My mother and I recently had a very eye-opening conversation. It involved my lifelong tendency to set gloriously unachievable goals for myself as well my recent mental health diagnosis from the doctor (bipolar II).
Phew. I haven't really shared that diagnosis with anyone before online — not officially, that is. But there it is. I wasn't keeping it a secret so much as waiting to see if it was true, because I've had so many diagnoses and the only ones I trust are depressed and anxious. I've been bipolar, I've been borderline, I've been OCD, I've been it all, and nothing has stuck. This new one felt real, though, but I wasn't about to go announcing it to the masses until I knew.
So this conversation with my mother, it was in mid-December, and it was about New Years' Resolutions, and it was about Bipolar II, which includes episodes of hypomania, which involves feeling invincible. Feeling like you can take on the world, no problem, easy peasy. Write a book a month? No freaking problem, buddy. Cause you're the king of the world. Conqueror. Hero. Borderline almighty.
Until all that energy fizzles out. You hit a roadblock. Someone says no. Your bottle of prescription meds is empty and the pharmacy is closed and the weather is cold so instead of getting a refill you crawl into bed and you sleep and it's been 24 hours since you took your meds and, well, shit.
A whole nasty cycle begins, and now you're not on top of the world but being buried alive in the center of the Earth, and it takes every ounce of strength to claw your way out. Fingernails broken and covered in dirt and you can taste blood in your mouth but at least you're not buried anymore, right?
Until next time.
So what does that have to do with writing? What does that have to with getting 100 rejections in 2018? What does that have to do with anything related to Operation Awesome?
The thing is, so much of last year was coming in and out of Bipolar II cycles. From depression to slight hypomanic states to deep, incredibly deep depressive episodes. At the beginning of the year I set these lofty goals for myself and I was so disturbingly confident I would meet them all.
This did not happen. I met not a single one of them.
I wrote no new novels. I did not read 52 books. I did not meet any more of my literary heroes. I did go to book conferences.
Finally, I had made a goal here on this blog that I'd seek 100 Rejections by Dec. 31, 2018.
I'm pretty sure I got to 10? Maybe. If that.
And not because people said yes. Because I didn't ask. I didn't write. I hardly could, it seemed.
But the thing that I did in 2018 is that I survived.
I don't know why last year was so hard for me. I've managed to work full-time, even longer hours, while writing and having a social life and watching TV/reading books. But for some reason, 2018 was the year where all I could do was work and maybe watch TV and read and then be depressed. And the watching TV and reading (I mean, except for the four months when I literally didn't crack the spine, electronic or physical, of a book) was the only way to not be depressed.
Y'all, I promise this is relevant.
Here it is: sometimes you have to reset the clock. You make a goal. You surge forward. And you just...you don't make it. For whatever reason. Maybe it's your fault — maybe you have been dropping the ball lately. Or maybe it's not even your fault.
Life hits us with unexpected circumstances sometimes. It's out of our control. The thing that I remind my friends, even those who don't have mental illnesses, is that there's always going to be things that hit them out of the blue and, for periods whose length I truly cannot predict, and it'll knock the wind out of their sails.
And that. Is. Okay.
Life is unpredictable. Sometimes it's possible to speed along and do it all. And sometimes it's just about surviving. Putting one foot in front of the other and making do.
I've been in such a long, long, long extended period of making do. To be honest, I don't know when (or if, really), I'll snap back into vibrancy.
All I know is that...I'm gonna keep trying. One foot in front of the other, yes, but also, goals.
When I fall, when I fail, I'll just reset.
Therefore, for 2019, one of my goals is as follows:
Score 100 Rejections Across All Writing Submissions
Fingers crossed. Check in soon.
What are some of your goals you're working on in 2019 that you've had to reset, maybe even multiple times?