Today's song: Take A Break because Hamilton.
Dang, guys, I really meant to upload another blog post sooner. I've had a lot on my mind, and I've been wanting to talk about some different topics too.
Since, I've finished writing my novel Secrets in Ashes, (which I talk about here if you're interested), I ended up plunging straight into the sequel because I was stressed in a lot of different areas of my life and decide, "Oh, uh, yeah, I'm not gonna deal with my problems."
And, very quickly, I realized, that it wasn't working.
Gee, I wonder why.
I have a really bad habit of coping with my anxiety by overwhelming myself with things I need to do.
See, I realized it was a problem when I had a major anxiety attack about getting a literary agent. My big dream is to be published by one of the Big Five. Specifically, HarperCollins. It's a really ambitious dream, I know. But, then, I realized how hard it is to get a literary agent (for an easy explanation, they're your "book lawyer" and they basically negotiate more money for you both and make sure you don't get screwed over by a greedy publisher) and freaked out.
So, I realized I need to take a break.
From writing, specifically. From being overly-critical of my work. From obsessing over every little detail. From the stress.
So, I printed out some hard copies of my manuscript. I gave to some people who supported me along the way, and I still have a few more to give out. I've already heard back from one of my dear friends who's heard about most versions of the draft and has a ton of questions about the current one, because it's so different. I let myself enjoy it. I told myself that I will not work on this story. But, instead, I'll brainstorm.
And my word. It's changed so much. Well, I haven't had a ton of time to just sit and brainstorm, because it is finals week for my summer classes (Econ and Ethics, yay) and I'm studying. But, it took a layer of stress of that I didn't realize I was carrying.
I gave myself permission to take a break.
I gave myself permission to take care of myself.
I gave myself permission.
I didn't even realize I needed to give myself permission. And, when I finally gave up, was too tired from not sleeping, was too overwhelmed and anxious to really function in anything other than autopilot, I looked myself in the mirror and said, "This has to stop."
Mental health issues aren't always easy, I know, but it starts with you giving yourself permission to do the things you need to do.
Last Friday was a really difficult day for me. It was a really really bad day. I call them "bad brain days" which is just an easy way to explain that I'm not at my best, and that my emotions are tightly wound and my focus is shot. I couldn't function. I literally went out that morning to meet with someone, came home and laid down in my bed with the lights off the rest of the day. I did leave the window open so I could get some natural sunlight. I listened to music and I think at one point, I did watch some Netflix. But, majority of the day, I just let myself exist. I gave myself permission to have a bad day. And then, the next day? I was myself again, except ten times better.
Sometimes, it takes recognizing what's wrong and how to address it. I had to admit to myself that it wasn't a good day, and I had to be okay with that because I'd learned something that day that was overwhelming for me.
And, I'm trying to make plans for the future, especially with my blood clotting disorder and my dad having lost his job back in May/June. It's been a long few months. I'll know for certain what my blood clotting disorder is on August 17th. We have a theory, but we had to test it again because I have O+ blood type and apparently, O blood types tend to run low, numbers-wise. So, you'll hear from me either on the 17th about it, or at some point that week.
Honestly, it's super important to me that I have a break. I'd recommend that you ask yourself the following this week:
1) What am I struggling with right now?
2) How do other people solve this problem? Do any of these methods work for me?
3) What do I need to do for myself today? Or, if that seems to overwhelming, what do I need to do for myself right now?
I've been using these questions a lot to help my own mental health. It's worked wonders, let me tell you. Especially thinking about how other people solve their problems. The biggest thing I've realized, that I often see people with anxiety and depression say, is they decided that they were done letting it rule their life.
I realized I was doing the same thing.
Anxiety, fear, loneliness, and depression were all controlling me, and who I was as a person. They're still things I struggle with, and I think they always will be, but I realized I couldn't do it anymore.
I decided I need to take control over my life again.
I confided in the people closest to me -- the ones I had convinced myself didn't care about me or my problems, and I didn't want to be a burden to -- and it changed things. Drastically.
Two people I'm closest to, told me: "Yeah, no one is going to come and help you. If you're stilling, you have to use every ounce of your strength to stand up on your own. I can be your cheerleader, and I can help you in the best ways I can, but I cannot use your legs and stand up for you."
I got really mad when I was told that. I was really upset. But then I realized it was true.
And it was like a switch had been flipped in my brain. No joke.
So, in a way, I'm extremely grateful for COVID because I think without the quarantine and my struggles to find a job, I wouldn't have had the time to sit, process, and realize that I needed to help myself.
But, I had given myself permission to take a break, back in like February, and to use this time to focus on myself. And wow, self-discovery is a really a cool thing.
So, all of the mommas who read my blog, all of my family, all of my friends, do one thing this week:
Give yourself permission to take a break.
It's long overdue.
The world is crazy right now, and we all need one. Even if it's just you taking five minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee.
The world will not end if you take five minutes for yourself, I promise. It will be waiting for you when you're done.
So, take a break.
Written: July 28th, 2020 at 1:15pm
Current Jam: Anything from Hamilton or by Charlie Puth
Current Read: Rereading The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Current Binge: In between shows, at the moment.