Dear Lovely Grimms,
This letter marks the end of my hiatus, which I am excited about. I am so thankful and appreciative of the fact so many of you continued to visit GrimmGirl, even though new content was scarce.
I know when I originally started my hiatus I really didn’t give much of an explanation. I alluded to the fact I was stressed and needed to take time to build up posts but it was actually much deeper than that.
Something that I don’t discuss very often is the fact that I have Depression and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I was diagnosed in high school although I have struggled with it since middle school. I have been able to live my life medication free since my second year of college but in order to do that I have had to become very aware of what I need in order to work through depressive episodes.
I have also had to learn how to manage my anxiety on a daily bases. I’m incredible lucky that I have a very strong support system in my husband and close family members but I still have to be aware of my triggers and the warning signs.
My hiatus had a lot to do with my struggles with anxiety and depression. During these past view months I have been dealing with a lot of stress. This stress is of course a trigger in itself. My husband and I are in the process of adopting our second child and on top of blogging I was working three jobs. We are also looking into buying our first home. The adoption and house thing is of course exciting and I love to blog but depression doesn’t take into consideration the things you enjoy.
If you have lived with depression or know someone who has struggled with depression then you probably recognize your (or that persons) signs when they’re falling towards a depressive episode. I could recognize mine.
I realized that I needed to cut back.
Due to my depression I was having difficulties writing for GrimmGirl, I couldn’t find the motivation, which led to more anxiety, which of course just feeds the depression. I wasn’t sleeping because of all of my jobs and also because I have a really hard time sleeping when stressed. This of course just makes me feel worse. I was also worried about the adoption and buying a house. The anxiety of these things caused me to begin to hyper fixate on them.
This is never a good sign.
If left unchecked my depression can of course lead to suicidal thoughts and my GAD can lead to insomnia, severe panic attacks, migraines, and obsessive thoughts. My goal as a person who lives with these disorders is to avoid the severe symptoms as much as possible. So when my family or I start noticing warning signs we take action quickly.
I knew I needed to take some time to get myself back to a healthy place. I quit my bartending job, re-organized my hours at my normal job, and started to rely more on my co-director for my afterschool job. If you have dealt with depression then you understand the necessity of having to sometimes lean on others for help. It can be very hard to do and it took me years to be able to do it but I can now understand how healthy it is to accept help from others.
It is okay and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
I also stopped writing regularly for GrimmGirl. I needed to get into a mindset where writing was enjoyable again. The thing with depression is that it has away of taking things that you really love doing and making them unbearable. So I stopped everything and tried to make my goal more manageable.
I love OWLS and everything the group stands for so writing once a month for our tours helped me to find enjoyment again with my writing but in a very low pressure way. Coming out of a depressive episode isn’t easy, but writing is a helpful way for me to do it. I just need to be able to do it in a way that benefits my mental health.
This is why I was able to continue my OWLS posts.
As I write this I’m about two weeks away from the end of my hiatus and during this two-month hiatus I have only written three posts in addition to what I’m writing now. Two of them were OWLS posts; only one is actually a scheduled post for April. I mention this to highlight how long it can take a person to work through a depressive episode and how it is able to take the things you truly love and make you feel incapable of enjoying them.
I began this hiatus at the end of January and it is only now (the middle of March) that I finally feel like really blogging again. I know this site has taken a hit when it comes to my posting regularly, responding to comments, and even looking at my fellow bloggers work and I wanted everyone to understand why.
I also wanted to talk about it because it is something I have a really hard time talking about outside of my close family members. That might sound strange but even though this is really hard for me to discuss I want to start being more open about it. I know that if I hadn’t felt so guilty and shameful about it growing up I would have been able to find help a lot sooner, but I was scared and I felt abnormal… Like I was disappointing everyone.
BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE
If, like me you deal with depression/anxiety or any mental health disorder just know you are not disappointing. I wish growing up I had known how many people this affects and that it was talked about more openly.
So even though it is difficult for me I want to start trying to be more open about this subject in order to help others and myself fight the stigma of mental illness.
I will always live with depression and GAD and that’s okay. It’s okay because that’s part of who I am and it isn’t a bad thing. On my good days I like to believe it helps me to be a more empathetic person and that my GAD helps me to think of things from multiple perspectives. I try to be optimistic. To remind myself that acknowledging my depression and GAD is not a sign of weakness. Even though it is really hard I want to find the good things about myself. I want to accept myself.
Somedays (or weeks) are harder then others and when that happens I’ll need to take time away to work through that but that’s okay. It’s okay. I hope that if you are dealing with something like this or similar you are at a point where you realize that it’s okay for you too, because it is.
Thank you all again for supporting me
I’m excited to start writing again and I think you will all really enjoy the future posts. I can’t wait to start creating again. It feels good to want to do the things I love.