Writing Through Depression and Anxiety


“I have to get this book done. I have to. I have to!”

“But no one’s going to read it. You suck compared to all the other writers. No one even gives a crap about you.”

“It doesn’t matter, this book has set my brain on fire. It needs needs needs to be written. Now now now!”

“Shut up, lay down on the couch, and do absolutely nothing. It’s not like anything matters anyway.”

“Everything matters! All the freakin’ time! I never get a break! I’m gonna explode!”

“You’re such a loser. You’ll never amount to anything. Just lay down on the couch and give up, because that’s the only thing you’re good at. It’s all you’ll ever be good at.”

“What if…what if you’re right? What if everybody hates me? What if I lose all my friends and end up a bitter loner for the rest of my life?”

“It’s bound to happen. You might as well just quit while you’re ahead.”

“No…no! I need to do this! It’s in my blood. It’s burning my veins! I need to get this done!”

“Ugh, you suck. You’re so wishy washy and weak. It’s no wonder nobody cares about your stupid book.”

***

That drama, combined with an occasional interruption from my voice of reason, is on a constant loop in my head all day long. Depression and anxiety is no joke, folks. That lethal duo can honestly drive a person to insanity. If you’re unlucky enough to suffer from either or both of these mental illnesses (or any others), believe me, I feel your pain.

Writing requires an extra burst of fortitude whenever my illnesses both rear their ugly heads at once. It’s paralyzing. I’m afraid to write, yet I have to write, yet I don’t feel like writing or doing anything else for that matter. Wanting to do something and doing it used to be so easy as a kid, and now it’s all I can do just to get out of bed in the morning.

Depression is mean. It sucks the life out of you. Anxiety has good intentions, but it ends up being a pain in the ass. Caring about getting things done and keeping your friends is great until it turns into excessive, out-of-control, panicky worrying. Reason is good. It’s grounded. But sometimes it’s hard to keep around. It fades into the background whenever it sees depression and anxiety stalking down the alleyways of your mind, ready to strike.

Mental illness has many causes. It could be a hormonal imbalance, a result of trauma from your past, or it could be just the way you’re wired. I’ve always been kind of an anxious person, and certain difficulties in my past brought that tendency out and magnified it. At least, that’s my self diagnosis. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.

It always gets worse when I have a deadline, though. Right now, I’m desperately trying to get pre-edits done, but it’s not going as smoothly as I thought it would, and I’m panicking. What if I don’t get it done on time? What if I ruin the book while I’m trying to fix it? What if I piss somebody off by cutting out a part of the story they liked?

Truthfully, in the end, all I can do is try my best to do right by myself, my publisher, and my future (and past) readers. If I mess up, I mess up. I’ve got the “human being” excuse to fall back on if some faulty detail slips past my perfectionistic eyes. Also, now that I have an editor, the pressure is not all on me. An extra set of eyes will come in very handy for catching small details and smoothing out the kinks in my writing.

The best thing to do as a depression/anxiety sufferer is STOP, take a deep breath, and let reason take the front seat. Reason won’t steer you wrong or make you want to tear all your hairs out one by one. Reason will guide you to the solution. Reason will save your life.

Thanks for reading! Follow me here, on FB, and/or on Twitter for news about my upcoming series with Limitless Publishing, Diary of a Rocker’s Kid (DORK).

-H.D.

Advertisements

What It’s Really Like to be a Mother, an Author, and a College Student


People ask me how I do it. How do I raise a 16-month-old, write novels, and go for a Bachelor’s degree all at once? Let me just say this: If you’re prepared to hear the truth, read on. If you’re reading this to hear some kind of “Wonder Woman” story about a person who has it all together, move along. People who know me and my writing know that I keep it real. I do not claim to be a superhero or supernatural. Believe me, there are days when I fall apart and ask the universe why it trusted me with so much. However, I am thankful every day for the great opportunities I have, and I wouldn’t change a thing. So, for those who are curious, here’s what it’s really like trying to have it all.

17-hour Work Days.

Yes. 17. And that’s on a good day. From the moment my sweet toddler wakes me up at 7 AM to the moment I crumple into bed at midnight (again, if I’m lucky), I am working. If I’m not taking care of baby, writing, editing, marketing my work, networking, or doing homework, I’m desperately trying to get some kind of household chore accomplished or working out a troublesome scene in my head. I even consider listening to music to be work now, because I’m studying it. Analyzing it. Figuring out how I can work its themes into my novel somehow. Yes, I really am that crazy and obsessed. Deal with it.

No Weekends.

This shouldn’t be any surprise to any parent out there. Of course I don’t get weekends. I have a kid. I’m also a student, which means the weekend is the perfect time to hand off my kid to someone who’s kind enough to watch him (usually my husband) and get some homework done. Sometimes I’ll get a couple hours of free time (which only serves to make me want more) but rarely a whole day to myself. That’s laughable, actually.

Perpetual Dry Eyes.

