I’m taking part in the weekend blitz blog tour for Cassandra Piat’s, ‘Stuck With Me’ today and I’m delighted to share a guest post from Cassandra about anxiety; which as you may know, is a topic close to my heart and something I’m always happy and willing to talk about in the hope it may help someone else. So it’s over to you, Cassandra! And make sure you scroll to the bottom of the post to grab the information about Cassandra’s book.
Thanks so much Jenny for hosting me on your blog and giving me the opportunity to share with you the reason why I decided to include the issue of anxiety in my recently published romantic comedy, Stuck with Me.
I’ve suffered from anxiety for a long time and I know that there are so many people out there who do too. Anxiety is a horrible thing to suffer from because it often doesn’t make sense and seems ridiculous in hindsight, but when it grips you, there’s not much you can do about it. A lot of people who have never suffered from anxiety and panic attacks don’t understand why we can’t just relax, breathe and talk ourselves out of it, and I totally understand why they would think that, but unfortunately it’s so much harder than that… So I thought that by having a character with anxiety in Stuck with Me I could give a little insight on the subject to those who don’t suffer from it, all the while providing a bit of support to anxiety sufferers showing them that they are not alone.
As for me personally, I don’t think that my type of anxiety is exactly like most people’s, but there are so many different ways in which anxiety can attack you. A few years ago I had a nervous breakdown and had awful panic attacks for about a week. It was awful – my insides were so tightly wound that I thought I would be squeezed to death, and all I wanted to do was disappear just so that I wouldn’t feel that way anymore… but I’m lucky because I haven’t had bad attacks since then, and only suffer from mild anxiety attacks. I’ve learnt to cope with my anxiety over time by using the methods of relaxation I was taught and basically by talking myself out of them. Although I pretty much manage to control and deal with my anxiety, it still stops me from living my life to the fullest. It stops me from doing so many things I know I would enjoy doing…
My problem is that I am scared of feeling sick or throwing up when I’m away from home. I’m well aware that that sounds ridiculous but I can’t control it and it stops me from doing so many things I would like to do. Although it may just be small things, it all adds up; for example I can’t take a lift with people anywhere because I need to know that I can leave whenever I need to; I hate taking the plane because I just can’t bear the thought of not being able to get out the plane if I feel sick and be stuck there with all those people around me and nowhere to hide and be sick; my friends go on amazing walks once a month all around the island but I can’t go because a mini bus drops them at the start of the track and picks them up wherever it is they are heading to – no way out for me if I feel sick along the way, so I don’t go; I don’t like going out on boat excursions unless it’s our own boat (which is a shame seeing as we live on an island); I don’t like travelling in groups because it involves sharing cars and doing things together and what if I don’t feel up to it and can’t get out of it; I also feel anxious every time there is a big evening or lunch or dinner somewhere far from home, I hate being in crowds in large closed places, I always need to be near an exit… and the list goes on. It’s nothing dramatic but just a lot of little things that stop me from doing so many things that I would love doing. I’m never relaxed about any major event which consists of leaving my house because I’m always worried I may feel sick during the event and I often find myself saying “Go on, you can do it – it’s only 4 hours then you’ll be back home”. It’s always such a relief when it’s time to go home and although I do enjoy myself once I’m there, I can never fully be excited about doing anything, which is pretty sad… Taking the plane is a nightmare and instead of being excited about going away, I’m in such a state before leaving that I spoil it for my family too. I try to be strong and hide it the most I can because of my kids, but of course they can feel it. It’s just the worst thing to see my children developing anxieties like me and knowing it’s my fault… because children shouldn’t have to deal with anxiety – I never had panic attacks or anxieties until I was in my twenties and children shouldn’t have to deal with feelings like that. They have their whole lives in front of them and need to be young and carefree…
For me, the solution to my anxiety problems was to finally accept that this is the way I am. Now it’s about living my life in ways that will cause me the less anxiety possible. Sometimes it can’t be avoided – for example, when we go overseas – but in everyday life it’s just about making choices that will avoid putting me in stressful positions. When situations arise, I see how I feel and go with the flow. If it means taking my car despite it not being the most practical solution, then I’ll just take my car. It’s not always easy and not much fun, but it’s all about learning to live with it as best I can. And I guess I have in my own way. I’m not shy talking about it anymore and if I feel anxious, I say so and I’m not embarrassed about it – it’s a problem I have, and that’s just the way it is. Being able to accept it and say ‘this is how I am’ is a huge relief.
So I hope that through my character in Stuck with Me I was able to show people a facet of what an anxiety disorder is like and that it may help my readers to be more compassionate when faced with people suffering from anxiety disorders.
***Stuck with Me is on sale at 99c/99p from Feb 18th to Feb 22nd***
Molly, known for her unflagging optimism and constant cheeriness, is thrilled to win an all-expenses paid vacation to Mauritius. She packs her camera and a few colourful bikinis and can’t wait to have some fun in the sun. Little does she know there’s a catch.
Adam is a journalist on assignment and his mission is to test Molly’s optimism and see how far she can be pushed before she breaks. Surely it can’t be that hard?
What happens when Molly meets the hilariously cantankerous Adam and finds that she can’t seem to shake him? How will Adam successfully complete his task when faced with Molly’s beautiful smile, quick wit and curvaceous body?
As they bicker their way around the island, Adam and Molly realise that there’s more to each other than meets the eye. An unexpected friendship develops between them which soon turns into much more. But what will happen when Molly learns the truth behind Adam’s trip to Mauritius?
A heartfelt, funny and touching story about life, love, and happiness.
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About Cassandra Piat: Cassandra Piat is a part-time English teacher and a full-time disorganised mother and housewife. She spends her life trying to remember not to forget the 101 things on her things-to-do list, but seems to fail spectacularly most of the time! Whenever she has some free time she’s either with her head in a book, watching a romantic comedy or writing her own romantic comedies.
She lives in Mauritius with her husband, who prefers TV to books, and her three children who keep her on her toes and don’t leave her much free time to sit down and write.
She published her first book What’s it Gonna be? in December 2014 and Stuck with Me is her second novel. She loves writing stories that take place on her beautiful tropical island of Mauritius and sharing the island life with her readers. She is currently writing her third book in her head and hopes that she will soon have time to get it down on paper.