Escape Artist

February 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Anonymous writes,

So I get lost in my headcanon. A lot. It happens at work, at home, on the bus. . . After a CBT therapy last year, I realized that this behaviour could be an escapist response to my anxiety. I have since been trying to teach my brain not to go there all the time.

The only issue is that getting lost in my headcanon is the only way I’m able to write fic. Now that I’m trying to limit myself, my fic ideas remain unwritten. I’m afraid that if I indulge in them, I’ll just end up in an escapist fantasy again.

Any suggestions as to how I can still write my fic and be mindful?

I think about this question a lot. Every night I crawl into bed and switch on the headcanon. Or I pass a boring commute to work with the same episode I’ve written over and over again, tweaking the dialogue here and there. Is it really that bad? It’s better than being glued to a smart phone screen, right? Or worrying about things outside of your control? Given the choice of catastrophizing or thinking about make outs, who wouldn’t choose make outs?

I think having a great imagination is a priceless gift. But in addition to entertaining us, it’s also a barometer for our anxiety. When you are more intensely involved in headcanon, when you need to get lost, when it’s not just a fun game, that’s when you know you need to look closer. To lean into your anxiety.

Accept your emotions. Don’t fight them. Just say out loud (unless you’re in public), “Golly gumdrops, I’m really anxious right now! Let me share some things that I’m worried about.” And then just go through the list. Your brain will sort for you what’s rational and what’s irrational.

Yesterday morning I did this while I was making the bed, and I couldn’t think of a single damn thing I really had to be worried about. Everything was fine. Suddenly I was more curious about my weird little brain that frightened by it. Simply by taking notice, I had relaxed myself a great deal.

I don’t think you should stop daydreaming. Your OTP deserves those make outs. But before you dive headfirst, take a minute or two and lean in. Don’t fight your anxiety, and don’t try to stop it. Just narrate what’s going on with you before you move onto fictional people. You’ll find that when you don’t need them as a distraction, their story and yours will benefit.

 

 

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