“It’s the only way I have learned to express myself, through other people’s descriptions of life” – Motion City Soundtrack
I can’t speak for everyone, but my life is kind of a constant attempt to “keep an even keel”, and I think it almost always has been. I have more coping mechanisms than I can even think of. For truly desperate times, there’s the old lie in bed, stare at the ceiling, and listen to music for several (hundred) hours. For more minor things, it’s little tricks like posting lists and gratuitously crossing things off that I’ve accomplished, putting down my work when I get too stressed, listening to the music of my early teens (MCR ROX!!!1) and eating all the cookies. One of my favourites is a line I picked up from my best friend: “It’ll get done”. And it does, it always does.
I have tons, but picking just one is easy. It’s writing, and it always has been. When I was 9 and I was first learning what anxiety felt like, I was co-writing my sister’s Harry Potter fanfiction (a comedy, script-style romance with plenty of author appearances). As I got older, I started writing my own self-insertion fanfiction, often co-writing with friends, and still hysterically funny to read today (although that might just be for me). A little older, and I started writing love stories, and started writing in paragraphs.
Now, I estimate that I’ve written upwards of 400,000 words of fiction in the past 6 years (so as much as 5 novels’ worth), and no one has read a word of it. It’s not that I don’t value feedback, or that I don’t ever want to be published. It’s that if I’m writing for anyone but myself, it doesn’t work as well to even the keel. I need to be able to tell it like it is in my head without censoring myself for what anyone else might think. I value that freedom enough to go into a completely unrelated field of study. I’m a writer, not by trade, but by nature.