I’ll bet you thought this webpage had been abandoned, didn’t you? That’s extremely fair. I only ignored it for a year and a half, let the paid subscription lapse, and stopped writing altogether for roughly 15 months. I can see were you might have gotten that impression.
Where have I been? The short answer is I finally got treatment for my anxiety disorder. The long answer; I started taking Paxil, then lost all interest in writing. I got a second low-paying job to supplement the income of my first low-paying job, then I sort of got lost in the endless grind of existence for a few months.
Until, Writer Kate stepped up, then I broke free.
So, hi. I’m Kati. I have social anxiety disorder, which causes occasional depression, and I choose not to treat it. That doesn’t make sense, you say. No, it doesn’t, but hello, anxiety disorder. I don’t want chemicals messing with my already messed up brain. Plus, the meds I’ve tried didn’t help much. Paxil is really just apathy in pill form, and Doxepin made me…a little violent and extremely hateful. Luckily, I didn’t take it long.
Which leaves treating myself with diet, exercise, and a can-do attitude. Unfortunately, I only have one of those things. My diet consists of whatever I can grab, not have to cook, and eat on the run. My exercise regimen is bust my ass at work and home, be constantly on the move, because if I stop at any point, I will fall asleep.
The thing is, I’m a lot luckier than most. I can function outside the home, even though it sucks and I have an awesome support system. I know a few people with the same disorder, or other equally scary mental illnesses, that can’t say the same.
So, what does that mean for my writing? While I was taking Paxil, I still had story ideas, absent any desire to actually write them down. When I decided, essentially, that writing was more important than my mental health, the need to write came back. I’ve been working on Book 4 in the Watcher series for about 4 months now and I’m getting close to finishing the rough outline. Oh, it’s not a 600 page book, or anything. It’s just coming to me as easily as a Barbie doll giving birth to a 15 pound baby. And, writing another book absent an audience to actually read it is an exercise in pointlessness that pushed me onto the Paxil in the first place.
Who’s fault is that? Oh, it is 100% my fault. I wrote those books, published them, then never, ever looked at them again. The very idea of talking about my books with other people triggers a mini panic attack. I don’t have a publisher or literary agent to back me up, so building an audience was supposed to be my job. I dropped the ball off a cliff.
So, here’s my dilemma. How do you build a social media presence when your mental predisposition is to keep EVERYONE at bay? It kind of feels like being on the bomb squad. If you’re successful, nothing happens. If you screw up, everything blows up in your face.
I am a wife, and I love being a wife. I’ve got 23 years experience at it. I used to do it professionally, until the economy tanked. I can talk to other people about being married, and I know I could give them good advice.
I am a mom. I absolutely love being a mom. I could talk to other people about what it’s like to raise kids in this world.
I am a writer. I could talk about writing all day, and I like helping people with the stuff that they are writing. I offer a second pair of eyes and give honest feedback, which is essential for any artist.
I also have social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder. It affects every aspect of my life. It drains me mentally, it affects my physical health, my ability to think clearly at times, and severely limits my social interactions. And so, this thing that I’ve kept hidden for the most part from everyone I know is the part of me that everyone needs to see.
There are a lot of people like me. They’ve been made to feel ashamed. They’ve been told that there’s nothing really wrong with them. They get accused of making it all up, or of acting out for attention. So, they’re the ones that need my help. Even if it’s just me changing the way I do things, to show them they’re not alone, and that it is possible to do the things that freak you out. Maybe, in the long run, doing those things will help you.
Because I’m broken, not useless.