October 18, 2022 at 8:19 am #408655
I’ve never shared anything like this online, but I am at a point where I am running out of options, and I am determined to get myself out of the miserable rut I’ve been in for the last three years. My life is one where I’ve had relative successes. I work for myself, I was making good money in my twenties. Although I don’t feel it, many people think of me as smart. Despite very little writing practice, I was given a book deal three years ago. People have found value in the insights and thoughts I’ve shared on social media. It has brought thousands of followers from various sectors, such as famous artists, psychologists, authors, intelligent anonymous accounts, politicians, and the extremely politically engaged.
Considering I am someone who challenges a lot of current ways of thinking around identity, I’ve been met with overwhelming support. Trouble is, now I am writing, I’m finding it incredibly difficult. I feel that I am drowning. For the last three years, I have been waking up in panic attacks, dread, and cold sweats. I think about suicide constantly. I’ve had no solid help with my writing, and I can’t see a way of ever finishing. It has taken so long that the book may even be cancelled, this is something I’ll find out tomorrow, as my publisher cannot wait forever. One part of me feels relieved as I can release myself from the isolation, pressure, and sheer torture the process has been. But I also will feel immense shame if I’m unable to share what I’ve worked on for so long and ultimately believe in. I think I’ll regret not working fast or hard enough. I feel people will think of me as a failure, or perhaps more precisely, I’ll think of myself as a failure. I feel I won’t be able to take my career to the next level. I fear I’ll be a laughingstock amongst some. I feel I will prove that deep down, I don’t know anything, despite countless people insisting I do. I fear I’ll prove myself to be a fraud. As writing has been hard, it has taken away my confidence, self-esteem, and ability to live in peace. The utter difficulty of the process has made me feel worthless and ashamed of myself. I often say “I hate myself” out loud when I had not intended to. It’s so powerful it just slips out of my mouth unintentionally.
Although the fate of my book is currently unknown, I’ve been writing each day. My progress is slower than ideal, but I try to celebrate the fact that despite wanting to die, I keep going. Had I not had the pressure of a deadline, I’d feel proud of my progress. but I have a deadline, and I’ve missed every single one given to me. My slow writing pace makes me feel as if I’m not good enough. I feel I have let my publisher down, who took a chance on someone with no experience.
I suppose I don’t know if I have a direct question, but I wondered if anyone could offer any words of encouragement. Stories of their own where they may have had to contend with failure? Their own struggles with writing? What do you do to help yourself when you feel hopeless and as if your life is falling apart? How to find the confidence you once had?
( I noticed that writing this post came easy and came quickly, and I hate how I can not transfer the same ability to my work)October 18, 2022 at 10:21 am #408666AnonymousGuest
You wrote at the very ending of your original post, in parenthesis: “I noticed that writing this post came easy and came quickly, and I hate how I cannot transfer the same ability to my work“, your work being a book you’ve been writing for the last three years.
I think that the reason the writing of your original post came easy and quickly for you is because here, you presented yourself as a person who needs help (which you do), and you were hoping that perhaps you will be helped, but in regard to writing the book, you needed help for a long time and… no help: “I’ve had no solid help with my writing“.
A person who is in need for help for a long time, and who does not receive any real help, panics: “For the last three years, I have been waking up in panic attacks, dread, and cold sweats. I think about suicide constantly“.
A part of you is okay with the publisher giving up on you (“part of me feels relieved as I can release myself from the… sheer torture the process has been“), but another part of you is not okay with thinking of yourself as a failure and a fraud (“I’ll think of myself as a failure… I fear I’ll prove myself to be a fraud“), and with being thought of as a failure (“I feel people will think of me as a failure… I fear I’ll be a laughingstock amongst some“).
“What do you do to help yourself when you feel hopeless and as if your life is falling apart? How to find the confidence you once had?“-
– when you wrote your original post here, you did it with honesty and humility: you expressed your feelings honestly and you humbly asked for help. On the other hand, before and/ or during the process of writing the book (seems to me), you lost your honesty and humility and imagined that you were supposed to be a super person/ super writer because people thought that you were super (“many people think of me as smart…People have found value in the insights and thoughts I’ve shared on social media. It has brought thousands of followers from various sectors, such as famous artists, psychologists, authors,…I’ve been met with overwhelming support“), so you were driven to produce a super, perfect book and fell short.
