Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Audio for Anxiety - IWSG April 2022


Welcome to IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to all IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to April co-hosts: Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise - Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi!

Optional question: Have any of your books been made into audio books? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

I can't answer the question, but I can speak about audio books.

While I'm fine driving locally, I’ve never been the most comfortable highway driver. For that reason, I was most often a passenger while my late husband and I listened to books when we took road trips and invariably my mind would drift. Before I knew it I’d wake up having missed Lord knows how much. But these days, I am the driver and audio books have begun to save me. 

During my husband’s illness--I supposed as a way to pretend we had some control--we kept our lives as normal as possible. We didn’t share what we were going through with others and few people knew he was sick. Unfortunately for me, bottled-up stress manifested itself in a panic attack that occurred long before he died, on a day I was driving alone on the highway. Imagine unexpected dizziness, clammy hands and paralyzing fear of fainting while traveling 65 MPH down a four-lane highway. After the first awful one, they became self-induced. What if I have a panic attack? I’d think anytime I was alone on the highway. Too often, the thought triggered the symptoms. 

Now, as I recreate my life, letting this issue rule me could mean never leaving my area, which is not acceptable. At first, I pondered taking a driving course, but Covid (or more likely fear) dissuaded me. I utilized alternate means of transportation or found back-road options to get where I needed to go, until an invitation to my sister’s surprise birthday party arrived last fall. Getting there meant all highway driving. Neither public transportation nor the word “no” were an option. Enter Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on audio. It's a story I know so well, if I missed a line it wouldn't matter but one I love enough it could divert my thoughts from that damaging and self-fulfilling, What if?

Ever a hero, once again Harry saved the day. With the book keeping me company, I made it to the party and home without issue. Even better, the trip helped me see it's in my power to drive where I need to. I'm not all the way there yet, but thanks to Harry, I’ve taken a few trips, sometimes with an audio book and notably last weekend because I forgot to download one, my longest trip without.

So, while I have not had an opportunity to turn a book into an audio book, audio books have offered a turning point for me.

What has your experience been with audio books? What type of methods would you suggest to calm a reluctant highway driver?



24 comments:

  1. Sorry anxiety got to you but glad that trip and Harry Potter turned it around. Now you know - you can do it!

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  2. Your positive experiences where listening to audiobooks helped to calm you, may still translate into future interaction where you get to be a part of audiobook production. You never know. Happy IWSG Day!

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  3. Good for you, Liza! I have enough trouble concentrating on podcasts let alone audio books, but I'm open to trying them at some point.

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  4. I'm so sorry this has happened to you, Liza. My condolences for the loss of your husband. I imagine your whole has changed. I'm glad you've found comfort in audiobooks.

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  5. I like audio books and used to listen to them when I walked outside and drove more. I don't love to drive either, and my husband used to do the driving. But like you, as I recreate my life, I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm hoping to take a road trip in two weeks to visit my cousins who will be in from Boston. I'm so glad to hear you're figuring out your panic attacks.

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  6. Yay for Harry! Thank you so much for sharing. Dealing with anxiety can be so difficult, two of my children occasionally suffer from panic attacks. So sorry for your incredible loss, but glad to hear you are finding ways to recreate your life.

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  7. Wow! What an inspiring story. You are a Road Warrior. So sorry though for all you went through. And I remember how keeping things to myself was not good for me. You also are - a survivor!

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  8. That's really nice to hear how audiobooks helped you get back out there. And I have faith that other drivers will be enjoying your stories in audio form some day!

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  9. My only experience with audiobooks has been while I'm driving. It's a great way to pass the time and as long as the reading is good and the story is interesting, listening to an audiobook helps to keep me awake while I drive.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  10. I like audio books best in the car, too. It is hard to take long drives without something to listen to.
    Way to go with your driving!

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  11. Long road trips is the only time I listen to audio books. They make a great distraction to bad thoughts or boredom. Books are just wonderful, aren't they? :)

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  12. I can only imagine and obviously not to the depth of your experience that level of fear popping up when driving. To be in a situation where you are unable to make effective or timely safe operating decisions, as you say, at 65 MPH. Huge Kudos to you for finding a way to work through that challenge.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  13. That's a great story, Liza. Thanks for sharing it.
    Audiobooks send me to sleep if I listen to them at home. I tried listening to them while driving, but found I wasn't concentrating enough on the road. It might be different on a long drive, (in fact it certainly used to be, as I'd have taped books when I drove thousands of miles for work each year).
    But now I 'steer' clear of them. It might change again.
    Hope all is well with you for now.
    Jemima

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  14. I'm glad audiobooks (and Harry first) saved the day. And in a way, a bit of your husband is there too-guiding you. I listened to some audio books when I had a long drive to work. That's gone since I retired. I did find I'd get more caught up in a book than if just listening to music and thus wonder how did I get from point A to point B safely...?
    Hope you have some more travels ahead, and also someday you are published and voiced...it can happen!

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  15. I don't listen to audiobooks that much but I am what they call a white knuckled driver and I don't even use the freeway! So, I have to have music or talk shows to listen to while driving and so that helps sooth me. I'm glad you found a solution to your driving anxiety that works out really well.

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  16. I love your story about listening to audiobooks while driving. It is calming. And, you can't get better company than JK Rowling, Harry Potter, and that amazing reader Jim Dale! If you like circus themes (but not too much about the ugly side of circuses) I recommend The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, read by Jim Dale. It's one of my favorites. Also, great driving companions are podcasts. This is Love is the best! Take care. I hope you're feeling better and conquering the anxiety. And, so sorry for your loss.
    Hugs.

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  17. I love audiobooks and that's a fact.

    Another fact is I'm pretty proud of how you handled yourself. Not easy being on your own. Not easy facing something so scary. I'm sure your stronger for it.

    Well, done.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  18. I'm so glad I stopped by and read this. Very inspiring that Harry Potter saved the day! A giant leap forward for you!

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  19. Bravo, Liza, for getting beyond your anxiety. You are better than me. I've got to tackle my highway driving anxiety. Even though I know the Potter series, I would be too anxious that I wouldn't pay attention to the road or where I was going. Like I said. More power to you, my dear!

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  20. Kudos to you for taking control of your life and panic attacks. I have a few audiobooks, but I prefer to read with my eyes instead of my ears. Or listen to music when I'm working instead of listening to a book. However, should the time arrive and my eyes fail, I'll be all over audiobooks in a heartbeat.

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  21. I'm so sorry for the loss of your husband and all you've had to go through. Panic attacks can be frightening. I speak from experience, though thankfully never while driving down a highway. I applaud your courage in finding a way to get out there and drive again. I'm glad audiobooks helped you.

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  22. I have PTSD related to several car accidents in which I was a passenger, so I can definitely empathize. It's wonderful that audiobooks help and gave you that turning point!

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  23. I'm also nervous in the car - as driver or passenger. I've started hypnotherapy for that and a couple of other fears that limit my enjoyment in life (since you ask - bears and sharks). I will say so far it is helping. Lots of the stuff I knew already because I'm a psychotherapist - but knowing it isn't half the problem solved. I might think something will fix someone else but hey - I'm special - so it has been a learning curve. The thing is that fears are like noses and ear hair - not improved with age - so I'm determined to deal with it.
    Hope you are doing well, dear woman. I just got back from Cuba which is why I missed posting and now I'm settling in to see if I'll be able to launch in the flesh or on the screen. We have a lot of sick people hereabouts.

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