I am constantly looking at some kind of screen. I’m an online student and I do all of my writing on Microsoft Word, plus my correspondence with my publisher and other authors is online, and I use Facebook and Twitter to connect with said authors and other students. What does all of that equal? A lot of time on the damn computer or iPhone. Going to bed with bloodshot eyes is now par for the course.

Truckloads of Mommy Guilt.

I wish I could explain to my son why Mommy is not the ever-present, bow-at-your-feet, wish-granting magical fairy princess that some SAHMs seem to be. I get distracted. I have deadlines. Sometimes I have to go away for a few hours while I work on a project. I wish I could split into three (at least) and give one copy of myself solely to him and meeting his seemingly constant need for Mommy’s attention, but regrettably I have to do the best I can with the version of me that currently exists. I shower my love on him when I’m taking care of him and when I take out time just to play with him and make him feel loved, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough, and that sucks for any parent.

Judge-y, Judge-y People and their Judge-y, Judge-y Comments.

“What do you do on that computer all day long?” (Answer? None’ya.)

“How can you say you have a job when you’re not making any money?” (…really? That one is seriously a low blow, y’all.)

“Why are you taking time away from your child to work and go to school?” (Answer? Another low blow. And also none’ya. And also, I mean, I’m like ten feet away from him right now.)

“Why does your mind keep wandering while I’m talking to you?”

“Why are your eyes glazed over… Haley? Haley?! Earth to Haley!!”

Okay, yeah, so the last two questions might be justified, but seriously, people? I’m exhausted. I’m fried. My head has been spinning like the spin cycle in your washing machine all day, so give me a break. As for the other digging questions and snide remarks, I could really do without them. Trust me, there’s no way I could ever explain my insatiable drive and passion to someone who doesn’t understand.

Forgetting to Eat.

This one happens a lot, especially in the morning. I always make sure my son is fed, but I somehow forget that I also need sustenance. I usually remember around noon when I start feeling like a zombie.

Looking for Any Excuse to Get Out of the House.

Seriously. Can I please see four walls that are not the interior of my own home for once? And I’m starting to actually enjoy talking to strangers, which could prove problematic if I’m not careful… (Jk, I have a little more common sense than that)

***

These are all I can think of at this late hour, but I’ll add more to this list if I think of them. Now it’s time for one of my favorite parts of the day: crumpling into an exhausted heap in my snuggly, warm, screen-free bed. Night night, all.

-H.D.

Ambitious Resolutions


Last year, I didn’t set very many goals for myself. I had a wonderful year in 2014. A baby boy entered our lives and turned our world completely upside down. We made it through many twists and turns and I truly believe we are where we’re meant to be at this point in time, however I still feel that I could have done more. I didn’t lose much weight after giving birth and I didn’t get far on a novel at all (I did a lot of development, though).

This year, I decided to go all out with the resolutions. I’m determined to make next year a more productive year when it comes to writing (and other areas). Here are a few of my goals:

#1: Write a novel.

I mean legitimately WRITE one. Like the rough draft, all the in-between drafts, and the final draft. I want to be able to self-publish my first novel by 2016. A lofty goal, especially considering my other goals and responsibilities and my track record of never finishing anything, but I’m going to do my very best.

#2: Go back to school.

Trust me, actually getting to that point is going to be hard enough with all the hoops I have to jump through.

#3: Reach my ultimate dream weight.

I’ll tell you what it is once I actually get there.

#4: Stop being lazy.

This one is a little more vague. I have a tendency to blow things off because they’re too hard or I’m too tired to do them, which I think is the heart of my lack of drive and motivation at times. 2015 is not going to be a lazy year. No more sitting on my rear and waiting for things to happen on their own.

#5: Keep focus throughout the year.

Another vague one, but basically it just reiterates everything I just said. I’m not going to get distracted or discouraged from my goals this time. They’re too important. The most important thing I have to focus on is my family, but I shouldn’t let that keep me from doing these other things, too.

Happy New Year to everyone who follows or reads this blog! Cheers and best of luck in 2015!

~A.D.

Happy Halloween!


This is just a quick post for the sole purpose of showing off my adorable son. Seriously, Minion Dave has never been cuter–

369 371

We had an extremely fun night at a small house party and I only had two pieces of candy tonight. (A vast improvement compared to last year, when that number was more like 20… but hey, I was pregnant and craving chocolate)

We don’t really celebrate Halloween in the sense that we don’t go all out and decorate our house with witches and ghosts, but who could pass up the opportunity to dress up your 6-month-old like one of your favorite TV characters? Not me!

Hope that smiling face brightened up your day/evening like it brightens up every single one of my days 🙂

~A.D.

P.S. If you follow this blog, THANK YOU for helping me reach 100+ WordPress followers this past week!!!

For the Judge-y People


I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of humanity hates being judged. It just makes you feel bad. Well I’m from one of the southeastern US states and down here it seems that not only are we constantly judging each other, but the rest of the country (and sometimes the world) is judging us, too.

