It’s no secret to anyone who was around that 2019 was a hard year for me. I dealt with a several month-long string of “bad luck” that was a drain on time, resources, and mental health. And when life is hard – for anyone – work gets harder. I think it is amplified when your job requires so much from you creatively, takes its own sort of emotional toll every single time you sit down to do it. And when work isn’t going great – especially because I have so many people depending on you financially – then your mental health issues plummet even further.
Guys, I was a wreck all of 2019. Sometimes, I shared it. Other times, I hid it really well. But when I look back on it, I can’t really cherry-pick even a handful of moments when I wasn’t on the verge of tears. I was just stuck in a “spiral,” as I like to call it when my mental health starts going downward.
Now, being VERY Type A, I wanted to power through it. I wanted to keep up a break-neck pace. I wanted to prove that none of this was going to break me. Even if I was held together with Elmer’s glue and scotch tape at times.
But I had a sort of clear moment sometime in the latter part of 2019. I knew I was making myself ill. I knew I was taking on too much, was expecting too much. So I did something that terrified me.
I did a Hard Reset.
I pressed that power button until everything went down.
And the machine got a chance to recover.
A Hard Reset will look different for everyone.
For me, it was taking time off work.
I took off six weeks at the end of November and all of December.
It was terrifying.
I write because I love it. I write 12 books (or more) a year because, financially, that is what I need to do. So the idea of ending a year with only 10 books written was scary. That December check was going to come to me in February and I knew it was not going to be a good one. I stressed myself for days over the decision because bills simply don’t give an eff if you were having a bad mental health year, and needed some time off; they still want to be paid.
To be honest, my stomach was still in ulcers about the decision until this week. That check is going to be coming soon, and I need it to stretch. BUT thankfully, the universe was smiling when I got my taxes done this week, and I found out I way overpaid my estimated taxes last year. I don’t know what you think about life, god, the universe, but sometimes, I get glimpses of things that give me hope. And taking time off for my mental health while KNOWING it would be bad for my bank account, then getting the promise of a check coming soon out of the blue (because I ALWAYS owe at tax time, I NEVER get a return) that will fix it all, yeah, that was some “universe is smiling on you” shizz, dolls.
Now, what was the Hard Reset like?
Honestly, stressful lol. But it was the holidays. The holidays are stressful. Even through all of the cooking and cleaning and baking and shopping and wrapping and hosting of family members, seeming to have very little time to breathe, something had changed.
Maybe it was the time with family.
Maybe it was the meditation.
Maybe it was simply stepping away. No phone. No laptop. No pressure.
Whatever it was, I am thankful for it. Because when I hit that button again and powered back up to work, things came easily. Dare I even say it – effortlessly. Ferryn’s book didn’t give me the crippling anxiety I expected because everyone had such high expectations of it. I just let it come. “Lock You Down” was the most seamless writing experience of mine in years. I enjoyed every minute of it. I finished on schedule with both. I have had days off after each project.
And guess what?
My mental health is the best it’s been since, I’d say, I moved up here away from my hometown (that is another story from another blog post). I still have anxiety. There is no “off button” for it. But it is manageable. I am not in tears every single day. I am not letting every little “bad luck” thing wreck my day or week. I am motivated again. To work. To figure out better marketing techniques so I can maybe not have to work so hard forever. I am reading and spending time with family and pets. I am getting some decent nights of sleep.
A Hard Reset can be scary. Just like when you do it to your computer when you were in the middle of some project or another. You worry about what you might lose, what you might screw up, what might be catastrophic to the system as a whole.
But, sometimes, you get what you needed all along.
You get the glitches to go away.
You get a machine that works right.
So if you are struggling with your own decision to do some sort of Hard Reset in your life (quitting a job, going back to school, leaving a bad relationship, starting a passion project, ending a passion project because you don’t have that passion anymore), do it. It might be the best thing you have done for yourself in a long time.