And…I’m back with another Novel Newcomer post! Yay! In case you’ve forgotten what NN is, you can check out all of the details HERE.
Dr. Selflove or: How I Learned to Stop Stressing and Love the Blog Hiatus
Having an anxiety disorder is a very scary, very debilitating condition. When one is forced to live with it, day to day existence can often feel like life itself is a giant monster breathing heavily down your neck; at any moment, it could attack and wreck you for a good while afterwards. Of course, managing it healthily can often be just as difficult as simply trying to go through the motions of ignoring it.
To put it lightly: the struggle is REAL.
Personally, I’d describe myself as always feeling some form of anxiety from childhood through adolescence and onto adulthood. Up until recently, I’ve been able to filter said anxiety through the various projects and activities I took on in school. Problem solved.
Now that I’m outside of school and into The Real World, I started my book blog, Only True Magic, in August in 2015 as a way for me to get back into the groove of writing, as my call center job doesn’t currently allow for much (read: any) creative expression. Reading and writing have always been two of the few little pleasures that grew up with me. Starting a WordPress blog combining the two was the next logical step to fill that creative rut.
For a while, the flow was going really well! I had a few weekly features, monthly features, constant blog tours and book blitzes, and — duh — book reviews. On top of that, I maintained my Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads accounts to be able to reach out and communicate with fellow bloggers while keeping abreast of the current ya reading trends. My job filled me with so much negative energy during the week that I could easily turn it all into positive outputs on my days off.
Then, in February, I had the largest mental break I’ve faced since the immediate aftershock of being raped in college. Maybe it was the mounting stress of performing well at work, maybe it was the preparation my supervisor and I were doing to help me apply for promotions, maybe it was the stress of maintaining full-time hours to my book blog on top of my full-time hours at work. Who knows what caused it. All I know is that I had to get rid of the stress some way, because my anxiety and depression combined had reached unbearable levels.
As much as I didn’t want to, I knew Only True Magic had to go on hiatus until things calmed down. It certainly wasn’t a decision I made lightly, and my anxiety about THAT almost made my state worse. Going on hiatus — just stopping everything in my tracks — would mean that I was giving up and leaving everyone high and dry. I had authors waiting on reviews! I had book tour stops scheduled! I couldn’t just quit! But when it got to the point where I could not even pick up a book or open iBooks on my phone to try to read one of the stories I’d been given without immediately feeling a rush of dread, I knew I had to pull out.
And I did.
The apology emails were sent. I promised to get reviews out as soon as I could. The announcement post went live on my blog in March — where it still sits as the most recent post. For just a second after pressing that submit button, I felt free.
That’s not to say the past few months haven’t been hell, because they have. I started seeing a new therapist, I cut out a lot of other stressors in my life, I spent a lot of time listening to the Hamilton soundtrack over and over and over. I have job interviews lined up for the promotions I hoped for — which causes good anxiety! The productive kind! Recently, I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting my blog back again and breezing through my TBR pile at the speed of light this month. It seems like the ideal time to make a return.
But the difference between pre-break Amber and post-break Amber is that I recognize now that there’s such thing as doing way too much. I was absolutely doing way too much. I wouldn’t say that I’m out of the woods just yet in terms of my mental health, because I still semi-regularly have days where I can barely pull myself out of bed long enough to shower and feed myself. However, as I continue to work on my skills in mindfulness and creating distractions from rumination, things get a little bit more bright.
Of course, hiatus doesn’t mean full stop. It just means pause. Pause. And breathe.
Meet the Blogger:
Amber is the blogger at Only True Magic. She started blogging on August 11, 2015. You can also find her on Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
That’s it for this week! See you in two weeks with a new Novel Newcomers post featuring another blogger (or two or three). I can’t wait! 😉