My blog has gone from something that shares factoids and behind-the-scenes about my writing and books, to a chronicling of my personal journey as a human and writer. So many people understand what it feels like to have lost your way in life, wondering where your gut instinct went, and if all these bad things happening to you are really good things in disguise. We all seek joy and happiness, yet we all struggle to experience them. Sure, nothing is permanent, not even a good mood or bad, but damn. Happiness seems too fleeting sometimes.
So, one year later, three books published, two short stories, and a trio of fanfics are out there in the world. Am I a famous author yet? Ha. I’ve worked with three different publishers, cancelled my contract with two, and found a kindred spirit in the third, a person who understands the need to devote one’s life to writing, and shares this inability to give up. I’ve learned a lot about writing and book marketing, and I’m still trying hard to place my books before my intended audience. This fall should be interesting, promising. My publisher has invested a ton of time and lots of money in all our books, including a table at a convention where potentially thousands of fellow nerds will stumble upon our stories and hopefully fall in love with them.
So much hope, so much fear of failing. Ah, the perks of being human.
Anyway, I’ve gone from working for my family in a mechanical engineering environment in New England, to living as a full-time writer in Arizona, living with a friend I made while playing WoW. Yep, you read that right. People are often skeptical about how well you can get to know a person online. In all honesty, I don’t think it’s any different than making friends face to face. There are a mix of pretenders and genuine souls no matter where you look. People don’t need the safety of hiding behind a computer to lie about who they are. I got to know Simon for over four years before he offered a place in his house so I could focus on my writing. Our relationship is plutonic, we share our space with my two cats and his Springer Spaniel, and we’re on month four of comfortably living together. Granted I have the house to myself from 4:30AM to about 6PM 5-6 days a week, but it works. I write in peace, keep the house clean, everyone fed, bills managed, laundry done, and he gets to work, eat, sleep, play video games and watch TV. He likes cooking more than I do, so he often makes meals for us. And I bake often, but not too much to make our waistlines expand. Nom, cinnamon buns from scratch, nom.
All that aside, my internal journey has been anything but pleasant. I struggle with depression–have for years–and I’m my own worst enemy. My mind is often a prison, its own torture chamber, as I persuade myself that I’m nothing but a failure, that I’ve wasted my entire life, and that I’m never going to succeed. I’ve battled mental demons telling me there’s no point in staying alive, day in and day out, month in and month out. And while these battles raged, I’ve existed, instead of lived.
Thing is, it isn’t in my nature to give up. In my heart of hearts I know it isn’t my time to go. So why, when I know deep down, that these mental demons aren’t worth listening, do I keep allowing them to trap me in this self-made hell? I’ve had to concede that maybe clinical depression needs to be treated like heart disease, bipolar disorder, and such. It’s something that’s with you for life and needs constant managing. I’ve taken anti-depressants on and off since age eighteen, determined to use them as a catalyst, a treatment of the symptoms and not the problems. Yet, every time I’ve gone off them, I slowly sink back to the person I don’t want to be. My body seems unable to produce the correct chemical balance on its own. It’s almost like an addiction to sadness.
So yeah, I sucked it up and went back to a doctor. I hate pill popping, It makes me feel like this weakling who can’t handle problems on her own but, to be honest, I hate more how I feel in the throes of depression. So swallowing my pride and accepting some help from stuff in an orange bottle it is. It’s been a few weeks and I’ve already noticed that that little black cloud has stopped parking itself over my head every waking moment. I feel less compelled to avoid humanity, my moods are much more level, and my roomie enjoys my company more.
Now it’s just a matter of taking pride in who I am and where I’m going, and building confidence. Rewriting that inner monologue so it fuels my need to succeed, instead of defeating myself before I even try. I’m scared but I’m doing stuff. Maybe the fear will never go away, like my depression issue, but at least I’m finding the courage to keep trying, to learn how to enjoy my life’s journey, instead of fixating on the destination and how I’m not there yet.
Here’s to hope and fortitude. (All the pictures are from while hiking Mt. Graham and driving to it)