January2023

Anxiety Paralysis, Depression, Burnout, and Changes.

I mean, the title says a lot, doesn’t it?

Do you ever have one of those days where you know you need to get several things done because people are relying on you? You make your list and you look it over. You look it over again, and again, and again…

And when you start doing the first task, your chest tightens. Breathing becomes harder, faster, shallower. Hands start to shake. You step away because it’s too much. It can be physically painful for some.

That’s been the majority of my days for several months. I say majority because there are a handful of days a month where I can push past it. I can get a small section of the work done and survive it. Stuff as simple as sending an email is difficult. Even writing this blog, knowing I have to make an image for it… is hard. It’s a twenty minute task to write this and put an image on it, but it’s so fuckin’ hard.

What happened? A year ago, I was starting to deal with health issues (the sage of my nerve issues is documented here on the blog), but I was excited to do more. I was excited to grow and start my Patreon to support smaller bits of content. I was excited about the books I had coming out. Things started to pile up and spiral out of control as I fought to get better after surgery and take care of myself. But the external pressure of knowing I’m the sole income for my household also kept this immense weight on me at the very same time. I had no back up (and still don’t) in that regard. I found myself taking time off for mental health and the fear of getting back to work terrified me. Still does, most days. Not because I don’t like my books or I want to stop writing the series I’m working on. It’s the workload beyond that. It was the realization that out of all the people I relied on, most couldn’t be there when I needed them most and the idea of going back to that genuinely scares me. I’ve spent the last year being kicked while I was down and I’m scared to keep getting kicked. Even the small kicks, the offhanded comments that strike to my deepest insecurities without even realizing it… (Not reviews. I don’t read reviews).

Part of that fear also comes from the idea of failure. I’m going to talk about some changes I’ll be making for 2023 to better get me on track. To make sure 2023 isn’t 2022. I’m not off to the best start, but better late than never. However, all of these changes make me feel like I’ve failed in some way. That feeling of failure isn’t easy to deal with when the world already feels so dark to me right now but I have to be honest with myself and I won’t ever get back on track if I don’t make some changes.

I need to come back. I miss my books and I miss all of you. I miss that external reach I had, knowing there was this community out here rooting for me. I never really forgot all of you were here, but sometimes the hole is too deep and the world is too dark for that to make the impact one would hope it does.

Here’s what’s going to happen in 2023:

PATREON: Patreon will be ended. I gave it the best year I could, and I hope one day it becomes a regular, easy part of my writing schedule, but right now… It has to go. It’s too much and after fighting to be the best I could.
Patreon will have a post discussing this (especially for those who got the yearly pledges). So the only thing I’m saying here is that Patreon will be closed on an indefinite hiatus until I feel like I can return to it.

RELEASES: There will only be 4 confirmed releases this year, which will be 2 Jacky Leon books and 2 Everly Abbott books. I might have the energy to throw a standalone in there as well, but I won’t make any promises. Only 4 releases for me will be the smallest release year I’ve ever had.
I know there aren’t preorders for Everly 4 yet. I’m going to work on that.

There shouldn’t be any changes aside from those. They’re major changes. I hope you’ve all loved Erika’s blogs. She’s been an immensely wonderful person, trying to help me take the mental space I need while also supporting me to take the small steps I can.

I’m not “better” and I don’t think I will be for awhile. For those who have never suffered long term depression, this might all have been hard to understand. For those who don’t suffer from anxiety, it might make no sense to get paralyzed when you have a list of stuff to do.

I’m going to keep trying, even if I just make an inch of progress every day. I hope anyone caught dealing with me while I’ve been fighting is willing to keep fighting with me. I hope 2023 brings about the changes I need to keep going to 2024 and beyond. I’m tired of feeling tired. I’m tired of feeling scared to do the thing I love.

Thanks for reading. Love you all.

OH, would yall like to know what has made me happy over the last several months? I play DnD with friends on Sunday. If you think you might enjoy it, I might use this blog space to bring that side of my life to you. If you’re interested.

