On worries and coping

This post’s full of me; if you’re not interested then please go read some of Fox Spirit’s short fiction, considering contributing to the Grimbold Patreon to get more Grim & Bold comics (trust me, they’re adorable), or just give someone close to you a hug!

Well, anxiety is kicking my butt at the moment. I’ve been bad for a few months but over the last week, the not-feeling-great has just gone into overdrive and last Thursday, I broke. It’s the worst I’ve been for several years; I didn’t dare leave the bed because I was suicidal, and I just wanted everything to go away. The worst of it passed after a few hours, luckily, but it was terrifying at the time. I’m grateful to a friend helping as much as he could, but when I’m that bad there isn’t really anything anyone can do because I simply don’t believe them: I’m too far down in the darkness for the light to have any comfort. I’m just glad that it did pass; I’ve been there before and I don’t really want to have to climb out of that again.

Since then, I’ve had anxiety and worry swamping everything; I’ve been unsettled, jittery, not sleeping well and not coping well. I’m second-guessing everything I post – even this took some serious courage. I’m having to force myself onto social media because I don’t want to see what everyone’s saying or doing. I’m feeling swamped and overwhelmed by the amount there is to do on the house, and I’m feeling useless and not-good-enough with friends and writing. In short, my brain is being an absolute idiot, and I’m sinking despite doing my best to stay afloat.

Everything was made harder by a misunderstanding with something I said that I’m still angry and upset about, because it just reinforced my feeling of Saying The Wrong Thing and I Can’t Win. I did what I could to explain, and I’ve just avoided the whole situation since for fear of making it – and myself – worse. But it was a frustrating reminder that even when I try my hardest I still offend someone, and it hit hard when it really shouldn’t have.

Partly the anxiety is work; I’ve been feeling useless for months and having finally made the decision to quit, the thought of trying to do something else has meant 18 month’s worth of anxiety has swamped me. If I’m not good enough to be a simple customer services rep, what chance have I got for anything else? I can’t do enough web dev to be useful to anyone and the IT world has made that clear. I don’t know if I’d cope with another boring admin job. I’m jack-of-all-trades and I’m not good enough to do any one of them.

And partly it’s just life. I’m walking on shifting sands, uncertain of what I’m doing or what I want to happen, feeling useless and overwhelmed by a lot of things that aren’t my fault or I can’t take responsibility for, but that I do feel to blame for. I’ve got too many ‘shoulds’ and ‘coulds’ and arguments in my brain that I have to fight back against every single day for me to be able to work out what I really think or feel, or what the best course for me is going to be. It’s not a lot of fun, and rationality and logic – my chief weapons – will only go so far.

But I’m still fighting.

I’m coming to BristolCon, even though I’m terrified I’m going to get overwhelmed and break and let people down. I’m doing NaNoWriMo, and I’m going to attend events and write all the words. I’m trying to make plans for the house and take that one step at a time. I’m finding things to write and talking to my alpha readers, and just continuing on with projects even though I don’t think they’re good enough. I’m feeling small and ugly and useless and stupid and weak, but I’m fighting back with everything I can.

ManateeSo if you see me and I don’t have much to say, it’s not because I hate you. If I don’t remember something important, remind me. If I haven’t been around recently or you’re waiting for me to do something, let me know. I’m retreating into my own head at the moment because the world’s gotten too overwhelming, and I need a thread sent in to remind me that everything out there does still exist and does still require me to Do Stuff, even if it is just Exist.

There isn’t really much anyone can do to help – if you say something nice to me I probably won’t believe you (thanks, brain) – but if you do want to do ~something~ then pay it forward. Go and compliment someone else, leave a book review for whatever you read last, write a nice comment on a post, or give someone a manatee (guaranteed to cheer anyone up!) I’m too far down at the moment to greatly appreciate kindness, but spread some around, because it will help someone else.

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.