Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: This is a big one.

Hey everyone. Today I'm a bit all over the place. (Okay not really. Just here and three other blogs.) 

I'll get to this month's insecurity now, but first, let me just warn inform you of my whereabouts. 

First, I'm visiting Denise, sharing a story of the insecurities I faced when I started writing Endless. She cross-posts to two blog platforms, so if you're on Blogger, click here. Wordpress: here

Then, Jessica interviewed me on Author Tracker and Ken interviewed me on My Hogwarts Sabatical

But it doesn't feel like to skip the Insecure Writers' Support Group (and boy, do I have a doozie today), so I thought I'd leave a post here too. 


Okay so this is going to be hard. Because today I'm going to share a bit of a secret. Or not. I'm pretty sure I might have mentioned this once or twice before. 

The thing is, I don't like talking about it. 

But hey, as I said, it's a doozie of a cause for insecurity and I've been struggling with working through my feelings. So, since writing is a good way to do this (and posting gives me motivation to actually do it...) 

*Deep breaths* Warning. This does occasionally go into ranting territory. 

So on Saturday, I woke up to the thought that nothing I ever do is enough to actually succeed. 

Which, on its own, might seem like a rather silly little issue. 

Except I have an anxiety disorder. 

Yeah. I do. Had a psychologist who diagnosed me in my third year of university. Maybe I've had it forever. I know I had my first (and oddly enough last) panic attack when I was in sixth grade. People didn't handle it well. I suppressed it and thought that it had gone away. 

But yeah. My second year of university wrecked me. So badly that my mom made me go to a psychologist because she thought I either suffered from depression or did drugs. Yes. My emotional state had gradually darkened and grew so bad that my mom thought I had taken a control substance because my entire outlook on life had changed. 

I had gone from being a go-getter with huge goals and the daring to get it to someone who no longer felt like there was a point to trying anymore. 

It took me an entire year (and an existential crisis) to find myself again. During which I almost ran away (and I'm purposefully using the phrase) to the navy because I couldn't deal with my fears that I'd get trapped in a job I hated because of a degree I no longer even wanted to get.

But I clawed my way out. Step by step. First by realizing that I didn't actually have to do what people expected of me. Then, but proving to myself that I could get ahead and still write (which is actually one of the key aspects to my dealing with my mind.) 

And boy. I got ahead. I finished a shit ton of books. I got a publishing deal at 24. At exactly the same time, I was a co-owner and shareholder of an 8-digit turnover company.

It's easy to function through my insecurity when things are actually going well. 

That was 2013. 

In 2014, everything went to hell, basically, except for my and my family's health (which I'm grateful for). 

But materially speaking, we lost everything. My whole life went into a dive and I've been fighting to pull out of it ever since. 

In January 2015, I was determined to pull out and just. 

Fucking. 

Get. 

One. 

Fucking. 

Step. 

Ahead. 

It's May 2016 now. And yes, I've made progress. At the moment I'm touring the third book I released in two years. My mother and I started a business that we merged with another. 

But it's also May 2016, and after months of hard work, most of which I've spent working 12 to 14 hour work days (you know, not writing). 

And, except for the fact that I'm not able to write for vast majorities of the time and risking burn-out by writing in literally every available moment of time when I'm not sleeping, (I'm serious. Except for about eight hours of singing in total and maybe four t.v. days, I've done nothing but working, writing and sleeping since December.) I'm no better off now than I was last year this time. (In fact I'm worse off, but explaining that will probably stretch the post too far.) 

I can't describe the mixture of fury and hopelessness welling up within me as I write this. 

So on Saturday, I guess I came to the point where my anxiety would no longer be ignored. But if I give up, I'm fucked. And I won't be the only one. 

Somehow, I have to ignore the patent evidence around me to say that there is a point to this. That it must break at some point -- hopefully before I do. That yes, doing all the right things and working hard will bring me success again. 

