We all deal with stress in our lives. Working, paying bills, keeping up with housework, raising children and more are all stressful parts of being adults. Sometimes extra stressors are thrown unexpectedly in our lives, and we must work our way through them. For those with mental illness, stressors can worsen the illness and turn into a depression episode, anxiety attack, or a major breakdown.
Before the fourth of July, I sent my book to a fellow author, Susan Gable, to be formatted and the rest of the cover to be finished. I didn’t realize how much goes into preparing my book for publication. Susan has worked hard on my manuscript, sending me files to check over for errors. When she sent me the first version, I was so excited to see what a wonderful job she did, I didn’t notice a few errors. There was a glitch Susan had to work on, but it looked wonderful. Once the glitch was fixed the best it could be, I noticed the dedication and endorsements were missing from the beginning. So, I told Susan. She fixed that. Then my website was missing in the About the Author section. Susan fixed that.
While formatting my memoir Susan noticed a typo and suggested I find someone to look for more errors. I contacted someone I knew who does editing, but I couldn’t afford her prices. I know her prices are well worth the work she’d put into it, but times have been hard. We’ve been just able to pay our bills and put food in our cupboards. I saved money for my book launch party by selling my woodburnings, but I didn’t have enough to pay someone to look for typos.
What was I going to do? I couldn’t afford to pay someone to proofread, and I wanted my book to be good. I worked so hard on this book and I didn’t want it to be a flop. I started stressing about whom to ask and what to do next. With stress comes obsessive worrying, anxiety, struggles sleeping, depression episodes, and break downs.
One night I hurt the daughter of a good friend unintentionally by posting something that upset her. When I tried to apologize, it backfired on me and she blocked me on social media. I didn’t think what I posted would hurt someone. Matter of fact when I’m in an emotional episode I don’t think I just react. I then called my friend, leaving a message that I screwed up things with her daughter and I pretty much said she be better off if our friendship were over, and we never talked again. I left the message in tears while my emotions were taking over. I was too emotional to think clearly and to take in consideration of what I was saying and doing.
Luckily my friend Cheryl knows me well and what I’m like during an emotional episode. She was able to explain things to my friend and we were able to fix our friendship and put my irrational phone call behind us.
I posted on Pennwriters’ online group looking for someone to help with proofreading, but I got no answer. This made my stress grow. My friend and fellow memoir writer, Amy, brainstormed on whom we could ask. Amy suggested a friend of hers who did a beta read of my manuscript. I contacted her. She agreed and said she could have it done in ten days. Was ten days enough time to get my book uploaded to Amazon and 100 copies printed for my book launch party? My chest ached. I felt like my throat was tightening up. Tears threatened to fall, and I got sick.
My niece is in town from North Carolina. She’s staying with family in my hometown a half hour away. On my way to get her I ran into a traffic jam. My chest throbbed and my throat tightened more. My stress grew. I screamed as loud as I could to release the tension. When I picked up my niece, I forced my worries to the back of my mind and focused on her. My niece and I went to lunch, hung out and talked. This helped calm my nerves. Later that night I kept myself from thinking about my book by doing some woodburnings.
Then my proofreader contacted me that it would take longer than ten days to finish my manuscript. My stress spiked. I lay in bed struggling to sleep. If it took more than ten days, my book would not be able to be uploaded and copies sent to me in time for my book launch party. My worry about having it done in time just kept growing.
I told my husband Lou everything was hopeless. My book would never be done in time. I screwed up. I should have planned my book launch party further ahead. I should have listened to Amy and have someone proofread it one more time before I sent it for formatting. I screw everything up. Lou wrapped his arms around me and said things will be fine. Amy said pray and believe God will work things out.
I messaged Susan asking her what she thinks I should do then I went to work. I felt like crying at work. I wanted to go home but knew I couldn’t. I went to the rest room and peeked at my phone Susan said if my proofreader did up to chapter 15, she would do to chapter 16 and on. My worries calmed. I finally had a solution. I was able to relax and finish the rest of my day at work. After work my husband and I went to a festival and to dinner.
Keeping busy doing other things than focusing on my book helped me cope with my stress and out of control emotions. By coping I kept myself from hitting the bottom of the hole. I struggled, but I found ways to help deal with the many feelings and symptoms of my stress. If you’re dealing with stress, find ways to cope and to work your way through it without hitting the bottom of that dark hole of hopelessness.
Coping with my stress, leaning on my support system, and faith will help me deal and cope with the stress of getting my book published and other stressors in my life. Because I continue to cope, I stand in the light of recovery determined to keep above the hole.