealized the entrée, with only a shard of original perception. Stuck somewhere in your cerebrum, bleeding out with the intolerable pain of not knowing if you’ll ever really find what you were looking for, but never found, in your memory…

To that effect, we’re all writers-some of us just choose to take on a passive role. The active ones, however, become skilled in personifying the unordinary to inconceivable heights, until anxiety becomes a host of unhealthy persons in your life.

Often it resembles the overbearing and toxic boyfriend, limiting your comfort with personal expression and growth. Magnifying mishaps into irreversible, catastrophic failures. Reminding you that you are NOT good enough; forcing you to question the weight of your worth at the cost of cheap metals, instead of gold.

It becomes the unattached lover, that doesn’t really want you. The one that leads you to stand in front of the mirror and feel a slight, growing disgust with yourself. A repulsion by the touch of your own fingertips against your skin, for want of a type of coarseness to reflect the callous you feel for yourself.

Sometimes, your anxiety is akin to a loner’s only friend. The one that concedes that you are everything awful and then some, but that that’s okay. That you’ll always have each other, and you’ll find your own way.

When you’re feeling better, it’s just a dishonest neighbor, which most of the time you ignore, and other times you reiterate the clear boundaries between your properties. This is my consciousness, my happiness, my existence, my framework within which I function, prosper and grow, if even with setbacks at several junctions, and then there’s yours. You can’t fathom its existence beyond the vision of it and its unsmug, but vain, face. It’s somewhere in the fabric of the being you perceive, but only from afar.

Other times anxiety is a dancer, mockingly swaying in both the shadows and the light. A ballerina that moves with distractingly exquisite grace, leaving a slowly-developing destructive trace where she has twirled around. Dancing to a timeless melody granting calm and serenity, divulged to none. Never tiring, never sinking, swaying, moving, breathing in a lightness you can never hope to achieve.

And sometimes anxiety is exactly what you think it is-a problem that isn’t really there. You know it’s a non-issue; you can pinpoint the moment you decided to personify it to something you are fully aware it is not. But you are a writer, and you have given life-not a murderer. And sometimes that anxiety, in whatever form it has taken on, simply needs to die a natural death.

featured image – Flickr / Rennett Stowe