Anxiety and Middle Grade Horror, a guest post by Lora Senf

I have anxiety. The kind you see a doctor and take medication for.

Not so long ago, I’d said that aloud to very few people, not because I’m embarrassed about it, but because I didn’t want it to define me. Moments I was weak, or failed, I didn’t want a ready-made excuse—an “Oh, she has anxiety” get-out-of-jail-free card—nor the patronizing comments I knew were just waiting to come out of some well-meaning mouths.

Today, I have no problem revealing my struggles with anxiety to the world. I suppose in part my newly-found comfort comes from knowing how very not alone. I am as more and more people share their own experiences with mental health issues. I also came to admit just how exhausting it is, pretending to be a version of myself that doesn’t exist (I’m frankly not sure who I thought I was serving or protecting by doing so. Myself? Friends or loved ones or colleagues All of the above is probably the correct answer). And somewhere along the way, I decided of all the things I’ve done that should come with an apology, having anxiety just isn’t among them. Lastly, I had an epiphany that anxiety is just a piece of me and doesn’t define me any more than any other singular aspect of my whole self.