Finding courage despite anxiety

Well, I went to my local library today because I had finished my stack of library books and wanted to borrow more. I was excited to see that they were going to put a moving ladder onto one side of the shelves!

I was mostly kind of annoyed at someone answering a call at the back of the shelves, probably trying to get a job and I kind of thought it was a sign.

Remember my most recent post titled ‘You aren’t your anything’? (Link here) I mainly talked about how uncomfortable I was about finding a job, not because I didn’t want to, but my anxiety always acted up the moment I just LOOK AT AN APPLICATION.

Well, I mean, it’s no big mystery that I LOVE books, like I even run a blog that talk about books, books probably take up 24/7 of my time.

So I had kept a tab open at a job at the library, but it was for an officer job, which meant that you had to speak to a ton of people and probably even do storytelling, which I was EXTREMELY hesitant about since my anxiety was already killing me. I decided to check out more of their jobs and was surprised to find that they were indeed hiring LIBRARIANS.

And I read through the job expectations and it fit me perfectly. Like I can’t believe people get paid to arrange and be around books ALL DAY. I would kill for that job.

The more I read on, the more I knew that this was for me, but was I the right fit for them?

As a librarian, you had to work shifts and I was planning on enrolling in part time studies (which meant that I could only work morning/afternoon shifts and I’m afraid that they wouldn’t take me in because of that) and I had violin lessons every sunday, which made me panic even more.

I even made a poll on twitter over here and the end of application date is on the 31st of August, which means that I’m running out of a lot of time. But I kinda really want this but my anxiety is acting up like crazy.

Like just by reading the application online sheet made my heart palpitate like crazy and my hands were shaking insanely while I was trying to take bookstagram photos.

I 50% decided that I wanted to do this but my anxiety is stopping me again. I was thinking of talking to my mum at night to ask her to help me with my application, but I’m worried that they would ask my sister to apply too (She doesn’t even read any novels and doesn’t even go to the library, yet everyone thinks that she is a reader and writer, do you understand how frustrated I am?)

So if you have any nice or encouraging messages, feel free to drop them in the comments!

I’ll be here, trying to calm myself down and decide whether I want this job or not, and whether I can find the strength in me to stop letting my anxiety stand in the way.

You aren’t your anything.

I fear my anxiety.

 

To be blatantly honest, I’m not even sure I have anxiety or depression.

Wait, just hear me out.

 

I’ve never gone to a psychologist to get evaluated and frankly, I actually rather do that instead of continuing on not confirming whether my anxiety and depression is true. But I’m afraid. Afraid of having to face this alone and spilling out my deepest darkest thoughts and secrets to a random stranger (face to face at that). Afraid to know that my mind is as dark as it seems and that my anxiety and depression hasn’t been all in my head.

Truthfully, although I’m scared, I do want to do it, but the anxiety itself is holding me back. What if I end up breaking down or crying to a total stranger? What if I get the confirmation and it’s not what I want to hear? And if I do get confirmation (I think like 60% will), how would I react to it and where do I go on with it?

 

It’s been a year and a half since I’ve graduated my Diploma and I’ll be blatantly honest, I never applied for any jobs. I have searched for them, but never sent in my resume or even called to ask or apply.

It isn’t that I don’t want to work, who the hell doesn’t want to get a job that they love and support themselves? Every time I try, I get shut down, by myself.

And to make matters worse, people in my family are definitely not helping. They question and keep talking to me to get a job, a 9-5 job and just do it to earn money, to be content with it. But I’m pretty sure it’s to save their own face and not for my own benefit. My parents don’t even care that I’m working on my book blog or that I’ve actually written 3 first drafts for novels. They don’t care for my dreams.

I’ve heard a saying that artistic people cannot be tied down to a 9-5 job, and I really agree. We can do it, definitely, but we will burn out faster than the rest. As an INFJ, I want to inspire and change lives, I want what I do to have real meaning, but you need so many qualifications for something like that, and that’s not fair.

These one and a half years, I’ve spent them reading, wallowing in self-doubt, writing, and I knew that I had to move, but I couldn’t.

It sucked seeing peers move on with their lives as though nothing is wrong and I’m still here, picking up the pieces of the damage that has been done to me years ago. It’s difficult when people keep questioning how my life is and whether or not I have a job or we should ‘catch up’. Most of these people are those that I cut off from my life completely because I knew they were all toxic.

It’s not that I’m saying that I’m not toxic, I probably am, but if you mix two poisons together, you only get a deadlier one and we’ll just have a Romeo and Juliet tragedy all over again.