I have come across so many articles that talk about how “backwards” it is to drop out of college and become a stay-at-home mom (and they make that sound like it’s just a Southern thing. HA! That’s funny…). In all honesty I find the implication that I’m “backwards” completely offensive. I dropped out of college before becoming a stay-at-home mom and the reason for that was because I had zero idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life at the age of twenty and I didn’t want to waste money and time going to school for a program I didn’t even want to be in at the time. After dropping out, I got married and later pregnant and discovered my true calling: loving and caring for my family. Yes I still want to get a degree and I would love to be earning money right now, but being the one who gets to raise my own son trumps all of that. Three years later I’m still going back and forth on what career I would like to have, but I’m working on that in my head while I’m doing laundry, dishes, and other things that I’m happy to be doing for my family.

Here’s my point: If I’m happy with my life, who are you to judge me? What business is it of yours if I don’t have a college degree and stay home with my son instead of working outside of the home? It is my personal choice based on various factors and I’m not sitting here judging you for your choices, believe me. I have way too much to do. If you have enough time to sit around and bad-mouth people who are different from you, I feel sorry for youbecause I have plenty of things in my own life to handle without worrying about anyone else’s, and I like it that way.

So yeah, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to work.

NO JUDGING.

Thank you for putting up with this rant, readers 🙂

~A.D.

Organizing Life


Life tends to = chaos most of the time. Some people appear super orderly with their lives and the rest of us watch in awe with our mouths hanging open because we can’t figure out how they do it. Maybe they do have it all together, or maybe they just look like they do. Either way, I am definitely not one of those people.

I’m currently ignoring my messy house while my son is napping. Bad housewife. *slaps own wrist*

I guess the reason I’m writing this is more for my own personal benefit. I need to organize my priorities because my life is going to get crazy in the spring when I’m a full-time mom, part-time student, part-time employee at a retail store, and part-time writer. I don’t know why I always end up with too much on my plate (happens at buffets all the time) but I’m really worried that that’s going to be the case once I start my classes.

So here it goes… This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I figured I’d just cover the basics.

 

#1 Priority: Family

Sounds like a cliché, but family is definitely #1 on my list. My husband and my son come first no matter what. I decided to only work part-time during evenings and weekends because I refuse to put my son in daycare, especially considering all the day care scandals in the news lately. Unfortunately that takes a toll on my time with my husband, but he has been a good sport about it and we know this phase in our lives is only temporary.

Things that fall under this category–

  • Family time
  • Husband/wife dates (very important)
  • Choosing a job with the right work schedule
  • Keeping up the house
  • Savoring the moment

#2 Priority: Finances

I handle the budget in our house and it can be more challenging than I anticipated when I first started doing it. Deciding where money goes and why is a huge responsibility. Our goal is to purchase the house/land we are currently renting (which is a beautiful and ideal location for us) and in order to do that, we need to pay some stuff off.

Things that fall under this category–

  • Working
  • Sticking to a budget
  • Looking for odd jobs to boost income
  • Couponing
  • Making temporary sacrifices

#3 Priority: Fulfillment

I can’t really explain why I know I’m going to make it in the writing world someday… I just do. So even if I’m just brainstorming in my head as I’m doing the dishes or the laundry, I’m working toward that goal whenever and however I can. I still haven’t really finished a novel or a script yet (the closest I’ve come was basically a novella) but I’m never giving up on this dream because I will never be fully satisfied until I achieve it.

Things that fall under this category–

  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Reading books (for research)
  • School (taking writing/business/psychology courses)
  • Listening to music (for research… hint hint)
  • Watching TV (also for research if I decide to write a script)

#4 Priority: Fun

Everybody needs to take some time to just have fun. I like playing phone and computer games in my downtime. If I have an entire day to devote to it I’ll read a book, because once I’ve started a good book I have to finish it. Unfortunately, I haven’t had many days like that lately. I guess I need to just train myself to put a book down and be patient until the next opportunity I have to read it.

Things that fall under this category–

  • Gaming
  • Listening to music (for fun)
  • Reading books (for fun)
  • Watching TV/movies (for fun)
  • Other entertainment

 

So those are my priorities. What are yours?

 

~A.D.

 

P.S., more hints about my current project to come 😉 And maybe more than just hints if I feel like it!

It’s been FOREVER!


I am sitting here, almost a year and a half after my last post in this blog, and I cannot believe I abandoned my readers for so long. Let me just say I am SO SORRY! Life happened… I ran out of inspiration… You probably all forgot about me but I need to get back into the writing world. I miss it. I CRAVE it.

My baby boy is about to wake up so I have to make this quick… Oh wait! I never told you about him!

Here’s the new addition to my family (with Mommy and Daddy)–

1795635_346210022202363_7712640114703086369_n

So yeah, I’ve been extraordinarily busy obsessing over pregnancy and baby stuff. However, my passion and creativity has finally returned and you’ll never believe what kind of stories I’m writing now… They’re totally different (and hopefully MUCH better).

Sorry to leave you hanging, but I’ll have to tell you more about it next time. Tootles!

~A.D.