Category Archives: anxiety

Some thoughts on violence

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. ~Khalil Gibran

I don’t often comment on events in the U.S. on my blog, but the recent events in Boston have been making me think. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I hope that the city of Boston is able to recover and move forward.

What worries me is the ongoing blame of Muslim people. I wish everyone could find a way to get along. Racism, classism, sexism and intolerance of religion divide us when we’re all so gloriously human. These divisions keep us from being the best of humanity. To the Muslim Americans out there, stay safe, and I hope you’re ok. And to Muslims across the world, not all Americans are afraid/ hateful of your religion.

Another worry and frustration I have is the casual idea that mental illness inherently causes violence. When in reality “mental illness” is a broad umbrella that includes diverse issues from anxiety to depression and bi-polar to schizophrenia. Have you ever seen the diagnostic manual that therapists/ psychiatrists use? It is huge and for good reason, there are many ways that the human brain can deviate from normal.

Most people with mental illness are not violent. Most people with normal brain chemistry are not violent. For example, people with schizophrenia are more likely to commit suicide than they are to commit violence with others. Here is some information from NIMH:

Are people with schizophrenia violent?

People with schizophrenia are not usually violent. In fact, most violent crimes are not committed by people with schizophrenia.7 However, some symptoms are associated with violence, such as delusions of persecution. Substance abuse may also increase the chance a person will become violent.8 If a person with schizophrenia becomes violent, the violence is usually directed at family members and tends to take place at home.

The risk of violence among people with schizophrenia is small. But people with the illness attempt suicide much more often than others. About 10 percent (especially young adult males) die by suicide.9,10 It is hard to predict which people with schizophrenia are prone to suicide. If you know someone who talks about or attempts suicide, help him or her find professional help right away.

People with schizophrenia are not usually violent.

I don’t have specific studies to back me up, but I am going to extrapolate here and say that most people with mental illness are not violent. And I would also venture to say that it is wrong to say that because one person in a group does something wrong to say that all people in a group are that way.

For example, I do not believe, that all Muslims are terrorists. Because that is a ridiculous assumption. Muslims are all human. There are good people and bad people as well as people in the middle. In any group of humans, there are violent people, kind people, and mediocre people. In the end we’re all just human.

Why do we feel the need to demonize one group or another when violence happens? That violence was created by the choices of the people who committed that act. It was not committed by an entire group of people at once.

I hope we can all follow Mr. Rogers’s excellent advice and look for the helpers. The people who stepped up and made a difference when atrocity shook us all.

© K. Klein 2013

Leave a comment

Filed under anxiety, forgiveness, health, uncategorized

Refuge

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.  Bob Marley

When I was in elementary school, I played flute, but I never practiced. I played passingly and usually sat towards the end of the section because I didn’t put the effort into improving my musical skills.

The interesting thing about music or art versus writing is that often there is the idea that writers are born and not made. However, writing is a skill like any other, and to develop any skill that means you need to practice.

I’ve been working on my writing practice this year. I’ve been writing towards a novel since late January and am at sixty-two thousand words. I’m happy with my progress. When it comes to my writing, I want to practice. I want to get better.

When I write, I am a happier and more complete person than when I do not write. For example, yesterday, I was in a funky mood. A bit anxious and upset and I sat down to write and just lost myself to my characters. And when I finished, I felt better. I even went on to write more in a second session later last night.

Writing is my refuge from the world. When I am telling stories it takes me away from my problems and issues. It allows me the freedom to bring my characters to life and to share them with others.

©K. Klein 2013

Leave a comment

Filed under anxiety, writing

Hiding

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Whenever I feel sad or depressed or too anxious to function I have a tendency to hide. And looking at my blog and how I haven’t posted for most of January I think it is safe to say that I have been hiding.

When I was in high school, my way to hide included a dark blue sweater with a Mickey Mouse embroidered on the front. I felt a lot like Mia Thermopolis from the Princess Diaries – minus the whole royalty spiel.

For the most part, I have tried to use other more positive coping mechanisms in my life. However, I didn’t realize it until now, but I have fallen back on the hiding technique. It is just easier to pretend nothing is wrong when I pretend I am not there.

There are several reasons I think I went into this mode during January – a lot of overwhelming things have happened.

Firstly, I read a writing blog called Miss Snark’s First Victim run by the lovely Authoress. She ran a Critique Partner Dating Service. I actually put myself out there, which is a challenge for me. I met some lovely people. However, it seems that none of them have clicked. Perhaps there is still some sting from rejection. And sting from an honest critique. (I probably started the novel in the wrong place and my first line wasn’t a hook. Sigh. I suck at writing hooks.)

It isn’t that I don’t want honesty, but the critique killed my creative voice. And the critical voice has been in the forefront since then. I’ve been feeling apathetic and averse to writing since then. I suppose it just means that this person was not my destined critique partner. And that is ok. I wasn’t super nice to them either. Their technical skills were solid, but for me, their character fell flat.

It is interesting, because this ties into something else that I discovered this January. I stumbled into the blogs of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. And they have some offbeat advice. In fact, they made me start thinking about writing as a business. And in thinking about it as a business, I started to question my original plan.

Initially, I wanted to get a query together and find an agent. Now that I have read their blogs and thoughts I am definitely considering indie publishing. I am considering a small publishing house or self-publishing e-books. A year ago, this would have been an unimaginable decision for me. Now I am really weighing the cost and benefit of each model of publishing. And the thing that seems clear to me is that indie publishing is perhaps a good launch pad, even if traditional publishing is the goal.

I’m still trying to process all of the information from their blogs. I would strongly suggest that if you are unpublished and don’t know what direction you want to go in to read these blogs because they are definitely thought-provoking.