That this time, my success won't be stolen by another asshole that I will see on t.v. with my fucking business that was also a casualty of 2014 (not kidding. Happened yesterday.). Or someone else I will probably hear of in my day-job due to (yep, you guessed it) anther 2014 casualty. 

Somehow, I have to fool myself into believing that all this will happen so that I can at least write again. Because if I stop writing, there's no point to hoping I'll become a writer, is there? 

27 comments:

cleemckenzie said...

You've said it. Write or there's no hope in becoming a writer. Sorry about the downturns but you seem to be finding a way to leave those behind and move on. Here's hoping this year will be a better one for you.

Gwen Gardner said...

I used to have panic disorder so I totally know what you're going through in that respect. I've heard that it affects high achievers (or those that try to be) the most. It's definitely related to stress, so take care of your health first. You're a strong person, Misha, so you can get through this. Give yourself a break, then sit down and rethink your plan and how to achieve it without putting too much pressure on yourself. You can do it! <3 *hugs*

Murees Dupé said...

I admire you, Misha. You've been and are still going through so much and yet you still manage to be a high functioning person. You published another book and I'm proud of you. You have your writing and I hope you never give up on it. I have depression and most days I can't even get out of bed, let alone write. But you don't let things keep you down. You keep on fighting and that is amazing. I really hope things get better for you and your family soon.

Crystal Ra Laksmi said...

Thank you for sharing your story and your ups and downs. In my life I have lost everything for many times. I know it is not that easy to pull yourself up again and keep going, but somehow I do it each time, even though I am getting tired of these times for sure. For me the point has been - live simply, take care of your self-love first, test who you trust, and only do what you love. Then you do not really chase anything and things start to come to you. I also noticed that doing so much volunteer work this season in Mexico - I acquired something I could call a 'social asset' and people start to value this even more than money. Of course if you have the social asset and then also the material assets - you are a killer deal. But even starting with one would do it. The main purpose I have figured I am here - is also to have fun and enjoy this ride! Hope you get it too! Alohas from Mexico

Julie Flanders said...

I have an anxiety disorder and have suffered from panic attacks so I can understand a little of what you are going through. You are so right, when things are going well it is much easier to control those feelings. I'm so sorry that you have struggled with so much and there is no doubt you have been hit with much more than your fair share. I don't have any advice or words of wisdom but I do hope you will continue to write. For me that is what has helped my anxiety when nothing else did. Wishing a run of good things for you - you definitely deserve them.

Rachel Pattinson said...

Misha, I can't tell you how much your post resonated with me - you have no idea how much this post has helped me, especially as I'm going through a tough time mentally right now, so firstly, I just want to say thank you so much for sharing.

I started with my anxiety disorder in my second year of uni too, and sometimes it feels like every day is a uphill battle. I could rant and rave all day long, but I'm actually planning on writing a blog post next week about my most recent bout of anxiety, so I'll save it for then. But lately, I've been feeling just as angry and as lost as you.

All I can say is that the thing that's helped me the most in dealing with my anxiety and setbacks, is that I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. I know it might sound like a wishy-washy thing to say, but if I didn't believe it with all my heart, I'd have given up a long long time ago - and I refuse to give up. I will not let my anxiety or the stupidity of other people ruin my life. When everything else seems lost, or I've been rejected for the hundredth time for a job I know I could do with my eyes closed, or my social anxiety holds me back at work; I take a deep breath and think to myself that all this means is that I'm destined to be a writer. And I don't mean that in a megalomaniac way - I need to have something to believe in, something that makes all the late nights and the tears worth it. I refuse to consider the possibility that it's not true.

Sorry if this comment isn't very helpful - but at the very least, you know that I'm here and I understand what you're going through, if you ever need to talk :).

Wishing you the very best of luck in everything :)

Rachel

Donna K. Weaver said...

Holy cow, girl. You deserve a hug. *cyberhug* And some brownies. *hand over plate of brownies*

I like to remember what Thomas Edison said: You only fail when you quit trying.

He doesn't say when that might be or how long the climb is--or even anything about how many dips there are in the climb. So, take a breath and enjoy the good parts.

