Thursday, December 31, 2015

Depression & Stress: Good Riddance, 2015!

Good evening, my lovely followers.

It has been too long since I've posted here. I believe my last post was in November. I am embarrassed of how far behind I am with this blog, and the promises and dates that I was unable to keep. I'd first like to apologize for that. To any author, blog tour service, blogger, or anyone else that I scheduled on my blog the past few months and was unable to deliver: I am sorry. It is unprofessional, and I hope to move forward into 2016 on good terms with all of you.

Why have I been gone?

In short? Depression is a bitch. It is something that I have been battling for over a decade. I have good days, I have bad days. This fall semester I fell into the worst "funk" I have ever been in in my entire life. I did not want to leave my bed. I did not want to leave my room. I didn't want to shower or eat or do anything. I was like a zombie; sleeping and playing Farmville. It's laughable a bit, now that I'm on a mood upswing, but it was terrible for me.

People have a misconception that depression is simply being sad. Or that it's not debilitating. That it's easy to tell someone "just shower and go to class" or "just cheer up and be happy" or the worst of them all "but you have nothing to be sad about". That is not how disorders work. I know, logically, that I am not supposed to feel this way. But depression can be crippling. The thought of doing something as little as getting out of bed to make a cup of tea seems Herculean. Which then made me feel worse, like worse a failure. Because oh my god, how useless are you, you can't even get out of bed. Which then made me more depressed. It is a vicious cycle. And it is one that I didn't get shaken out of me until the beginning of December. It started in September. That is three months of drowning in my own hatred and self-loathing. It wasn't until I saw my girlfriend, at Thanksgiving, that I started to pull out of it.

I'd like to segue off-topic for a moment to express my appreciation for the aforementioned girlfriend. I do not know what I would do without Emily. This is not just me being romantic, this is not a hypothetical "oh heavens where would I be without love!?". I honestly do not know that I would be alive. When my mind is a violent hurricane trying to tear me apart piece by piece from the inside out, she is the anchor that keeps me grounded from the storm. She is so patient, caring, and understanding of me and my disorders. I don't know how she puts up with me, or why, but I know that on more than one occasion, she has saved my life. How she sets aside her own demons in order to play with mine, I am not sure I will ever really know. I don't think I tell her enough, but I will do so here: Thank you. For dealing with my depression, my anxiety, the panic attacks, the misophonia, the compulsive acts. I'm so embarrassed by all of it, but you act like nothing is wrong with me. You make me feel like there's nothing wrong with me. And words will never be enough to thank you. But I can promise you, like you promised me with garnets and onyx, that I will live every day trying to be what you deserve. I don't know what I did in a past life to deserve you, but Christ am I glad I did it, whatever it was.

Anyway, once Thanksgiving rolled around, I started to waken. It was not unlike how you picture a bear coming out of its hibernation in the spring. It started with baby steps, and eventually I was back in the swing of things. And then came round two of panic: making sure my grades and work were okay. This involved lots of stress, a few panic attacks, and lots of lost sleep, mixed with constant meetings with professors and advisers.

I'm happy to say, my grades were great and I'm still perfectly on course to graduate. That huge stress-causer is finally lifted.

I came home to the Chicagoland, and to my family. And that was the last burst of fresh air I needed to clear away the fog. I stepped away from the computer to enjoy my family. We had relatives come in from New Jersey and, further still, from Colombia. We celebrated Christmas Eve with a nice party as we do every year. We ate tons of ham and cookies, I drank probably a bit too much Jack. We exchanged gifts on Christmas morning, where I was spoiled and blessed with much more than I anticipated. Today is New Year's Eve, and I have declined partying with friends to stay with this family that has supported me through so much. Tomorrow, my sister and I will be spending some much needed girl time exploring Chicago, seeing a play, and trying a new wine bar for dinner. And I can't wait. This Christmas has felt like the best of my life, probably because of the darkness I had been in before. The drinks seem sweeter. The lights seem brighter. The tree seems sparklier. This has been a very happy holiday indeed.

Now what does this mean for Bitches n Prose?

I will be back to my cheery old self, I hope. I am not going to jump back in all at once, but once more you will be seeing blog tours, reviews, and giveaways posted to this blog, at least once a week. That much I can promise you.

I have reviews to write in the coming days for books such as Splintered by AG Howard, Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler, and Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Some good, some bad.

And now, my readers, I want to thank you. Thank you for putting up with my staggered emails. Thank you for dealing with my moody DMs on Twitter or Instagram. Thank you for staying my followers when it would have been so easy to unfollow. Thank you for checking in on me, those of you who did, to make sure that I'm still alive and kicking.

I hope you all have a very fun and safe New Year. I hope 2016 is your best year yet. May your books be free of love triangles, may your movies be like the books, may your cocoa be rich, and your household be healthy.

Bunches of love,
Jillyn <3