So this article is about anxiety. In a word? It sucks! But there is so much more to this suckfest....
When I write, I try to explore background themes in the everyday life of my characters. If my characters aren't three-dimensional, I'm bored. Plus, I don't want to just throw a 'boy meets girl' story out there. We all wrestle with something, so I like to explore different aspects of being human. In Awaken My Heart: Ren & Galen's story, Ren uses addictions as coping mechanisms for her crapfest of a childhood. Galen struggles with guilt from his past and the weight of feeling like he has to act as his family's surrogate father. I loved them, but I wrote their issues from a distance, researched the topics. But there traumas are not my life.
Corinne though? She hits close to home with her anxiety and empath tendencies. While I can be thankful my anxiety isn't as bad as hers, it's so there, and writing her was a challenge to dive deeper into accepting it and finding new ways to deal with it.
When I think about anxiety, the CROC shoe stores that aren't around anymore come to mind. Row after row of different styles, colors, patterns ... yet one look at the racks and one word comes to mind: CROCs. The selection is just like anxiety ... different--and sometimes colorful varieties of the same thing.
Anxiety is fear of something that isn't happening in the moment. And whether you're born with a genetic tendency to fear everything that might happen or if it's become an unproductive 'coping skill' thanks to trauma, it can be damn hard to shake it. And those people who tell you to simply 'stop' are of no help whatsoever. It's a physiological reactio, not a decision to shrink back or wind up hyperventilating. It doesn't help that people experience it differently, either. Sure there are ways of coping with it, lessening it over time. But again ... what works for some might not be effective for others. We anxious people are regular 'ol unicorns!
Corinne's anxiety is partly genetic. One of her aunts is agarophobic, the other ... Dax and Laura's dead biological mother ... made desperate, bad choices while trying to take the edge off. Corinne is also an empath, which means she's extra sensitive to the moods, emotions of others ... which can be just wonderful when it's hard to control your own. Being bullied through many of her school years, likely thanks to her anxious ways, didn't help, either.
If you've read Jigsaw Hearts (not necessary to enjoy Glass Hearts ... but I'm sure you'll love it!) Corinne is a secondary character and her anxiety was in full swing after the death of her less-than-noble fiance. In Glass Hearts, she is determined to rise from her ashes, knock her anxiety on its ass and live life bigger and bolder. Only, in real life, change is often a process of one step forward, two steps back. That's what it's like for Corinne, too. I wanted her journey to better mental health to be realistic. In fact, she might never be free of anxiety completely, but writing her transformation did have me researching and finding some information that was new to me:
** Note: My rec on Felicia Day's book has nothing to do with getting any sort of commission. I'm legit recommending it on my own. It's a fun read, too.