Anxiety and depression sucks. And I went on about with my life, not knowing what it was until 10 years AFTER I had my first anxiety attack. I could still remember the night when I was 12 years old, I was crying over losing something I barely knew and I felt like I couldn’t breathe and was dying. That gut wrenching feeling that made me sick to my stomach.

It disappeared 1-2 years after that and reared it’s ugly head again when I was 15-17 years old. And I thought that was the worse part, that was when I had hit rock bottom. I was dealing with stress from schoolwork, friendship, relationship and even my family. I can’t even keep count of how many times I would cry myself to sleep during that period and waking up early the next morning to pretend nothing had happened as I went to meet my friends to take the bus to school. When they asked about my puffy eyes, I could get away with it by telling them I didn’t have enough sleep, and I was lying through my teeth every single time.

My relationship was so toxic I almost resorted to self-harming (like 2 shallow cuts that never drew blood, but left scars to this very day) , hoping that my blood would be able to save the downward spiral of the relationship, but I was left to pick up the cinders when the fire was done burning.

When I finally moved on to being 18-21 years old, I was sure that life couldn’t get worse, since I had hit my rock bottom well before then, right?

Wrong. I hit rock bottom then, dealing with stress of not being able to get good grades (despite doing well academically wise when I was 15-17), toxic friendships and group mates.

I broke down so many times and the two worse ones were when I literally sat in the bathroom, crying on the floor and consoling myself that things would get better. But they didn’t.

I learnt about anxiety and depression at this stage and suddenly I realised that all those weird palpitations, breathlessness, cold hands, stomach clenching, nausea, lack of appetite weren’t normal. I thought they were, since they had been with me for years. And I was so angry, why didn’t anyone tell me that they weren’t normal? (This is why schools, irregardless of country should educate people about mental health.)

I literally saw a friend break herself apart while trying to cope with anxiety and depression.

The sad thing was that when I told her about my symptoms, she told me that they were all in my head. As someone who was going through anxiety and depression, I was hoping that she would give me her two cents and insight.

I was never angry at her for gaslighting me, I just wished that she would have told me to get it checked out.

 

Now I’m 22 years old and am still suffering from those anxiety attacks. They come at random times, but they take a fragmented part of me every single time it happens. This week alone I’ve already had 3 attacks out of 4 days.

I just wished that I could save myself. I want gather the strength and I DO want to get evaluated, but I know that it’s going to be scary because I would have to do everything alone. And my attacks always come when I’m alone. I would make a ton of excuses in my head as to why I shouldn’t go. It’s too far. I probably have to lie to my parents to get out of the house to go there. I have to get my identification card from my mum (yes, my mum still keeps it and refuses to let me or my siblings carry our own, which I don’t understand, it’s our name on the card, right?)

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time, ever since I chatted with someone on twitter over acne and scars. She mentioned that someone pointed out that her acne made her look older. And me, having gone through people pointing out my acne and scars was furious to hear that.

My acne journey was almost as though as my mental health. 13-16yrs old, I had clear perfect skin, when I was 17, I started getting cystic acne and my ex would actually point them out and I hated being in my own skin so much.

It went on for a while before I went to a GP to get treatment and it worked, for a while. when I was 21, the acne returned because I was so stressed out by my final project, and my team mates weren’t helping when they constantly pointed it out. It was kinda their fault that my stress was increasing anyway. Recently the cystic acne has returned again and I’m just trying to keep them at bay. After the final project, I had learnt to put make up for a violin recital and I resorted to using concealer to cover up my acne and scars because I felt ugly.

But after getting Medicube’s red erasing cream (not a sponsored post, don’t worry), I actually stopped using concealer when I went out. Why? It was partially because the scars were reduced, but I had also learnt to love my scars. They were my battle scars and each and every one of them proved that I lived through something that made me bleed (literally, when I pricked the pimples).

I hated that most people were insensitive and that is probably why I’m so quiet. If you don’t have anything nice to say, you just shouldn’t say anything at all. More people should live by that rule.

But at the end of the day, you aren’t your anything.

You aren’t your anxiety. You aren’t your depression. You aren’t your acne. You aren’t your scars. You are not your mental illness.

You aren’t your anything.

You are you. A beautiful soul inhabiting a physical body.

The problem is that people are too focused on the physical body to appreciate the beautiful soul within. They see us for our scars, our mental illnesses, they see us for everything that can only be seen with the eyes. (Which is ironic because mental illnesses can’t even be seen).

We have to learn to see things with our souls and not our eyes.

