How to write a character with anxiety?

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This post answers: How to write a character with anxiety? Which are some fictional characters with anxiety? What is Anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? What are the causes of anxiety? What are some ways to manage anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety?

How to write a character with anxiety?

Some tips to write a character with anxiety are:

Differentiate between shyness and anxiousness

Individuals who are portraying a character with anxiety must make sure that they are differentiated from shyness. though individuals who experience anxiety might show some degree of shyness it is not looked at the same as anxiety. 

As shyness is a personality trait not necessarily people hold negative emotions and feelings while feeling shy as they do while feeling anxious.

A sense of worry about everything

Characters with anxiety usually worry about everything and every decision that they have to make. This is mainly because they fear making the wrong decisions and the consequences that might follow even though the decision that they are making is well supported and has positive evidence.

Lack of trust

Characters with anxiety usually lack a sense of trust. They lack trust in themselves as well as in others in extreme cases. They fail to rely on their own decisions and actions. 

Apart from this they also feel that other people will eventually break their trust. However, it is not mandatory that all characters who experience anxiety experience a lack of trust.

Fluctuating appetite

Characters with anxiety usually find it difficult to carry out normal routines such as eating healthy and on time due to their anxiousness. 

Many individuals with anxiety might experience a sense of nausea before having breakfast while others find it difficult to eat a meal at a certain time.

In another scenario, individuals with anxiety tend to overeat to feel better with the help of their comfort food.

Treatment by other characters

Characters with anxiety are always accompanied by other characters who might be supporting or might be discouraging. In the first case, the characters understand and try to empathize with characters experiencing anxiety while in the second case they might be very harsh on them or consider them too weak

The various reasons why other characters may not help characters with anxiety such as:

  • Feeling that the anxious character is seeking attention
  • Considering them week
  • Holding an idea of helping them by being harsh on them
  • Talking them down for being different
  • Not having sufficient knowledge about mental disorders and mental health

Experience of a panic attack

Most characters with anxiety experience panic attacks which involve self-harm, violence, hyperventilation, difficulty concentrating, and a sense of loss and impending doom. 

While writing a character with anxiety individuals can make a mention some of these symptoms in combination as not all characters with anxiety might experience all the symptoms together. In another scenario, some characters with anxiety might not experience panic attacks due to the lack of buildup of high levels of stress.

Lack of self-consciousness

When writing a character with anxiety it is important to throw some light on the character’s self-consciousness. Some characters with anxiety lack a sense of self-consciousness and feel that they are being judged and humiliated by others which might be very overwhelming for them. In some cases, characters with anxiety might also lack a sense of self-consciousness due to a lack of confidence.

Which are some fictional characters with anxiety?

Some fictional characters with anxiety are:

  • Tony Stark from Iron Man
  • Fear from Inside out
  • Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Monica Geller from Friends
  • Elsa from Frozen
  • Harry Potter from Harry Potter and the prisoners of Azkaban
  • Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock
  • Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter
  • Sam Winchester from Supernatural

What is Anxiety?

Problems and resulting stress are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called  Anxiety. 

Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety. 

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:

 

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

What are the causes of anxiety?

Anxiety often results from accumulated stress or overwhelming feelings. Some common causes of anxiety include.

  • Increased and challenging situations and demands in day-to-day life.
  • Major changes in family dynamics such as marriage, divorce, death of a loved one.
  • Strain interpersonal relationships
  • Intrapersonal conflicts
  • Ineffective coping mechanisms
  • Comorbid conditions both physical and mental
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Genetic factors
  • Changes in the brain region
  • Overdose of caffeine
  • Prolonged use of medications
  • Significant traumatic experiences in the past or recent times
  • Comorbid mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder or any other phobias.

What are some ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques

 

Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.

Socialization

 

A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy

 

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

Medication

Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time

Conclusion

 

Writing a character with anxiety requires individuals to highlight the major challenges that they experience in the form of psychological and physical symptoms typical of anxiety.

Frequently asked questions:

What personality type gets anxiety?

According to research, certain personality traits are more vulnerable to anxiety than others for instance individuals or children who are perfectionists lack self-esteem or want a sense of control over everything leading to a sense of anxiety as adults or as adults.

What Is writing anxiety?

Writing anxiety refers to a sense of fear and anxiousness that individuals experience even when they try to write. They might complain of difficulty in breathing, trembling, and increased heart rate.

What words describe anxiety?

Some words that describe anxiety are:

  • Apprehension
  • Concern
  • Doubt
  • Dread
  • Misery
  • Angst
  • Jitters

What triggers anxiety?

Anxiety is usually triggered by stacking up small stressful situations in one’s environment or personal life such as the loss of a loved one, difficult relationships, or stress at college or work.

Citation

https://www.jessicaturnbull.com/blog/2019/4/21/writing-characters-with-anxiety

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