So, I thought it might be helpful for you to discover see how some of these dread descriptions might relate to you.
Since an excerpt is one and a half pages out of the 167 page book, I believe I can honor copyright laws and share the Dread pages here.
The authors, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, are writers, not members of the mental health profession. So these descriptions are from their perspective in terms of portraying a character who feels dread.
Definition: a nearly overpowering fear to face or meet; a strong desire to avoid a future event or circumstance.
- holding the stomach as if pained
- clutching arms to one's chest
- shoulders curling forward, caving the chest in
- a bent neck
- leaning back or away from the source of discomfort
- dragging footsteps
- making excuses to leave
- a quiet voice, offering one-word response
- hunched posture and drooping head
- clasping one's knees tightly together
- avoiding eye contact
- turning the torso, shielding it
- lifting the shoulders as if to hide one's neck
- rocking slightly
- hands that tremble
- seeking the safety of darkness, an exist, etc.
- holding one's elbows tightly aginst sides
- a downward gaze, using the hair as a shield
- making oneself appear smaller
- huddling in the corner, behind, or against something
- flinching or cringing
- heavy footsteps
- uncontrollable whispering
- increased swallowing
- arms crossing the stomach in a protective huddle
- rubbing and twisting one's hands, spinning rings or braelets
- scratching at the skin, picking or biting at nails
- clutching comfort items (a necklace, charm, phone, etc.)
- dragging the palms down one's pant legs
- chewing at one's lips or inner cheek and making them bleed
- a pale or sickly complexion
a rolling stomach
- heavy or slugginsh heartbeat
- cold fingers
- tingling in the chest
- a weighted chest
- difficulty breathing
- a sour taste in the mouth
- ache in the back of the throad
- difficulty swallowing
- shakiness in the limbs
- thoughts of escape
- wanting to hide
- wishing time woud speed up
- an inablity to see a positive outcome
- the need to check for danger overriding the need to hide
Cues of Acute or Long-Term Dread:
- shaking, shuddering
- jumping at sounds
- teeth chattering
- seeking any excuse to avoid what is to come
- bargaining, pleading
- anxiety attack
- may escalate to Anguish (24), Terror (154)
Clues of Suppressed Dread:
- acting like one is simply feelng under the weather
- attempting to escape via distraction (TV, book, music)
- Focusing thoughts to keep fear from taking over
- Keeping still
Does this list help you bring your attention to your own physical and mental states
when you are feeling dread? Does this list help stimulate your thinking and make you
more aware of your feelings?
Remember, please, that this list was created by writers for writers. Still, in trying to make a
fictional character seem realistic when feeling dread, the authors may have created a list that
helps you be more realistic about your own real and lived experience.
Let me know what this list raises up for you, including nothing if that's the way it is. :)
Follow up article on Gurze blog: " Exploring the feeling and power of dread"
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are members of the SCBWI, The Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators.
Visit their award winning online resource if you want to get support for your own writing projects. And thank you, Angela and Becca for your permission to post the Dread excerpt from your book.
See next article on Gurze blog: "Exploring the feeling and power of dread"