Furthermore, I have also spent January being a bit anxious about some personal situations. Hopefully this week will bring some highly anticipated news and be a positive start.

©K. Klein 2013

2 Comments

Filed under anxiety, inner critic, writing

Struggling against the Silence

Writing is a struggle against silence. Carlos Fuentes

My anxiety has been riding me hard for the past week. Some days; especially today that has made it hard to concentrate and get things done. I hate the feeling of being arrested and unable to accomplish anything. When it feels like every task – even finishing the laundry – is too much. I did get the laundry done today, but it feels like I didn’t accomplish much else.

This is so damn frustrating to me. I know I am capable of accomplishing many things. And yet, days like today happen where doing anything feels like an uphill battle against me. Even typing these words is a chore.

I want to write or journal, but it feels like I am in a tank of water and every motion I do takes the extra effort of working against not only the air, but the water too. I don’t want to be silent. I want to be able to speak up. Or write. Or communicate. I want to write – even when it is hard or scary. Perhaps, especially when writing is hard or scary.

I hate this feeling that fear is ruling my life. I want to live my life despite the fear I feel. I want to be able to do what I want to do. I want to accomplish things in a day; more than just getting the laundry done and feeling exhausted because it took that much exertion to just start it. So here I am, writing this blog post, trying to work over that feeling of not being able to accomplish anything today.

There is also that voice of doubt in the back of my head. This post is stupid. Why don’t you stop whining? If you post this to the internet people are going to think you are a whiner. You don’t want that, do you? Argh, listen up, doubt – please just shut the fuck up. All right? I am striving against the silence. I am writing despite the uphill battle. I don’t need your help.

©K. Klein 2012

6 Comments

Filed under anxiety, inner critic, writing

Mental & physical flexibility

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. ~Author Unknown

Last night was my first time doing yoga in a month because of being sick. And man did I feel the gap between my last yoga session and this one. I was super tight and stiff while warming up. Thankfully the instructor took us through a good warm up and I loosened up, but it reminded me why it is important to practice. Obviously, being sick is a good reason to take it easy, but hopefully I will be healthy the rest of this winter and then I shall need to stick with my practice.

Yoga, like my writing, is something that I love to do, but it doesn’t always come easily to me. It takes a long time to form a life changing habit – getting to form those grooves in the neural pathways of the brain. I still haven’t recovered my writing everyday or even near everyday habit that I broke at the end of grad school. Obviously school was important to me, but I am still upset that I haven’t gotten back on the horse, so to speak. I am writing, but not every day.

I would be astounded if I could get to doing yoga every day. Right now my goal is to practice 1-2 times weekly and once I establish that routine maybe put in another session. I don’t want to jump the gun now because I am trying to re-establish the every week yoga that I’d work on in the late summer and early autumn.

It is interesting to me to see how difficult it is to form new and good habits and so damn easy for me to fall back on already established habits. It is annoying because sometimes I know these established patterns of behavior are unproductive. (I’m looking at your anxiety freak outs). But as with all things, if I want to change myself, I have to try. And so here I am going at it one week at a time with yoga and one day at a time with writing.

©K. Klein 2012

2 Comments

Filed under anxiety, health, writing, yoga

Being thankful

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?”  ~William A. Ward

I will admit that I am sometimes bad at gratitude; such as I am bad at being optimistic. These are things that I have to work hard to remind myself and my brain about. I am prone to anxiety and catastrophizing if I don’t work hard to remember the good things in life. And if I don’t remind myself that everything is going to be ok.

But I am thankful because I am lucky to have many wonderful people in my life. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving (despite some of the horrible history behind it) here are some things I am thankful for in no particular order:

  • My family
  • My brother
  • My significant other (boyfriend, whatever word you wanna use).
  • My friends
  • Books
  • Learning
  • Words & writing

What are you thankful for today? How do you show your gratitude? Happy Thanksgiving.

©K. Klein 2012

2 Comments

Filed under anxiety, gratitude

Just bleed

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

Unfortunately, as much time as I have spent thinking about new idea and anticipating writing it, the writing is being difficult. My mind is resisting and trying to run away in fear. I want to hold back. I’ve hit upon a personal nerve. Oddly enough, NaNoWriMo often brings to light things that I don’t want to face.

Ironically, even though this novel is set in a magic pseudo-futuristic America, the main character’s mother is insane. Part of the major conflict is the main character needing to pay for mental healthcare for her mother. This is something I discovered in the planning on Halloween, but it makes sense for the larger plot overall.

This hits a personal nerve. My own mother is schizophrenic. Sometimes it just hurts to think that. A tiny piece of me is terrified of becoming ill like her; more often I am just terrified of becoming her. So having a character who is intimately dealing with the relationship with her own mother strikes me deeply.

I haven’t talked with my mother in a decade and going on longer. There are many reasons beyond my own mother’s illness of why we have not had contact in that long. Ultimately, I made the decision for my health.

So here I am, at the beginning of NaNoWriMo writing a novel about a daughter who is willing to do anything to care for her mentally ill mother; setting regardless. I might as well take the kitchen knife and slice my wrist open – I think that would hurt less. I honestly don’t mean to be melodramatic. I know it probably sounds pretty over the top to those who aren’t inside of my head.

But the issues that I have surrounding my mother and the array of confusing feelings – love, hatred, anger – decided to come up. Why hello issues, it is nice to see you again too. Not.

Wish me luck. Maybe I can dig into the fear as Dorothy Allison advises. I hope to bring honesty to whatever I write. I just have to sit down and face myself to do it. Sometimes seeing yourself clearly is the hardest thing there is to do.

©K. Klein 2012

6 Comments

Filed under anxiety, health, nanowrimo, writing