Creating Characters With Anxiety


Thinking these things through can help develop characters with anxiety without having them be stereotypical anxious people.

Is their anxiety genetically inherited?
>Which other family members have anxiety?
>Are the severities about the same in all of the family members?
>Are the triggers the same?
>What coping methods has your character learned from their family?

Does your character just have an anxious personality? (As in, would your character still be anxious if they were raised in a completely different environment?
>Is it severe enough to require medical intervention?
>Is it just enough to be a bit overly-cautious?

Is your character’s anxiety the result of traumatic event?
>Summarize the event.
>Is your character getting help because of the event?

What triggers your character’s anxiety?
>List all events, people, and situations that are guaranteed to trigger your character’s anxiety.
>Why do these things make your character anxious?
>>Does your character know why they are triggered by these things?

How severe is the anxiety when it comes around?
>Would it just be considered nervousness?
>>How long does this last?
>>Does it ever progress past this?
>>Is this continual?
>>Is it a strong enough nervousness to trigger a fight-or-flight response?
>Does it cause anxiety attacks? Panic attacks? Links to the difference between the two here and here.
>Does it cause your character to withdraw from events due to fear?

At what age did your character’s anxiety symptoms became noticeable?

What is the most effective coping method your character has found?
>When did they discover this? (Your character may not know this when your story starts, they may find it at a later point.)
>Is this something that can be done anywhere or in any situation, or are there times when your character cannot do this?

What is the worst coping method your character has found?
>Where did your character learn this method?
>Why is it the worst?
>>Is it ineffective?
>>Does it exacerbate the problem?
>>Does it harm your character?

Are there any symptoms of anxiety your character rarely experiences?

Is your character able to recognize that their reactions are illogical, even if they cannot stop them?