Good luck.

Yolanda Renee said...

Lee had the best quote today:
Quote of the Week: "Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but happiness and growth occur while you are climbing it." Andy Rooney

You're are doing so much better than you think! Congratulations! Celebrate and push those emotions aside. This is your time and NO ONE can keep you down! This is your choice - make your choice!
Great post, thanks for sharing, these are the kinds of posts that help the most sometimes. Especially in the middle of book releases when everyone thinks it all fluff and fun, but it's truly when the hard work starts!

Chris Chelser said...

Hey Misha,

To say the last years have been hard on you is a gross understatement, but you show your strength every day. And that is all you can do: keep fighting one day at a time.

I suffer from chronic depression and will need to take medication to manage my anxiety disorder for the rest of my life. I know how hard it is. I know how your own fears can betray you in the worst possible ways.

Keep going. Take some rest, even just a few minutes at a time. Do something you enjoy whenever you can. If you can't, hold on to the thought that nothing lasts forever, not even the dark moods, the fears and the bad times. Just keep going.

Your frustrations at being unable to write are familiar too. You aren't the only one who can't write on a daily basis because life, your mind, and simply having to provide for your family gets in the way of writing, but that doesn't make you any less of a writer!

You are a writer, even in the moments, days, weeks, months or years that you do not write anything down.

Take care. I hope life will improve for you soon!





The Cynical Sailor said...

Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing your story. Everyone struggles with something, but we don't always see on the outside what it is and everyone thinks everything is fine and dandy. People with courage like you, sharing their personal stories inspires others that they to can overcome and go on to do amazing things, like you are :-)

Cheers - Ellen

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sorry! I remember when it all fell apart for your family's business. That's enough to make anyone crack a bit.
Nothing remains in a vacuum. Things have to change because that's life. Just keep believing and keep trying.

Pat Hatt said...

Trust me, been there with the shit hitting the fan and the damn fan just kept spreading it over me again and again and again haha There comes a point where one has to decide if they should cut ties and try something new or do it in a new way too. Failing happens over and over again and as long as we keep on trying something it gives us a chance for success too. As for writing, have to write when we can. One just has to keep pushing through. If life was easy, we'd all shit rainbows.

Working that many hours a day has to be killer.

Samantha Redstreake Geary said...

Ughhh. I'm so sorry you've been through the wringer. Been there, in varying shades of shitstorms. No matter what happens, keep writing. It's your passion, something that keeps you sane when everything else is in chaos. Don't let anyone, or anything, crush that part of you.


The Discovery of Dragons and Parallels

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I think you're very brave to share this with us, and I think you're very strong to have survived all of this. I truly hope that things get better and easier for you, but I think that the fact that you've made it this far shows that you can make it.

Elizabeth said...

Wow, you have been through a lot in the last couple years! It sounds like you have what it takes to succeed, just keep writing and don't give up! I hope this year gets better for you.

s/v La Vita said...

Hi Misha, I read the comments folks have written. They are filled with inspiration, compassion, and encouragement. I struggle with a mild form of depression, so my heart really goes out to you and others that fight this challenge.

I trust you will soon regain your stride by doing. Writing is an certainly an outlet you've enjoyed. Have you ever written something first with your dominate hand (maybe right), then write with the other hand (maybe left)? You will probably see two different slants/POV in your writing. Don't fuss if your less dominate hand writing is hard to read, you'll get gist of it.

Thank you for expressing your thoughts, fears, and desires. We're all pulling for you.

L.G. Keltner said...

I'm sure you'll be able to claw your way back to success again. You're a strong person, even with the anxiety. Just hang in there and good things will eventually find their way back to you!

Michelle Wallace said...

Hi Misha!
Thank you for being so open and laying your heart bare. I think you are brave.
You've had it rough. Really, really rough.
Life has thrown so many curve balls...but you're a survivor...that I can tell.
Hang on. Chin up.
You can do it!
You have the entire writing community cheering you on!
HUGS!
Writer In Transit

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm sorry to hear of all your troubles and your struggles. Believe me, I get how our minds are not always our best friends. Please hang in there and have faith in yourself and in general, as best you can. Know that people are rooting for you!

