An Update On Life & My Mental Health

For someone who publishes a post daily, I practically missed the entire month of May. I haven’t even been reading and replying to the comments. I apologize for the silence and lack of content.

The truth is, this post has been coming for the past couple of weeks – I was just having trouble wording what I wanted to say.

A lot happened in the month of May. A lot that affected me in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I will not go into great detail though I will explain a bit so you guys can somewhat understand.

First – I’m okay. Things have been rough, but I’m doing okay. There’s just been so much going on that it’s taken a toll on my mental health and I need to re-evaluate some things in my life.

Second – There are stressors absolutely everywhere. Everything seemed to want to happen all at once. There’s been stuff going on with my friends that I’m trying to support them with but it’s been hard for reasons. My family has had some ups and downs with health issues and the like, but that’s just the circle of life, unfortunately. (And no, no one has passed away, thankfully, but it’s still been tough.) There are also basic stressors that come with the “adult” status and such.

Third – Social media. Social media can be your friend or foe and lately, it’s definitely been an enemy. Something happened about a month ago that affected me deeply. No, I do not know these people personally but I’ve looked up to them as a person and as a creator. Some of the work I do was inspired by them. It turns out they were not the person I thought they were and, after looking up to them for years – I even met this person in real life – it’s a hard pill to swallow.

And, if you know who/what I’m talking about, please do not mention any names or go into detail about it. I will delete any comments about it or turn off comments completely. I’m not writing this to open a can of worms.

It puts things into perspective though. This is something I always knew but it was proven on that day – I have no idea who any of you are. I have more friends through the Internet in various parts of the world than I do in real life, in my hometown. I enjoy these connections and I appreciate each and every one of you.

However, the hate and nasty comments that were spread throughout social media about this incident and the creator really bothered me. These were all people who enjoyed their work and in an instant immediately turned on them, judging and condemning them – a stranger, no less. It bothered me and it still bothers me. It made me wonder why I want my name on the Internet in the first place – what am I doing and why? Lord knows I would never do what they did, but people are mean. They’re harsh and quick to judge.

I’ve grown thick skin over the years and I’m lucky enough that, in the 13 years I’ve been sharing my writing and work online, I’ve never had someone say something mean or hateful to me. To be honest, I got a lot of that in real life at school so being online was my sanctuary. How reversed is that?

This also all happened a week after I released my debut book which, in turn, made me realize something else about myself, my work, and the Internet. This is something I won’t go into detail about, but it’s something I’m trying to figure out. The good news is, I can only go up from here.

Fourth – Speaking of work, that’s been another huge stressor. Mostly because of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph but there are other factors involved that I don’t want to go into detail with for reasons.

I did get a freelance writing job that’s been good. It’s less creative than I would like, but the people are nice, the pay has been the best since any freelance job I’ve ever had, I’ve been learning new things, and it’s been something different. It does take up quite a bit of my time though, which means other things (like my own creative writing) have taken to the back burner. So, I need to figure something out about that.

Fifth – Everything I mentioned above has taken a great toll on my mental health. Things I already knew about life on the Internet were proven. Not just about my third point in this post, but that also helped me realize something about myself and relationships on the Internet and, believe it or not, in real life.

I’ve been so busy helping and supporting others that I haven’t been focused on myself. Not my mental or physical well-being and not my work. My work – writing, blogging, and other things – have taken a back seat to support other authors, bloggers, etc. There have been quite a few people (not everyone – there are definitely some people in particular who have gone above and beyond for me and I hope you know who you are!) who have said they’d help me in return but it was just empty promises.

This could be for a number of reasons: maybe they haven’t checked their email in a few months, maybe they were just trying to be nice, maybe something came up in their life, or maybe they were just saying that in hopes I would help them out. The possibilities are endless and, right or wrong, it’s discouraging for me.

It hurts and makes me feel like I’ve been taken advantage of. Which, again, brings me back to my original point: you have no idea who you’re dealing with on the Internet. Obviously, no one is obligated to help or support me in any way if they don’t want to or if they don’t believe in my work or anything. But it’s still discouraging as much as I try not to feel that way – and I feel awful for feeling this way. If anything, this has been a lesson learned and a huge eye-opener.

With that said, I’m at the point where I dread waking up in the morning which isn’t something I’ve felt since high school and certainly something I never want to feel again. I do get out of bed though and I do get to work. Why? Because I know I need to and because I enjoy the work despite certain things. My anxiety has been all over the place and the idea of certain work, which I typically enjoy, has been stressing me out.

Sixth – This has, of course, affected my creativity as well. There are a lot of things I want to do. There are a lot of things I want to learn. I have ideas for this blog going forward – on and off the blog. The same goes for my other blog, Double Jump. My sister and I have a lot of new ideas in the works.

Obviously, my creativity isn’t going to do that well if my mental health is suffering. In fact, as soon as I skipped a few days of blogging and didn’t care, I knew something was wrong immediately. Normally that would bother me. I hate to miss a day but my mind has been trying to tell me something. I need to slow down and focus on myself.

Another way this has affected my creativity though is that I’m feeling more creative than ever. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with blogging or writing. I want to try something new. I want to have a hobby. I want to improve my photography and film editing. I want to learn how to crochet or make jewelry (that I don’t even wear, but whatever). There are a lot of DIY projects I’ve love to try. I just want to learn something new. But I want to do it for me.

This is a weird feeling for me because I’ve really only ever known writing or blogging as a creative outlet. But I need something that will relax me. Something that I’ll enjoy doing but that’s not also “work.” Even if I just set aside some time each day to color or something.

