Why I stopped writing my Memoir to Share my Anxiety Story

For most of 2016, I had no choice but to spend every waking hour adjusting to my new normal after losing most of my mobility due to complications with my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It was certainly nothing like what I had planned for the year and at first, I thought that life as I had known it was gone forever. In many ways I was right, it was gone forever, but it also opened the door to a part of me that I had always known was in there but never had the time, courage or circumstance to bring out. Hours upon hours every day in bed gave me the unique opportunity to start to write, and I soon found my voice and my space to tell my story.

A very long and complicated story that is going to take a while to take apart and put back together again into chunks that make great books which are easy for people to read and get something out of. After ten months of hard and often emotionally painful work, I had written enough for two full-length novels (which I hope will come out this year some time). But when I got to the part where I talked about the thread of anxiety and panic attacks that had run through a decade or more of my journey, I stopped there.

When I sit down to write every day I generally let my fingers and my soul tell the story for me and I look forward to seeing what comes out. I had got the anxiety bits out in a few days of hard writing but in the week or so that followed and I sat down to write each day, my soul and my fingers stayed on topic and never moved from it. They kept going back and back to the anxiety and panic, and I realized then that I was supposed to stop there for a reason. When you live in a story day to day, week, month and year to year, it is so easy to get lost in the bigger picture and to forget how hard we worked or how much we achieved.

I had battled hard with anxiety and it very nearly consumed me completely. As anxiety and panic attacks merged with some of the serious side effects of my as yet undiagnosed genetic condition, the cocktail of symptoms from both made it even harder to separate them. Serious issues were chalked up to anxiety and dismissed, while some of the scarier effects of the anxiety were wrongly treated as life or death situations. The whole mess created even more fear and confusion which of course only fed the anxiety.

My journey through so many failed attempts to solve my anxiety as well as my medical issues was a long and painful one which ultimately led me to break point, where I literally landed up on the floor of the church foyer across the road begging for help. Thankfully the poor stunned receptionist who had no idea what to do with me remembered that a trauma counselor was on call and phoned him immediately.

Next door to the church was a library and between the kind advice from the retired counselor and the medical books on the shelves, over the next four months, I began to put all the pieces of information together that I needed to turn this all around. And in the end, I eventually did. I won! I beat my anxiety permanently.

I realized two things as I was writing all this; that I don’t want everyone to have to buy my novels in order to get what may help them with their own anxiety, and that the anxiety thread is way too important to squash into a single chapter among dozens of other things. And so was born the idea of a short (less than an hour) book that tells the stripped down version of how I beat my anxiety and the tools needed to replicate it.

And so was born the idea of a short (less than an hour) book that tells the stripped down version of how I beat my anxiety and the tools needed to replicate my success. I am still going to tell all the other stories, but until then, The Lion and the Peacock – How I Conquered Anxiety, will be available on Amazon Kindle from the 8th of January 2017. You can sign up here to get an email as soon as it is out as well as when it will be out in paperback, and other exciting news:

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Who is Jennifer Peacock-Smith?

 

Author PicJennifer was born in South Africa in the late sixties, into the worlds of apartheid, feminism, and strict religion, to parents struggling to find their own place in the world and to make a difference. Lost in their battle to be different, better, “cleverer” than those before them or around them, and her mother’s fight to break moulds, little Jenny fell between the cracks. Born a girl instead of a boy, bubbly instead of serious, fun and talented instead of academic, everything about her was “wrong”.

Neglect doesn’t always look like dirty or starved or diseased or beaten. Neglect is chronic and often invisible. In a small bubble entirely cut off from the rest of the world, scrawny little Jenny’s voice, squashed by her parent’s need to find their own, is swiftly silenced, again and again. However, her shine refused to die and survived within her as a spark, a fighting spirit, and a sense of hope that defies logic.

It took her five decades, six countries, multiple diagnoses, and ultimately a physical and emotional collapse for little Jenny to successfully find her voice, to thrive, to get the medical and psychological care she needed, and to begin the journey to a place of sanity and peace. Her story is one of crushing loneliness and isolation, but more than that, it’s ultimately a story of resilience, hope, and redemption in ways that she could never have imagined.

Jennifer, a mentor, counsellor, artist, and now a successful author, writes for various blogs, The Mighty, and other public spaces on neglect, emotional abuse, anxiety, disability and chronic illness. You can find her on most social media platforms under @JPeaSmith (see below for direct links to all these places and more).

Jennifer is the author of “The Lion and the Peacock” and the first in her epic story “My Africa My Home – The Fault in the Family Memoir Book One”, which is available on eBook in your preferred Amazon country, including (but not limited to USAusUK, and Canada

From Jennifer:

Jennifer is my name, Peacock-Smith is my pen name as well as a very special family name (you’ll have to read the book to find out where it comes from but that’s not out as yet, it’s coming though!)

If you’d like to receive not just free, but exclusive updates, photos, and otherwise unpublished books, for free, then sign on for my “big news only” Newsletters (I promise I won’t spam you! I only send them when something important is happening) then click HERE.

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
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