It’s Ok to Not be Ok – Blogging with Anxiety & Depression – #OpenLetter

Dear World,

Being a book blogger, or any kind of blogger is hard. It’s long hours, it’s getting the right lighting for that perfect picture, it’s tweeting, re-sharing, liking…the list is endless. For some, it is their full time job.

Full disclosure; I have suffered with anxiety and depression since my early teens. A combination of a dysfunctional family and bullying at school was a recipe for the person you see before you today. A constant daily struggle of wondering if people are talking about me, have I pissed anyone off and so on.

Reading has always been able to calm me down. Reading is my solace. Reading is my escape from everything. Sitting down with my book and escaping into another world.

Looking for an outlet for my love of books and the genre, I made the plunge with three of my closest friends and The P.Turners Book Blog was born! So much excitement, happiness and determination was poured into the blog to get it ready to share with the world. I noticed a change in my mood almost overnight. I was excited to sit and read and then share my reviews. Being invited onto my first blog tour at the end of 2016 was a personal highlight.

The shift then happened as fast as a car crash. All of the feelings of self doubt, feeling worthless, worrying about being accepted, the pressure of conveying my reviews in the best way. I started to feel suffocated, but as with most sufferers of anxiety and depression I know, I didn’t let it show. For those on the outside, I was riding the wave and enjoying every minute of it. Behind the scenes, I am stressing about what little time I had to complete a review, then would this review even be good enough?

More recently – I have noticed that I haven’t been invited on some upcoming blog tours. Now most bloggers may look at this and think “Oh well, maybe next time.” My mind likes to attack me. Watching other bloggers receive their books, I start to feel worthless again. Why was I not chosen? Is it me? Have I done something wrong? I know this is not the case and that there simply isn’t enough space for EVERY blogger out there, but that doesn’t stop the feelings this evokes.

Hiding out mode is where I am most comfortable. Hiding away for a few days to get my head right so I can be back on my A-game and bring it everything, When this happens I am then back in the space of “well, I’ve been away for a few days, does anyone care? If no one cares, why do I do it?”. FYI – I HATE feeling like this.

I read this open letter recently and I could relate to every word written. It’s too easy to put on a mask and have people believe you are upbeat and positive, when all you really want to do is hide yourself away and watch repeats of Jeremy Kyle.

People can look at Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat and think you are living this great life and how “happy” you look. What they don’t see are the tears streaming down your face when you realise you have to go and face people and be social. That you will meet people for the first time and have to try and make conversation with you and that you will have NO idea what to say to them. That you spent 30 minutes in the bathroom trying to bring yourself to apply make up….

Well, Halloween has come early this year and it’s about time I showed everyone my real mask. The one that frowns a lot. The one that likes to people watch. The one that looks constantly uncomfortable. The one that cries off events for no other reason than getting in my own head. It’s not pretty…but this is me.

If this letter asks for anything, it will be to bear with me? Bear with me while I still try to figure this game of “life” out. It’s taking me a little longer than most. The most important lesson I have learned…. It IS ok to say that you’re not ok.

Hugs and cups of tea.

Sooz.

AKA -S.

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15 thoughts on “It’s Ok to Not be Ok – Blogging with Anxiety & Depression – #OpenLetter

  1. Sarah Hardy says:

    You are not on your own. I’m very similar to you in that i was bullied at school and in my first job and have suffered with depression on and off. When you are in that dark place it is horrible. Social media i think can be the worst place to be sometimes when you are feeling low. If you manage to figure life out then would love to know. Hugs xx

    Like

    • thepturnersbookblog says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this.
      Completely agree that social media doesn’t help – I’ve had to limit the time I’m spending at the minute 😦
      Terrifying to share something so personal, but it feels rather cathartic at the same time
      xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vicki G says:

    I don’t usually comment on people’s blog posts, but felt an urge to do so here. You sound very much like me. I was bullied at primary school and then in early secondary school, as I wasn’t as confident as most of my peers. Then when I was 13, it all changed as I had an active social life out of school. Then I remained confident in my mid to late teens, at university, in my marriage, my work and social life. I hadn’t actually thought about that bullying for years until I started blogging. Something about blogging, maybe because we’re putting ‘ourselves’ out there, has brought those feelings out again – the anxiety, the mood swings… Maybe it’s also an age thing for me – my kids are now teenagers and finding their own way in the world. Plus the fact that I’m writing fiction (see below). I write for a living and have survived being a freelance journalist for over 20 years. And that’s a tough business. But what I write isn’t personal. It’s not ‘me’. Now I’m writing fiction though – I’ve had rejections recently (one in particular hit me very hard). But I’ve been told I’m a talented writer (even by the people who have rejected me), so I’ve bounced back. Like you, I worry I’m not good enough – I don’t get chosen for certain things, don’t receive certain ARCs… It’s ongoing. It does feel like being in a classroom at times, with all the bitchiness behind the scenes. At one point, I was admin of a FB group and was then bullied off admin, simply because I was the one with a blog that was growing in popularity. I do think social media is largely to blame. I was fine on there when I was reasonably ‘anonymous’ in my own bubble, but now it’s too easy to see what others are doing and how they’re getting on and then feel inferior. To think you’re not really noticed and could easily disappear. I’m much more confident and not at all anxious at home, with my ‘real life’ friends in ‘real life’ situations. People who I know are actually genuine and like me for me.

