#Reverb15, Day 7:
In her seminal book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott offers the observation: “The evidence is in, and you are the verdict.” What are you the verdict of?
I took risks this year. I promoted myself and my writing in ways that I never have before. I redesigned my website. I did things that I avoided because I dread being the center of attention; I don’t like appearing show-offy. And yet I took a deep breath and did it. Just breathe, I told myself. Nothing can be so bad as long as I just breathe.
Of course, I would have rather stayed in bed and hid. Book promotion and marketing is not easy on any given day but it feels harder when struggling with mental illness. Anxiety and depression has to be navigated between book launch parties and giveaways. Fighting off panic while finishing an interview on time is a strange motivator — get through the last two questions and then you can fall apart. Switching medications in the middle of a month-long promotion campaign was probably not ideal planning.
It turns out that nothing falls apart when you need a day off from the noise. Twitter still streams, Facebook still memes, and the blogosphere still maintains itself without you. I can’t speak for everyone with anxiety disorders or PTSD but I can speak for myself: I need space and quiet to defragment my noggin. I can fully testify that this is was the year that I demanded space for my head. If I didn’t have room in my mind to just breathe I would set myself up for serious anxiety meltdowns. If I need to disappear I will do it, sometimes with no explanation.
I am not the best in taking care of myself physically. I will let myself get run down or exhausted to the point of babbling. However when it comes to my emotional and mental health I have learned that I have to be a gladiator in protecting my boundaries. If I won’t do it who will do it for me? Exactly — nobody will. I have to be my own advocate.
So that’s it; I’ve read my verdict. Emotional and mental health is most important even while taking risks. It’s always important to remember to just breathe.