Let’s have a chit-chat, eh?
Major trigger warnings ahead for mentions of mental and physical illness.
Hi, lovelies. ♥ I’ve missed you. Long post ahead, sorry.
I know a lot of you have been wondering where I’ve been lately. When you’re used to seeing me post 7 days a week, sometimes twice per day, and then I suddenly dropped off to posting 1 or 2 times a week, memes only, nothing substantial and no reviews… Well, that’s pretty damn abnormal for me. I know I’ve been posting regularly for the last several days (woohoo! *throws confetti*), but I thought today would be a good time to give a quick update on where I’ve been and what’s been going on to keep me away.
This year has been hard for a lot of reasons:
- going back to work (on top of motherhood & grad school)
- learning how to overcome my social anxiety, which had become WAY worse while spending 3 years at home with my son
- my chronic pain (which I’ve had since I was a preteen) worsening significantly
- other miscellaneous health issues popping up (hello, miniature mortality check and quarter-life crisis)
- a positive RA factor test (the blood factor that notates rheumatoid arthritis and multiple other autoimmune diseases) — we still haven’t been able to rule out rheumatoid but don’t know what this is, as my insurance is absolutely shit and hasn’t wanted to cover the testing, plus the rheumatologist I went to was a trashfire who insisted that everything was due to my weight despite my family history of RA & having had symptoms since I was an “average” weight
- a mono flare-up a few months ago
- a head cold turned sinus infection turned asthma complications that’s been going on for… 3 months, almost?
- being diagnosed with sleep apnea after spending 2 months sleeping 14-16 hours per day and still being exhausted
- tremendous grad school burn-out triggering a nervous breakdown a few weeks ago that almost led me back to ***TRIGGER WARNING*** self-harm & smoking, which I’ve done neither in years
- a huge depressive spiral that lasted, at its worst, from… I want to say it started in maybe April, and led all the way through to last week?
- the worst reading slump of my life — which, coupled with the depressive spiral, almost led me to quitting blogging several times
So… yeah. It’s been a messy year for me. I don’t mean it’s all bad; I have my family, who I love more than anything in the world, and my job is a great job as far as these things go. But nothing was working right inside of me. My health problems were terrifying me and everything in the entire world felt like too much. I can’t describe to you how many times per day I caught myself wondering if I could keep going, and honestly, if it weren’t for my family — especially my son — I don’t know if I could have made it.
In hindsight, I should have reached out… but as usual, I retreated instead.
I pushed away everyone. I barely talked to my spouse about the things I was feeling, let alone friends. I became a hermit and stopped speaking to almost anyone at all. I let comments on my blog pile up for five months straight because I just didn’t think anyone really wanted to talk to me. What did I have to offer, when I could barely keep myself afloat? And being a book blogger? What a joke, I thought. I could barely read more than a chapter per day because I couldn’t focus and didn’t have the motivation, and it’s not like anything was making me happy, anyways, so what was the point. I had to force myself to listen to audiobooks every time I got in the car just so I could read SOMETHING, ANYTHING.
I shut you all out. I left social media, I turned off my notifications on every communication app I had, I ignored texts and snapchats and DMs every single day. No matter how much my loved ones tried to get through to me, my depression and my BPD were convincing me that nobody really cared, anyways, and everyone would be happier without me bothering them. That went double for blog posts.
So, what changed?
Mental illness is a weird, unpredictable beast. I don’t know what exact thing broke me out of the rut. I started using a CPAP machine at night (a breathing machine that helps people with sleep apnea get enough oxygen, for those who don’t know), I devoted all of my free time for 2 weeks to a new game of Stardew Valley, I dumped almost all of my current reads, I read a bunch of fluffy Captive Prince fanfiction, I spent time with my family, and I started answering some of those missed messages. I timidly poked my head out of my little cave of my own creation and started reaching out to authors and publicists with apologies for my absence. I let myself return to Twitter and realized what I had to say was still worth saying. I started making time for my blog again, but not forcing it. I talked to the moon a lot and cried a lot and listened to a lot of angry, loud music way too loud in my car. And something about all of that combined… I guess it just clicked, because I woke up from a nap a few days ago and realized that, for the first time in way too long, my head was quiet. Nobody was being mean to me inside my own thoughts and I realized I’ve got this. Especially with all of you in my corner.
If you read all of this, you’re absolutely precious. Even if you skimmed it. It’s really hard for me to talk openly about my mental illnesses — nearly impossible! — but I knew I needed to do this. I needed to tell you all what was going on with me, because I needed to be honest, to normalize this discussion for myself, to open up and let people in. And something in my gut just told me that at least one person needed to read this just as much as I needed to write it.
I love this community for the people it’s put in my life. I love all of you. I’m so grateful that, even though it feels to me like I’ve been absent for so damn long, you all have pulled me right back in and reminded me that my voice is worth something, no matter how much my mental illnesses tried to convince me otherwise. Thank you.
(By the way, that little reference to BPD up there… I think that’s the first time I’ve ever had the guts to speak openly online about having Borderline. So please be gentle with me, but if anyone else does, too… feel free to DM me any time. It’s a tough little niche to be in but Cassie reminded me recently that I’m not the only one. And I’m forever grateful to her for being brave enough to talk about this horrible stigmatized mental illness, because I wouldn’t have had the strength to open up to you all at all today without watching her stand up strong and tall, too.)
— destiny ♥