    Like

    • thepturnersbookblog says:

      Thank you so much!! Social media is a great platform – but completely agree with your comparison of it almost feeling like being back in the classroom. Trying to impress the “cool kids”….

      I just have to concentrate on myself and be a little selfish sometimes xxx

      Like

  3. LizScanlon says:

    Thank you for sharing this open letter. I think a lot of people can relate to his post to varying degrees.
    I also believe that the book blogging community is was one of the coolest and loveliest people online. Don’t ask us to bear with you, you shouldn’t have to ask this- I would like to think, we’ll be here for you no matter what and there will always be people out there (here? 🙂 ) who can offer insight through their own experiences if needed… and this is what it’s all about- sharing that heavy load, being human and offering a kind reassuring word!
    I would like to end with a thought that just popped into my head: nobody has their life figured out. Not even the ones who claim otherwise. Life, although a constant for a certain amount of time, is unpredictable for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thepturnersbookblog says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Liz! I was in two minds as to whether I should be posting something so personal, but I get tired of hiding and putting on false faces. I actually feel happier with full disclosure.

      Big hugs to you xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. if only I could read faster says:

    What a brilliant blog post!! I struggle with anxiety and depression and it does make being a blogger tough. I’m currently considering taking a break because I’m just not sure that I’m strong enough to deal with it right now. Thank you for your brave post. x

    Like

  5. Jen Lucas says:

    Hun, you are definitely not alone. I suffered bullying at school and at home, so much so that I’ve never trusted anyone really wants to know me and my circle of close friends extends as far as my cats and my sister because I don’t wish to foist myself on others. It really is a hard place to be.

    I have been (and still am) exactly where you are. I went to Crime Fest last year which was a massive step for me, especially as I went alone. I didn’t know anyone, I hadn’t even started my blog then. I struggled to talk to people and… I cried in my room every night then shook it off and went to the next set of panels the following day. I hated myself for it but still felt better to be sat in the hotel room in anguish than try and force myself to go ad talk to people I didn’t know. And I’m going back this year. I know a couple of people now who are going but I know I still won’t feel comfortable fitting in to the groups and I will likely run back to my room as soon as panels are over and sit and read. I’m even going to Harrogate where I know I should talk to others but will most likely hide…

    Anxiety, paranoia… however you want to call it, I’ve felt it all. I never believe I’m good enough and I wonder how some people make it look so easy, get so many followers and so much interaction. I also wonder when I see I’ve been blocked by another blogger on Twitter exactly what it is I’m meant to have done (especially as I don’t think I’ve ever interacted with them more than once and that was a retweet or supportive comment or so I thought). Social media is a sad haven for grown up bullying as much as childhood cases and book/blog tour envy is a tough feeling to get over.

    You are right though. It’s okay not to feel okay and it’s okay to call on your fellow bloggers for support. I think that there are more than one or two of us who put on a brave face all of the time and seldom let the real hurting part of us show. But keep going. Your blog is brilliant, don’t ever doubt that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thepturnersbookblog says:

      Jen. This.
      I can relate 100%. Typing away is pretty easy and I feel that I can communicate a lot clearer and better…but face to face with new people fills me with such anxiety that all I want to do is scream and run away!

      I’ve come to Newcastle for the Newcastle Noir event this weekend…on my own. It’s great to get some breathing space away from “normal life” – I actually had the best nights sleep in a long time last night. But I am now sat here kind of dreading going to the event as I know I will see a couple of people that I know. But as with your experience, I am keen to head to the panels and try and enjoy myself.

      I am keen to head to Harrogate this year as well – I only live just outside Bradford so a perfect bus ride away. If I see you, I’ll just give you a big hug and we can sit in silence with a cup of tea if you fancy? 🙂

      I received another comment from someone saying that sometimes social media feels like we are back in the classroom and it is so true. I still feel like that kid who is trying to impress the “cooler kids”

      I just hope that my post sparks another blogger to tell their story and have a wider conversation. Big hugs xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Clair B says:

    What a great, frank and honest post. I too suffer with anxiety and depression and go through moments like yours. I’ve had a similar experience of being missed off a blog tour and my mind went into absolute overdrive which was eating away at me. When in reality it wasn’t personal at all. Once I talked it through, I gained perspective however it is so hard to articulate it.

    The thing I struggle with at the moment is feeling passed over, be that lists of fabulous bloggers or tags/meme where other bloggers are nominated. Nothing like a tag to feel like no one is reading your blog!! 🙂

    You are most definitely not alone but so brave in putting it out there xx

    Liked by 1 person

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