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Melanie C
Melanie C
1 month ago

I’m in a similar boat. Back in September I remember one day siting in a corner ceying because everything was too much, and my boyfriend said he’d hire someone to help me do certain things, but that made it worse as I felt like a failure if I couldn’t do everything on my own. The lady who’s been helping gave me the best advice anyone has ever given me. It’s “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I’ve been doing better since then. Some days I can do big bites. “I’m going to clean up this entire room.” Other day I have to take small bites. “I will move this one item and put it away and that is all.” If on the bad days I concentrate and tell myself, just this one bite that it, that’s all I have to do. If I make a list, I generally get the paralysis you spoke of, and can’t get anything done. One really bad day, I had to segment everything so much. “I just have to go to the bathroom, then that’s it no more.” “I just have to let the dogs out, then that’s it no more.” “I just have to feed the dogs, then that’s it no more.” To borrow another saying, I had zero spoons that day. So me, and probably a lot of others, we understand, we got you. We’ll be here patiently waiting for however many books you want to give us, whether it’s 1 book a quater or more than that. You put a book out, I’ll buy it, then wait patiently for the next. You got this.

Bonnye
Bonnye
1 month ago

Celebrate your wins! Sometimes an inch is a win, sometimes getting out of bed is a win. You in yourself are important. Take care of the important things.

Kimberly Groves
Kimberly Groves
1 month ago

Are you going to see the new d&d movie??

Dennis
Dennis
1 month ago

Hang in there, love your books and wishing the best for you.

Rachel Steen
Rachel Steen
1 month ago

I really appreciate this blog post as I have also been struggling with intense anxiety and depression. And it’s your books that have helped bring me moments of relief.

It amazes me how many people struggle with mental health issues and yet there’s no support structure for most.

Thank you for speaking out. (Hugs)

Alena
Alena
1 month ago

I’m in the extremely fortunate position of never having battled depression and anxiety so I can’t put myself in your shoes, I would say though that I am a massive fan of your brain because of the amazing worlds & characters that it has created & continues to create. I will read anything & everything you publish whenever you are ready to do so and I know that there are a lot of your fans that feel exactly the same. We can’t take away the pressure you feel as the sole income provider in your home but please don’t worry that we won’t still be here if you take longer than usual, we definitely will xxx

Last edited 1 month ago by Alena
Gail Turner
Gail Turner
1 month ago

I recently read a discussion by Ilona Andrews and they discussed self-publishing which is better for them than deadlines with publishing houses. I don’t know which you do but I hope you take the time you need. I hope you take the time you need to enjoy the little things in life. A flower, good meal, laughing with a friend. I love your books you have really been putti g them out. Just take time for yourself we will be here for you. Praying you feel better soon.

Kimberly Moretz
Kimberly Moretz
1 month ago

I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression most of my life. It was manageable with medication. I’m stubborn. I push thru. I had a series of tragedies starting in 2017 my house burned, 2018 my husband and I separated, 2019 he killed himself, 4 months later in 2020 my youngest son died from an overdose, 2021 my mother passed away and January of 2022 my oldest attempted to kill himself by shooting himself thru the heart. Miraculously he survived. My depression and anxiety continued yo worsen as all this unfolded. I ended up in a dark, terrible place that i just couldn’t find my way out of. This past summer i began a new treatment called Spravato. It’s a form of Ketamine you have the treatment at the doctors office under supervision. I c oh ld tell a difference from the first treatment. It has been a miracle d
Rug for me. Its like someone flipped a switch in my brain. This medication works in a different way than typical antidepressants. Your brain begins growing new connections within hours of taking the medication. Hope this helps someone.