If I am correct in my understanding so far, I’d say: get that honesty and humility back to the writing/ completion of the book, perhaps add a… humble preface. With exceptional honesty and humility, your book will indeed be super!
anitaOctober 18, 2022 at 10:46 am #408667
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I think your summary is correct. During this process, I’ve been caught up in what I believe others think of me instead of embracing who I truly am. I’ve been trying to satisfy other people to the point of disappointing myself. I believe honesty and humility are key, and indeed this is why the original message, as well as this reply, is so easy to write. Here, I’m not thinking about what anyone else, their expectations or their judgements. I’m solely focused on what I wish to communicate, and so writing feels as natural as speaking. Even the act of writing the original post and pressing send was cathartic. Putting my fears out into the world wide web rather than a journal only I can see was helpful. It removed the secrecy and shame that have become all too familiar. It gave me a reason to reach out and connect with other people rather than tormenting myself with thoughts of self-loathing. Today is my first day on this website. I decided to join because I found a post that was relatable and realised there was a massive community of people sincerely sharing difficult parts of their journey. It made me feel less alone. And this post, Anita has been really helpful. I am keen to get back to writing and implementing the honesty and humility I have lost sight of trying to be ‘super’.
Thank you Anita.October 18, 2022 at 11:13 am #408670AnonymousGuest
You are very welcome and welcome to the forums. I hope that you post again any time you feel the need.
For a few years, your focus has moved away from who you truly are and what you wish to communicate to who you think other people are and what you thought they wish you to communicate. I wish you success in returning your focus to where it belongs, in your mind-and-heart and in your writing/ professional pursuits!
anitaOctober 24, 2022 at 11:56 am #408988AnonymousGuest
How are you, Dionne?
anitaOctober 26, 2022 at 8:41 am #409058
Thank you for checking back in with me. It means a tremendous amount.
I am feeling better. Writing is still difficult, but I am putting less pressure on myself and remembering much that is worth having is hard to produce. Previously, I made the mistake of linking my self-worth to my ability to write and as I struggled, I lost all confidence and esteem. Trying not to compare myself to others is also helpful. It doesn’t matter how quickly, easy or therapeutic other people find writing, I simply am not those people. I am learning a big part of writing is self-acceptance, anything but will make the process unbearable and paralysing. I’m sick of feeling awful so I am deciding I won’t anymore and am doing the best i can to cultivate an environment of self-compassion and patience.
Thank you again, Anita,
Dionne xOctober 26, 2022 at 9:15 am #409059AnonymousGuest
You are very welcome. I am glad to read that you are feeling better and that you are doing your best to cultivate self-compassion and patience!
“Writing is still difficult, but I am putting less pressure on myself“- recently, I picked lots of apple from many, many trees in an apple orchard, and found out that some of the apples rot while still on the trees. The main cause for the rot is candida, a fungal disease that affects apples and other fruit. Why am I telling you this? Because I think that Pressure does to Creativity what Candida does to Apples.
“Previously, I made the mistake of linking my self-worth to my ability to write“- if you go back in time to your first decade of life… do you remember what you linked back then to your self-worth?
“It doesn’t matter how quickly, easy or therapeutic other people find writing, I simply am not those people. I am learning a big part of writing is self-acceptance“- going back in time (and only if you wish to do so), what was so difficult for you to accept back then, about yourself?
* Feel free to not answer my questions, I am not entitled to answers. But maybe it will help you to answer..?
anitaOctober 27, 2022 at 5:21 pm #409148
Hey Writer –
I’m glad you are feeling a little better. I so admire that you are writing a book! I know how it is to have fear and anxiety over producing something. I experienced the same thing as a teacher and now as an artist. I just have a deep fear of making a mistake, for one. With teaching it was also the stress of the deadline (being prepared for every class).
I realize you don’t need to hear this, but you write very well! Also, and this may be strange, but I would be willing to help you a little if you need it. I used to work for a publishing company as an editor. I am good at organization and coming with ideas for further development. I don’t know if that would be of any help. I’ll send you my email if it is of interest. I also just need to connect with real people as I have worked from home for so long and am pretty cut off.
CSOctober 28, 2022 at 4:16 am #409152
Thank you for such a generous message. It’s times like this when you realise the beauty of the internet, which can often be lost in the sea of social media cruelty. Tiny Buddha is a wonderful and sincere community, and I’m really grateful I have found this space. In many ways, adulthood seems to be a constant lesson in overcoming one’s anxieties. The stakes are raised as our livelihoods depend on our capabilities, so it’s no surprise that your work as a teacher and artist brings a lot of stress. I’d love to speak to you about the book, and if you could offer any help or support, that would be much appreciated. I love to connect with people, and I truly understand what it’s like to feel cut off, even when there are so many people around. Please send your email address, and we can take it from there.October 28, 2022 at 2:22 pm #409180
Here is a business email that I respond to. I just don’t want to post my personal email for everyone to see :-). I look forward to hearing from you!
CSOctober 28, 2022 at 2:22 pm #409181
microgoldusa.gmail.comOctober 28, 2022 at 2:23 pm #409182