Sunday, January 18, 2015

Anxiety - The Book

I am working on making my Anxiety comics into a book. A full graphic novel.
It's a lot of work.
I need to connect all the little episodes up, a little bit, and have a few narrative arcs.
At the same time I am refusing to give the reader anything to latch on that might detract from what I want to say. I know many people will want to pick up a narrative that supports their favourite ideas about anxiety disorder - maybe about medication being a good or a bad thing. Maybe about trauma - how it's all about relationships or childhood or self-esteem. They'll be looking for somewhere to put the blame and some solutions that they can approve or disapprove of.
That's not what this is about, though. There's enough of those books already.

What I want to do is make a book that shows honestly the reality of having anxiety disorder. I won't tell people whether to cure it or not, or let them look for my scars and compare them to my story and analyse my life and explain it back to me. I've had enough of that, and I've read enough of that about other people.
What I want to say is: it's all life. Life isn't on hold while you have mental troubles. There's no walking off into the sunset after an episode of horrible non-life. It's difficult, but it's not worth any less than any part of anyone's life. Don't wait with life until you are better. You are good enough already.
It's not all about beating mental illness, fixing it, rooting it out relentlessly. It's about understanding it as well as you can without obsessing about it, about accepting it without giving up, seeing that it is a part of who you are without letting it define you.
And in the case of my anxiety, it's about putting it in its place, arguing with it or ignoring it, shutting it up or letting it ramble as needed, accepting the rare gifts it brings and refusing its everyday insults, and often laughing about it.


It'll take me a while to get it ready to pitch to a publisher, about a month I expect.
If you want to support me while I'm concentrating on this rather than my more secure and regular work, see if you'd like to buy something from my shop... every bit helps. 

P.S. Inevitable sods who like to comment explaining my own life to me or spam me with cures: I'll just delete that, why don't you just go do something actually nice for someone who actually needs you.

3 comments:

peter bangs said...

This has the hallmarks of a great book. I would love to see something that just talks to the reality of living with mental illness in graphic novel format that isn't bio or autobiographical. To be able to hand someone a book and just say "this reflects my reality" seem to me to be a worthwhile aim. Keep us all posted on progress as I for one really want a copy of this I can read and lend out.

Viviane Schwarz said...

Thank you!
It is beginning to hang together. - It's autobiographical as much as it needs to be to give the character a context, things to work with and against, but I am trying to center it all around the present reality...

Swati said...

I'll be looking forward to it too. Bought your undersea adventure book, just not from your site :(