It’s been a while since my last post. This is mostly due to a massive down period that I had recently, and how long it’s taken me to get over that.
For three weeks straight, the anxiety was kicking my ass. I woke up with my heart pounding, went to sleep with my heart pounding, felt exhausted in between. I cried most days, curled into a ball for the rest, and generally shut myself off from everyone and everything. If I did have to go outside, the world had faded to beige and I barely paid attention.
That’s the short version, anyway.
While I was in that state, I was in no frame of mind to write at all, which should tell you exactly how bad it was because writing is usually the only thing that gets me through. It was one of the worst down periods I’ve ever had, harking right back to the bad old days of the Big Event and my early, unmedicated and raw depression.
Right in the middle of all that, someone close to me had an episode and ended with being sectioned and I felt incredibly guilty for not being able to step in and help more. The fact is, I was kind of worried that if I got too close, I’d end up in the room next door. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to help, knowing that you’re one of the few people who might really understand, but knowing that getting too close would just drag you down as well.
But here we are, on the other side. I’m starting to feel better, more even, again. It’s been maybe a month since I could think clearly and it’s taken me that long to start feeling anything like the regular me.
While this was going on, I was contacted by a publisher that I’d submitted the Down Days ebook to. They said they liked the style of writing and thought that the material would be useful to people, but they wanted more. They wanted more about my childhood, naming names and places and in-depth details about what drove me to the first Big Event. I disagreed. For the constant readers who have read the ebook (it’s still free on the downloads page) and then the blog since, you’ll know that the point of the book wasn’t to tell you all about me, to whine about what had got me to that point. It was about sharing information, about expressing some feelings of camaraderie, to let people know that they weren’t alone. The publisher disagreed and said that if I was to write a memoir, they’d be interested. Frankly, I’m no Matt Haig. I understand that his work and his feel-good tweets help people. That can never be a bad thing. But I’m not him. The publishing world wants a personal story they can exploit for mutual pity and that sparkly feel-good factor. My experiences of Depression have been different. I don’t look back on my Down Days and feel lucky to be alive. I don’t think about it as a hurdle that I cleared, a mountaintop reached. I’m still living with it, every day. And a lot of people out there are, too. That’s what Down Days is about.
With all that in mind, I’ve made a decision. This will be my last Down days post. What started out as trying to share my experiences with those who don’t understand, to let people like me know that they’re not alone, that it’s ok to struggle and that maintenance is the key to living with Down Days, has turned into something more like a diary. I feel like I’m not helping anyone at all.
It lasted over a year. It’s still a body of work that I’ll probably look back on and be proud of at some point. But it’s over now. I hope to get back to focusing on my fiction (my author blog is over HERE if you want to come say hi). Hell, the sequel to The Adventures of Alan Shaw is up on Amazon right now, ready to pre-order. That’s got to be a good thing, right? And book three still needs writing. I have novellas to get published, poetry collections to complete, a comic book to write. What all that boils down to is me sticking to what I’m good at. I don’t think I’ve been good at this. Non-fiction, especially non-fiction that’s about me, just isn’t in my skill set. That’s ok. You can’t be good at everything. You can’t be all things to all people. I’d be happy to just be me, for me.
Lastly, a few thank yous. To everyone who read Down Days and followed the blog. To everyone who shared their stories, and supported each other in the comments. To every single mote of encouragement that people have given. For every Like and Share and Retweet. To everyone who continues to work on themselves and support others in times of crisis and need. You people are exceptional human beings and I’m so very glad to have met you.
And so, one last time, thanks for reading.