This is going to be last time I post about my mental health before we get back to regularly scheduled (ha) updates. Or at least, the next time I post on this site, it’ll be something for you to read. Pinky swear.
This is a transcription of a Twitter thread I posted on my anxiety and why someone checking in with me through email made me go into a full-blown panic attack which is, uh, not a good thing.
I’ve always had anxiety and stress issues, but I’ve been able to channel them pretty productively when I was in college and during my first years of teaching. I used to think I thrived under deadlines. Pressure was good for me. I literally took seven classes a semester, wrote 16 papers and did two majors and three minors because I could manage it. I thought the nervous breakdowns I had once or twice a semester were normal and everyone had them.
It actually turns out that I was conditioning myself to constantly live in a state of pressure and deadlines, and that was never going to be a long-term way to live life. I think one of the worst parts of this last year is feeling overwhelmed even by the people reaching out to me because while their intentions were likely good, it put more pressure on me to be “normal” or get to over it.
My reactions were/are completely out of whack to what most people would see as normal check-ins, and that just makes me feel worse after I have the terrible reactions.
When a reader says they’re checking in on me or they loved this part, can’t for the next! — a well-adjusted person just takes that in & goes on with their day. For me, it’s a reminder I haven’t posted/written according to my deadlines or that part they want isn’t remotely ready. Then the anxiety spirals starts, and it’s frustrating because a person who doesn’t mean harm ends up causing harm.
I turned off emailed replies so the only time I go to seek out reader comments is when I’m having a good day or that I know I can handle it. I think I said that back in January, but I probably haven’t said it since. That’s why it felt intrusive to have emails sent when I’ve literally tried to protect myself from what I *know* is an over reaction.
Anyway. This is just a long way of saying that anxiety sucks because it makes you act in ways that make you feel even worse and then you’re constantly digging yourself out of hole.
I’m in therapy to manage this all better, but I don’t know how much its helping because, of course, we haven’t talked about the writing because part of me thinks she’s just gonna say — what’s wrong with you, it’s fanfiction it doesn’t matter–She’s not gonna do that, but I AM AN INSANE BALL OF STRESS so I’m constantly anticipating other people’s judgements. Also — I’m on anxiety meds that sort of calm the anxiety, but also make everything foggy, so it sucks.
I’m fine. No one should worry about me. I’m doing all the things you need to do to manage the crazy, but I think we’re all better off when we’re honest about our issues. Also, I still have the stupid ringing in my ear that makes it harder to concentrate — caused by stress.
I’ll close this out by stating the following:
I only see replies and reviews if I choose to see them. I no longer have comments emailed to me from anywhere I post. There are days when I feel great and I know I can handle it, so I come here and I catch up. I love you guys so much and it kills me that I can’t enjoy how much you guys support me without internalizing it as pressure to keep you happy. I know it’s not that, but my brain doesn’t always check with me before I go insane.
Please do not email me personally. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you, it’s not that I don’t see your intentions as good, but I am not currently in a place where I can get even pleasantries sent to me.