An Introvert’s Guide to Surviving 2018

I am not a fan of doing inventory at the end of the year. But, as this time of the year seems to being kicking me in the rear, I’m going to do as a form of self care. Who knows? It might help.

This year has been such a roller-coaster, although I have to admit that 2016 and 2017 have sort of merged together for me. In 2016 I lost my brother and somehow when that happens, time changes as well.

I hate it when the 14th comes around because I will wake up and immediately think, “It has been an x amount of months since he passed.” That’s not to say that I don’t think about him any other day, because I do. His smiling face is one of the first things I see when I wake up and it’s both comforting and incredibly painful. But, on the 14th the hurts is bigger than the comfort. And that’s okay. It’s life. And sometimes…life sucks.

2017 has now become the year in which my relationship ended. A painful process, no matter how thankful I am for the memories I made with her. I am glad that her and I were able to remain friends, even while we’re still smack in the middle of processing this newfound friendship.

I feel like this year I have struggled more than ever with my anxiety and depression. While it’s something I have struggled with my entire life, this year it felt like a brutal illness. As much as I hate to admit it, my anxiety and depression gets so bad at times that I find it hard to see what the point of it all is. A part of me knows there is a point, but the biggest part of my brain tries to convince me otherwise. It’s an intense battle that I’m determined to win and I pray to who-the-fuck-ever that it will be easier in 2018.

I am still learning that taking medicine regularly actually helps.  I have learned that I am not nor ever will be cut out for group therapy. And, I have learned that every time a therapist tells you, “I have something to tell you,” it triggers my anxiety as badly as if a loved one would tell me that.

It took me a very, very long time to get used to my therapist. It’s been about two years and when I finally thought I felt I could be open enough, she announced that she was leaving. I am not ashamed to talk about seeing a therapist. It’s a healthy thing to do and it does help me, but every time I make progress with it, there seems to be something that kicks it back a notch. I will be meeting my new, temporary, therapist in a couple of days and I’m both looking forward to and dreading it.

Recently I was talking to a friend when she pointed something out to me that kind of nailed everything on its head. It was something I hadn’t really thought about before and it’s given me a lot to think about.

She mentioned that it seemed as if I was letting fear holding me back. She was talking about it in relation to my writing, but I realized it applies to many more things than that.

I am scared to death that people will not want to read my books, so I don’t write.
I don’t write and get extremely disappointed in myself for not doing so.
I get disappointed and can only think about other people being disappointed in me as well.
The thought of disappointing people makes me isolate myself.
Isolating myself kicks off my depression and it becomes a viscous cycle that constantly repeats itself.

I find it hard to reach out to people because I also find it hard to open up to people. Talking to people exhausts me. That may sound weird, but it’s true. It takes so much of what little energy I have to talk to people, that it’s easier to just…not talk at all.

Not talking to people makes me feel lonely and feeling lonely gets me depressed and I’m back in the damn cycle.

I know that it won’t always be like this. I know it, but I don’t always believe it. Like I said, I am constantly having to fight my own thoughts and it’s exhausting. For a while, before my brother died, I got really good at it.

Whenever I had a bad thought, I would think about whether it was true. Most of the time it wasn’t and I was able to see the truth. I’ve lost touch with that now and hopefully I can get back to it.

We’re one day away from 2018 and it scares me to death. I’m starting the year depressed, anxious, lonely and single. Not the best start when people constantly say that a new year brings new chances.

I am a visual person. When I think of 2018, I see it as an actual time line. And all I can think is, it’s about 7 months until I turn 33 and by then I need to have stuff figured out. But, it doesn’t work that way. This process is going to take as long as it takes and somehow, I think that in one way or another, it will always be a part of me.

That being said, I don’t want to start 2018 being scared. I don’t want fear to hold me back, but I’m not sure how to not let it.

Last night I designed a cover for my new novel. For a couple of hours I was satisfied, happy and proud of myself for doing something that helped me. And then I woke up this morning, back in the same hellhole as always.

So, I wrote this. I am trying to reach out in the only way I know how: writing. Not that I expect people to fix it for me, they can’t. But this is my life and now you know it too.

I want 2018 to be better.
I want to have friends that I can go see in person, rather than always having to rely on people on the other side of an ocean who aren’t always there when I need them.
I want to beat this depression, this social anxiety and this constant battle against doubting my self-worth.
I want to wake up happy and be thankful that I’m alive.
I want to write books without thinking I can’t do it.
I want to find a publisher who’s excited to publish it.
I want to move out of this prison of a studio and move into an actual house with a separate bedroom.
I want a dog.
I want to take my medicine 365 days in a row because it helps.

So, you see. I want many things, but fear holds me back. I’m going to work on it. Somehow. But for now, I’m going to be brave and publish this.

And hey. I wrote more this week than I probably have in the last couple of months. That is something to be proud of, no matter how hard it all has been.

I’ll end this with your mandatory ‘end of year’ quote. May it inspire you, but more importantly (sorry), may it inspire me.

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”



One thought on “An Introvert’s Guide to Surviving 2018

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  1. You don’t have to have it all worked out by 33 it took me until I was 45 to get anywhere close to being happy, settled and “sorted”. Take care of yourself and know that you are not a disappointment and you will have one reader in me always. Hope 2018 gives you all that you want. X

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