Overall – What does all this mean? Why am I writing an extremely long blog post about this? (Seriously, I didn’t think it’d be this long. Thanks for reading this far if you’re still with me.)

I’m here to say that I’m taking a step back from everything. I will still be here in some sense but not to the extent that I have been. I have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of re-evaluating to do of my life and online presence. This doesn’t mean I’m quitting or leaving though. I’m proud of all the things I’ve created, the milestones I’ve hit, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned, and the overall work I’ve done.

However, some hurt still lingers. Stress is strong. My mental health is taking the brunt of it all.

I don’t have the intention of giving anything up, but I need time to rebuild. I’m taking the month of June to come up with a new plan and figure things out. Things won’t be back to normal on this blog until July. Maybe sooner, but I’m going to take my time coming up with a new plan and catching up with things while taking appropriate breaks. I’m working on catching up with things on Double Jump and, at this time, I can’t do both blogs at once.

For this blog, my writing prompts and Short Story Sundays will still be published because those are already scheduled for the year. Book reviews are on hold as I haven’t read a single thing in about a month and just haven’t found the motivation for it. I’ll most likely post something here and there just to let you know I’m still here, but, as I said, I don’t expect the regular schedule to be back until July.

My social media presence will be limited until further notice. I am not going on hiatus with any of this because it’s the nature of my job. But I will be scheduling a day or two to check it each week and will not be on constantly. I need to shoo some negative vibes and take a breather from all that.

As for my writing, I need to come up with a plan for that as well. I will still be writing and editing. I will still be publishing books. It’s just going to be a bit more on the slower side for the moment.

With that said, I think this post has gone on long enough. I appreciate everyone’s patience with me and hope you understand my absence and the coming weeks as I try to figure things out and take care of myself.

I’ll talk to you all soon.

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26 thoughts on “An Update On Life & My Mental Health

  1. This speaks to me on so many levels, Rachel. I’m dealing with stressors in a similar way myself. I hope things get better for you, that they turn around. I wish you nothing but the best and am proud of you knowing when to step back and take care of yourself. It’s definitely a skill in itself.

    • Thank you so much. I hope you’re doing better now as well. Sometimes we all need to take a step back and look at the full picture to know where to go from there.

  2. It’s a rough world out there, online and offline. Take the time you need to feel better. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Personal health and life first Rachel. I am sorry to read of your troubles and the toll it has taken on you. Take care, and we’ll be waiting for you when you relaunch sotospeak. <3 <3

  4. It’s always good to step back. I’m stepping back this month to take care of IRL work and (fingers crossed!) get a novel done, but I think it’ll be good for my mental state to not care so much about blog stats.

  5. I’m sorry to hear of your troubles – and want to share you are not alone. Sometimes it all hits at once – take care of yourself first and foremost. We’ll see you around soon.

  6. I’m glad you posted this. I was starting to worry something had happened to you. I knew something had to be up when I wasn’t seeing posts from you most days. I’m sorry you’re going through such a rough time. Take whatever time you need to figure things out.

  7. Damn hun, sounds like you went through the ringer! I am so sorry to hear you’ve been struggling and I know you do often put a smile and a brave face on when you’re just not feeling it. You are one of the most incredibly friendly, approachable and supportive people I know.

    It also means you tend to always think of others and never yourself. I am pleased to hear you are taking some time away. Take ALL of June, believe me a full month of stepping back makes a world of difference.

    I’m sorry my hiatus came at such a bad time and I truly appreciate all you did regarding The Merry Writer. Don’t you worry about the game now, you look after yourself.

    Social media can certainly made you question whether being online at all is worth it. I’ve been having those feelings myself for a while. If it wasn’t for a wonderful handful of people I probably would have given up.

    Please take whatever time away you need, your health – mental, physical and emotional – are the most important. I’m here if you need anything.

  8. “Everything seemed to want to happen all at once.” Happens too many times for me, I hate that.
    But it’s good that you are taking this time for yourself and heal yourself.

    It may be sad to say it but 95% of my “friends” are online and very little I keep in real life. And I know what you mean hun, I helped many of these so called friends online and when it was my turn and I asked for a bit of help there was silence. There some rare people out there but it’s truly rare.

    Take your time hun, slowing things down helped me so much. I may not published my work yet but taking it slow kept me from totally freaking out. It’s important to bring back that spark of joy into our life and that may take time sometime, so take as much as you need <3

    And I know I am a virtual person here, hehe, but if you need to chat, and staff I'm here and in any form: Chat, mail, video, hehe 😀

  9. I’m so sorry, Rachel. Absolutely take a break, a long break. Focus on you. Heal and find your path and passion. Life’s crossroads can be terrible. Yet, things happen for a reason, and this may be a well deserved R&R and an opportunity to see new roads. Best to you, Rachel.

  10. Oh wow! I hate that crap for you, people hurting your feelings. People can really suck!
    Today i was going through a ton of blogs i follow and i was just saying to myself how much i love your blog. Too often when i check my mail i toss the blogs i follow in a folder and read them at another time. Today was my catch up day for blogs and i’m glad I did.

    After i finished reading your blog I felt sad. I too have a mental health challenge, PTSD. I felt like i just wanted to hug you. Virtual hug!
    I was trying to figure my own self out today and had too many “why don’t I’s” especially why dont i read my blogs in realtime, and why am i not blogging more, and why am i not available for the people i adore even if we’ve never met any of them.

    I think you rock and i feel inspired by you to keep facing these challenges.
    You have a good grip on things i just know you do, so keep it up and maybe pray for those idiots out there. LOL
    Sincerely, Shirley

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