Bish Denham said...

Oh Misha! What a lot of shit you've been going through. I wish I had a magic wand and could *poof* it all away, give you space to breathe. Hugs to you.

Launna said...

Misha, it is so stressful when life gives us challenge after challenge and we have a disorder such as anxiety... I had one in my early 20's I couldn't speak out in a group ... I forcibly changed myself and was super stressed for a long time until it became second nature but it was a long haul for me. I do understand what you are dealing with...

Hopefully things get a little bit easier for you very soon... all this stress is not good for anyone... xox

Doreen McGettigan said...

Oh Misha:( You must take a moment to catch your breath and then take one foot and put it in front of the other. You must keep moving forward. Don't allow yourself to get stuck dwelling and never give up on your writing, ever!

Juneta Key said...

That was well written. You had me. You held my attention I was in there punching with you. YOU ARE A WRITER, no will be about it. Love the post. Hate you are going through all that. You know I find it hard to be that honest on my blog, maybe I should give that some more thought.

I'll be back to read more of your blog later when I have more time to explore. You hang in there. You are inspiring. You won me and I just met you through an interview on ChemistKen's blog.

Happy Belated IWSG day,
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Ann Best said...

Glad you're able to analyze and figure out your weaknesses. Anxiety disorder is a tough one. Best to keep moving, and you seem to have done that. Saw and commented over at Denise Covey's place. Congratulations on the release of your new book. Just keep going forward one step at a time. IMO you're doing great!

Nicola said...

I do hope it helped to pour out your heart in this post. It is quite clear from the comments that you have a great writing support system that will listen and encourage. Unfortunately bad things happy to good people and managing these bad things is what makes us stronger. Suffering anxiety at the same time as the crap is one helluva task but Misha, you are a talented and ambitious person with a good heart. You can work through this! But don't be afraid to take a Misha moment or two from time to time. Do something that makes you feel good. Also, remember that crappy times, once dealt with, can provide the most amazing storylines. It's also therapeutic. In fiction you can make the bad people suffer as much as you want and also find that bright light you are wishing and aiming for. Wishing you a better rest of the week and feel free to reach out when you need to. Many blessings.

Jen Chandler said...

Oh Misha,
I'm so very sorry to hear of all this mess! I understand. I do. And I admire your bravery to come right out and tell us like it is! My husband and I have had a really hard go since our second year. LOOOONG story short, he listened to his family, got pulled into a family business that was never going to work, and ended up having to declare bankruptcy which landed us living in a garage apartment for 4 years while I worked horrid jobs and he couldn't find one. Not many people know about the bankruptcy thing and it's a very painful part of our lives I don't like to talk about but it feels like a breath of peace saying it here!

All in all, I discovered I deal with several Auto-immune disorders which cause me to battle with depression and anxiety and bouts of anger, etc. Thankfully (after 11 years) it's on the upswing and I've finally found my way back to writing again. The whole point of all of this is YOU CAN NOT GIVE UP, especially when you want to. Believe me, I've wanted to. What's the point? I asked myself, even after I finished the degree I wanted and have not had a "career" as many expected me to have.

But I'm happy. My husband's happy. And we're on our way out. It's a long road and I'm so very sorry you've dealt with all this. It sucks, truly it does. But you're strong, I can tell, and you are surrounded by people who want you to succeed (me included!)

Take care of yourself first and write, write, write! You have a beautiful gift to give to the world! Give it to us!!

Hugs,
Jen

Deniz Bevan said...

Thank you for sharing with us, Misha. It's hard to have that nothing is ever good enough feeling, but, objectively, or at least from the outside, it's amazing to watch all the work you're doing and all the things you're getting done. I guess we all have our own timelines in our heads of when we think stuff ought to happen and if it doesn't...but there's always tomorrow and tomorrow, no matter if it sounds a cliche :-)