For as long as I can remember, I've had more anxiety than the average person. It drives my husband and children insane. It wreaks havoc on both my mind and body (at times I'm convinced an alien has taken residence in my gut). On a daily basis, it relentlessly wraps its slippery tentacles around my brain, prodding me to constantly worry about nearly anything and everything in my life and the lives of those I love. I truly hate it, and would give anything to make it go away. I've tried meds, but I can't deal with the strange sensation that comes with them. I've researched other ways to cope, and have tried nearly everything. The only methods to effectively take the edge off are only temporary (soaks in a spa tub, visits to the beach thousands of miles away, and attending a Foo Fighters concert).
The past 3 weeks, my anxiety has been through the roof. A constant fear weighs on my shoulders, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even smile. I'm agitated and restless. I check Amazon at least twenty times every day. Wanna know why? Over sixteen thousand readers have downloaded my new book in 3 weeks. That's a lot of random people with random opinions on what they believe is good or bad. With every review that rolls in, my stomach plummets. I keep waiting for the proverbial ball to drop, waiting for someone of importance to say the words I put my heart and sole into are ridiculous, waiting for someone to tell me I shouldn't call myself an author.
Too often, especially when it comes to marketing, it feels like I'm literally throwing shit against a wall to see if it will stick. I have an excellent editor and beta readers who give productive feedback, but I don't have an agent or a manager guiding me. I've hired multiple experts and attended dozens of conventions and webinars, but I'm basically in this career all on my own. And it's incredibly stressful. There are days I dream of running away and finding some quiet, mindless job by the ocean (maybe renting out beach chairs to tourists?), and leaving this career behind. But the stories keep coming to me, begging to be told, so I guess I'll keep writing them for now...even if some people don't take my work seriously.
If you're still reading this random post, please do me a huge favor. Don't ever tell me or anyone with anxiety, "don't worry." I only wish it were that easy.
If you also struggle with anxiety/mental health issues, check out these helpful tips from Mental Health First Aid on how to make it through the holiday season!