So I just finished writing my New Year’s Eve book which got me thinking – as a lot of my books do at times. The story itself is a sort of light, easy book. But, for me, there has never been anything light or easy about New Year’s Eve. For me, I generally find this particular holiday sad. Hard. And a time of a lot of reflection. On the past year. The accomplishments. The disappointments. The soaring highs and crashing lows.
And, well, this year has been hard. This year has been harder than I even like admitting. As someone who has always been rather free with sharing their struggles, I feel that is really saying something.
I do blame a fair amount of this on having too high of expectations for the year, for my career, for my life as a whole. And when you let yourself get that high, the fall is far and the damage is generally pretty great.
See, when two of my biggest gambles (“Don’t Come” and “Fix It Up”) didn’t do well, I did what any workaholic, stubborn ass person does – I doubled down. I decided to work harder, crush out more work. That was what I did this summer. I wrote “The Mallicks,” “The Fall of V,” “Adler,” and “The Messenger” in about 3.5 months. So focused on the end goal, everything else fell away. Most especially health. As a whole, but more so mental. My fellow sufferers of mental disorders know that burying the core issue underneath other things is just creating a much larger problem that will surface eventually.
And it did.
And everything fell apart. I fell apart. My world crashed down around me. I had fallouts with friends. I had a fallout with my Mother – and you guys know how close we have always been – so an issue there definitely pointed to a much larger issue in our universe, in her, in me. My depression made my brain slow, soppy. And a slow, soppy brain makes writing hard. And when writing is hard – especially for a workaholic – anxiety starts running rampant, sure EVERYTHING will fall apart if the words don’t come. The anxiety got strong enough that the agoraphobia started to take root in soil that hadn’t been fertile for it in over a year. I can feel the chokehold around my throat when I get in my car and had to drive somewhere, have to fight through the panic, force myself to keep driving, to make it to the destination even if I only last a few minutes there, knowing the only way over agoraphobia is through it.
It’s been a war. And going into a battle with yourself when you are dealing with depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia is like facing a tank with a butter knife.
My vacation helped. It gave me some space, some clarity. But was only a band-aid on a gaping wound. Eyeing the upcoming new year, I know I need to make consistent life changes to allow myself to decompress, take a step back, live my life a little bit. I need to stop beating myself up when I go to the proverbial “tap” of creativity and there is just a pathetic trickle – or nothing at all. I need to get out of my house more than two or three times a month. I need to break past that self-built wall of my “safe zone,” drive places that make my uncomfortable, go places that scare me. I need to remember that my path to success is not going to be the same as someone else’s, that maybe my path has been a slow, steep, hard incline for a reason. I need to make time for physical health, get rid of the rest of this weight that came from a year and a half of stress eating. I need to make time to read, to spend as much time with my fur and feather babies as I want without feeling ‘guilty’ for not working. I need to take the trips I keep promising myself I will take, but never do. Even if I do them alone. Maybe ESPECIALLY if I do them alone, no friend or family member to stand in like a human security blanket. I need to remember not, as the saying goes, to get so busy making a living that I forget to make a life.
That being said, I still want to make 2019 my bitch lol. I want to write a ton of these badass stories I have circling around in my head – some you guys know about, some that are top secret. I plan to take classes to develop stronger writing skills. I am going to figure out the marketing secret that will allow me to reach new readers. I am not going to build myself up too high like I did around New Year’s last year, but I still plan to kick ass, put out strong and consistent work, and make strides to getting myself more seen by a larger audience.