It’s not a cliff.

The fall is not so sudden.

It’s a Wood.

A copse of tangled trees so thick there is no sky. A dark, forbidding wood you wander into without knowing. See, it’s hidden within the normal trees, the safe trees, the rational trees.

The Wood of Irrational Fear looks no different than an innocent forest, where innocent worries run free and chatter with the squirrels.

Most people never stumble into the Wood.

Others are tied there.

I’m somewhere in between.

The Wood, it seems, is my true north. My panic-pocked mind drifts there naturally… although, my heart yearns for the sea.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

Post-Note: This is chronic panic disorder. This is anxiety. This is my every day.

Acclaimed author of 17 novels (my dogs and mother adore me), World traveler (I’ve felt the Sahara Desert between my toes… still gobsmacked over the stars in the Sahara) And survivor (of three dirty-fighting gremlins named Anxiety, Panic and OCD)… My name is Chloe Stowe. Hello. If you’ve found your way here, you’ve most likely arrived on the coattails of my blog, The Words and Madness of Chloe Stowe. Started in 2012, my daily rantings now number in the thousands. Ranging from humorous to moody, poignant to absurd, these tiny tidbits of thought began as a way to get my name “out there.” It has long since morphed into an effort just to “be there” for anybody out there struggling with words or madness, like me. Quick biographical sketch of me? Nerd turned nut at nineteen. In my sophomore year at Auburn University, I was taken out at the knees by severe panic attacks. Chronic anxiety soon joined the dogpile, followed shortly by OCD tendencies. Oh, it was ugly. I eventually had to quit school and soon quit life, as well. I spent a good chunk of my 20’s not able to leave my room. Twenty years later, it’s still can get ugly in my head. Thanks to meds and doctors, however, I am able to lead a better life, now. I still can’t work outside the house, but I can live and smile and write. So, here I am. Broken, but stubbornly present. I hope my voice proves company to someone lonely out there. Thanks for reading! Chloe Stowe

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