Today, I’m featuring Elle Kennedy on the blog, author of *looks on Goodreads* many, many, many books. But mostly I know her as the author of The Deal, which was pretty much the only New Adult book I really enjoyed, and you should probably check that out. It took me to Chuckle Town.
Anyway, I found out about Ms Kennedy’s anxiety when she posted on Facebook about having to cancel a conference because it was too overwhelming for her. This resulted in a lot of positive comments from fans, especially those who are going through a similar thing. You may feel like you’re alone in this, but there are so many others out there, and sharing creates a bond.
For now, though, we’re here to talk about Elle’s anxiety story, and I’m really grateful she agreed to this.
First of all, thank you so much for joining us. What type of anxiety do you have (general, social, …)? What’s it like and how do you deal with it?
I have a panic disorder (attacks that come without warning or triggers), and social anxiety disorder, which is triggered by social situations, like crowded events, public speaking, etc. It’s debilitating at times, and definitely something I wish I didn’t have to deal with, but I’ve found success with a combination of medication and therapy.
You recently opened up to your fans about having anxiety when you had to cancel on a conference on account of it being too overwhelming. How has your experience been talking about it?
I’ve always been fine talking about my anxiety. I find that if I tell people about it ahead of time, they’re usually very understanding. When I shared that post on my FB page, so many people came forward and admitted they suffer from the same issues. Their stories inspired me, and I think hearing that they weren’t alone in it inspired them as well.
What’s something you do that really calms you down when you’re feeling anxious or having a panic attack?
I just try to distract myself any way I can—watching TV, listening to music, calling a friend. Anything that will help me get out of my own head.
Do you read books on mental health (either fiction or non-fiction)? If yes, are there any books you would recommend?
When I first started getting panic attacks, I read a lot of books on the subject. I can’t remember any of the titles off the top of my head, but my favorite ones were those that featured workbooks/exercises. Writing down details about the attacks, triggers, etc, and really trying to understand when and why the symptoms were showing up.
Since you experience this stuff first-hand, would you ever consider writing a book featuring anxiety?
Non-fiction, no—I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject, and I don’t think I could do it justice. But one of my co-written romance books (Don’t Walk Away) did feature a heroine who had bouts of social anxiety.
Do you find it hard to stay positive?
During a panic attack, definitely. In general, I’m a pretty positive person, which is what makes dealing with anxiety all the more frustrating.
What’s the worst thing about anxiety, for you?
Feeling like I’m limited in some way, or that I’m not strong enough to face my fears head-on.
We’ve decided to host this event because we wanted to educate people on mental health in the hopes of shattering the stigma around it. How important is it for you that people talk about this sort of thing?
I think it’s very important for people to talk about it. Over the years, I’ve met so many people who have dealt with anxiety in one way or another, and a lot of them admitted to feeling ashamed of what they’re going through, or not confiding in people because they’re scared of being judged. I think the more people talk about it, the more insight and understanding will be gained.
Thank you so much!