Over two years ago, I self-published a series of novellas. At the beginning of 2021, I self-published my first full-length novel. I had big dreams going forward from there; I had more books I had already written, books ready to have the final touches be put on them and published. I had several short stories I just needed to polish up and submit out. I had finished the first draft of book one of the sci-fi/fantasy/horror epic I had been planning out for two decades. I had thoughts of book launches, submissions, maybe even an acceptance or two.
And then everything fell apart.
I’ve always had depression and anxiety. I was already on medication for it. But a combination of my day job and covid isolation sent me into a downward spiral that saw me paying attention to my writing less and less until I did none of it at all. I was in the emergency room several times, not for suicide attempts, but just for a feeling of hopelessness and despair. I entered a partial hospitalization program whose psychiatrists type-cast me into meds that made me feel even more horrible, until I wished that I was suicidal so that I could die. I asked to enter full psychiatric hospitalization.
It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
While in the hospital, my meds were fixed and I learned coping skills that even after two rounds of partial hospitalization a decade apart I hadn’t ever internalized. I began looking for a new job the instant I was home, and in the meantime I got a figurative punch to the gut that showed me once and for all that my workplace of eight years was toxic as hell. After a new job and a few hiccups, I’m writing again. I had to put together a list of writing tasks I need to get done, because I’d forgotten what I had been doing on each book or story: editing, formatting, typing, submitting… But I want to publish again.
My plans have been pushed back. Last year, I had made a declaration that this year I would have enough books published to have a booth at a spooky crafty fair that my town holds every Halloween. I had expected to build an audience through rapid releases, with plenty of social media announcements to match. I had wanted to build my Tik Tok audiences by reading off more of my drabbles. I had been planning a subscription-based series.
I don’t believe in platitudes. Everything does not happen for a reason. It’s sad that all these things are going to happen later than I planned, but it can all still happen. Soon to come, I’ll have a cover reveal for my next book. And maybe I’ll post some blogs about my weirdo journey too, who knows. All I can say right now is if you – you out there – need help, ask somebody for it. Share your problems with other people. That was the most difficult lesson for me to accept.