With a flip of the calendar’s page, we’re into August and the lazy days of summer are coming to an end. I can already feel a difference in the air today. And the leaves on a tree over by the lake are beginning to turn. Happens every August, yet I’m always caught off-guard.
Being caught off-guard seems to be a theme for me this summer.
As you know, my book, Smiling on the Outside: Secrets, Sex, Shame and the Search for Self-Love came out in June. I was most definitely caught off-guard (and blessed) to be given the opportunity to hold an author event, complete with reading, discussion, and book signing at the second-largest bookstore in the world, located in the heart of Manhattan: Barnes & Noble Union Square. It was the experience of a lifetime!
Since returning home from NYC, I’ve found myself caught off-guard again and again.
Anxiety and depression hit me like a ton of bricks upon my return, and I walked around in a daze for weeks. I felt lost, unsure of myself and spent a great deal of time crying and hiding under my covers – even after the “post-book release” let down was gone.
I didn’t understand what was happening or why it was happening.
To everyone around me, I was at the top of my game. My NYC author event is the stuff writer’s dream about, and before my book’s release, I had already won four national and international book awards. It was a number one new release and best-seller from the start and sold more books in the first few days than most self-published authors sell over the lifetime of their book.
My book was reaching people, exactly as I believed it would.
I had achieved a dream I’d had since I was a little girl. I was an author. I had written a book and it was really good. So good, in fact, the Big Mama of book reviewers, Publisher’s Weekly sent my book out for review. MY book. Caught off-guard AGAIN!
So why, with all these wonderful things happening, was I curled up in a ball under my covers? Why were the old feelings of anxiety and depression infiltrating my otherwise pulled-together life? I’ve learned it’s never just one thing that triggers these feelings, and this time, when taking a closer look at my situation, it became obvious. Fear and self-doubt were present.
In this case, it wasn’t the fear of being seen or being known. Given the content of my book and all the personal disclosures I make, it was too late to be afraid of that. No, this time, the fear and self-doubt were connected to success, resulting in the return of my sneaky old friends, anxiety, and depression.
We don’t like to talk about anxiety and depression, even when we know they’re impacting our work performance or home life, but that’s exactly why we need to open up about these experiences. When these things catch us off-guard, talking about them removes their hold on us.
So the next time your sneaky old friends, anxiety, and depression, show up like the stray cat you thought you’d gotten rid of, tell someone. With more than 60%* of women over age 18 experiencing anxiety, you’ll quickly discover you’re not alone, and you’re not the only one! And knowing that makes everything a little more manageable.
*From my research with over 1,000 women in the United States.