Barrett Kane
Barrett Kane
1 month ago

Damn. If you were in NW Oregon I’d happily make you some food and bring over some whisky 😜 my 19 year old has dragged us kicking and screaming into the DnD world….guess what? Old rednecks are apparently nerds 🤣 LOVE your work my dear. I wish you the best. Being self employed struggling provider for 30 years, I get it…..if you have an address that’s non personal I’d love to send you some pretty polished rocks….yes, rednecks can polish rocks too! ❤️❤️

Mary Cruickshank-Peed
Mary Cruickshank-Peed
1 month ago

I’ve recently been diagnosed with ADD (At age 60). One of the things I’ve found is that I’m really good at coping mechanisms. I’ve been developing them for decades. But when something goes wrong… divorce, covid, death, it goes really wrong. Depression, being overwhelmed, feeling hopeless and useless and very very guilty because I can’t cope. What therapy is teaching me is that that’s not a “fault” and I don’t need to feel guilty. I’ve coped with no help all my life. It’s ok to ask for help now. And if someone is making you feel bad/useless/guilty it’s ok to tell them to stop or to get them out of your life.
So hang in there, Kristen. We’ve got your back (I really have no idea how writing 4 books in a year can be considered a fail because I’ve spent the last 4 years writing ONE)

Tracy G
Tracy G
1 month ago

We are here. we will always be here. You got us addicted to your books. We are going nowhere. I hope things get better for you though x

Tracy G
Tracy G
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy G

And I am not good with words sorry 🙊

Heather Schles
Heather Schles
1 month ago

Oh sweetie I am so sorry for this tough season I have struggled with depression most of my life and can relate to some of the issues your discussing and it crushing some days. I don’t see any of these changes as a failure you have to do what’s best for you and your family, everything else doesn’t matter unless those 2 criteria are met so I say good job, in realizing what you need to start healing and I wish all the blessings your journey forward. As for your books I absolutely adore your writing beyond words sometimes and I’m not going anywhere even if you write 1 book a year of every now and then still a fan. No pressure from me I will enjoy whatever you are mentally capable of giving and that’s that.

Stephanie
Stephanie
1 month ago

I hear you!! I have been there. I was able to crawl out with an antidepressant that really works for me. I also make lists – I found that it helps me to put something on the list that I can not get done – it relieves me of the stress from feeling that I have to complete the list. And really – I agree with the other peeps – 4 books a year is a Win – many of my favorite authors only put out 1 a year (if that). Take the time you need and know that we are here for you!

Sarah Marie L
Sarah Marie L
1 month ago

I am sorry you are going through this. I understand how it is to move forward. But please realize that these steps forward are huge for you in getting better. I am proud of you. Just always remember the darkest part of the night is right before the dawn. Prayers sent.

nicole
nicole
1 month ago

I feel this to my bones. I stopped publishing entirely because it got to be too much. My hope is that you get the support that you need to keep moving forward. You are such a talented storyteller, and I honestly enjoy all of your words. Sending so much love and support. <3

Danni
Danni
1 month ago

In 2015 I had major surgery just as I was kick starting a writing career. I never ended up publishing again (at least not so far). I got so far behind and it all became so overwhelming, I ended up mostly walking away from it. I think you are amazing for what you have accomplished. I look forward to what books you are able to write. Someone once told me self care is like being in a plane and putting on your mask first. We know you need to take care of you before you can take care of your characters. ❤️

Also, we play D&D as well (though we are switching to pathfinder 2.0 because of the OGL stuff). A good game can help so much with the healing process! I hope you do post more about that!

Alicia Thompson
Alicia Thompson
1 month ago

You just keep hanging in there. We’re with you and will take whatever you can give us. One book, No books it doesn’t matter as long as YOU get better. I will wait for the books I love if it means you get better.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

I think that you are really brave. It’s really brave of you to admit and discuss your own mental health issues like depression and anxiety. It’s brave to discuss issues like burnout and fear of failure. It’s brave to acknowledge real life issues and pressures like being the sole source of income. It’s’ brave to take care of yourself, to put your needs first. To try and do what you need for yourself whether that’s pausing Patreon, and pushing back publishing dates, or reducing the number of books you publish in a year. It’s brave to admit that you aren’t personally in a good place and that life is really hard right now. It’s brave of you to ask for help from the people in your life, even if they didn’t always come through, you asking was a big deal. It’s brave to admit to your insecurities and to acknowledge how hurtful off hand comments can be. It was brave of you to try something new like Patreon. It’s brave to admit you need to make changes. It’s brave to keep trying, and to keep pulling yourself back up.
You aren’t a failure. You haven’t failed. You are a talented, accomplished and creative author, with an extensive track record of great books.