Remember, you aren’t your anything.

You are you.

 

Take care of yourself,
Love,
Michelle (Firstbooklove)

Camp NaNo 2018 – July Part 4 (Finale)

Hello guys, I’ve just finished writing my WIP and the first draft is finally done! (This is the third time that I’ve actually completed my first draft) but nonetheless, the excitement has kept me smiling the entire day!

Of course I’ve noticed a ton of things that I could have written better and find out more about my characters throughout the entire month, but I’m excited yet sad that it’s over.

Here is the final week’s tally of my word counts!

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(Week 4)

Day 23 (23/7) -55,628 (+2,030)

Day 24 (24/7) – 59,633 (+4,005)

Day 25 (25/7) -60,352 (+719)

Day 26 (26/7) -62,772 (+2,420)

Day 27 (27/7) – 65,240 (+2,468)

Day 28 (28/7) -67,914 (+2,674)

Day 29 (29/7) -70, 081 (+2,167)

 

Honestly, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to take part in July’s Camp NaNo since I didn’t have a solid idea (and was juggling between two ideas) but I was like 50% keen on wanting to do it. When I saw that Fanna  was going to do it and was finding cabin mates, I decided to take the plunge!

To decide on which idea I wanted to go with, I started planning them out, but once I had finished planning out the first idea, I knew I wanted to go with it and did even more planning about it while on my trip to Malaysia!

The writing process never gets easier despite what people say. I definitely had a tough time trying to wake up earlier and last time I attempted Camp NaNo, I could wake up at around 9, but this time it was difficult so I ended up waking up around 1pm or the earliest would be 10am.

While I was writing, I definitely discovered new things that could help enhance the story and a ton of things that I didn’t like. But that’s what the first draft is for, for you to have something solid there so that you can work on it to make it better. It’s like drawing on a canvas with a pencil to plan how you want your drawing to look like! So that later you can plan the colours and the their complementary counterparts to make the piece the best that it can be.

It’s tough writing, because most of the time you have to cheer yourself up and motivate yourself to continue writing. Like sometimes, you feel like this part isn’t working and some days you don’t feel like writing at all, but I’m so grateful to the Camp NaNo care packages to motivate me to move on and just write.

The first draft is the first step for you to cross the gigantic lake. It’s scary, definitely, but slowly and surely you’re crossing the lake and once you get to the other side, you can turn back to see how far you’ve come.

(Look at me, babbling on about writing advice as though I have a published book, ANYWAY)

So the first draft of Beneath the mask is complete and while writing I’ve decided that this is probably the story I want to focus on since it means a lot to me now that I’ve written it! Authors always tell you that the scariest story to write is the one you should write!

Anyway, so what I’ve been up to this week, is well, of course reading! I’m currently reading Lola and the boy next door after loving Anna and the french kiss by Stephanie Perkins! (Everyone should check this series out, I really like it so far!)

And this week, Maplestory M had their global release! I GREW up with Maplestory and it has been a big part of my life, so I was extremely excited when I heard about this mobile version and have been playing it ever since! My character is in the Asia 2 sever and I’m SnowRaven in Zenith world! (Come find me and let’s play together!)

Yup, so this is my current update for now and I shall go and relax and watch a movie and celebrate (by watching a movie and reading!)

 

Camp NaNo 2018 Part 4 (Final)

Guys. I finished it. My first draft for Siren Song is DONE!!!!!

It started off as an idea from a dream, and I spent one month writing a first draft and it still amazes me every time because I never knew I could discipline myself to do this. Although this is my 2nd time doing NaNoWriMo, it still doesn’t get easier.

Camp-2018-Winner-Twitter-Header

Look at this beautiful banner 😭Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 3.14.27 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-04-29 at 3.16.39 PM.png

I’m at a loss for words since when I started, I wasn’t sure where this novel was going. With at least a first draft in place, I can now hope to revise it soon.

Here are the final stats:

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Week 1:

1/4 – 2,614 words (+2,614)

2/4 -5,000 words (+2,386)

3/4 -7,503 words (+2,503)

4/4 – 10,065 (+2,560)

5/4 -12,630 (+2,567)

6/4 -15,140 (+2,510)

7/4 – 17,650 (+2,510)

8/4 – 20,153 (+2,503)

Week 2:

9/4 -22,670 (+2,517)

10/4 -25,187 (+2,517)

11/4 – 25,809 (+622)

12/4 -28,338 (+2,529)

13/4 -30,898 (+2,560)

14/4 -33,414 (+2,516)

15/4 – 35,930 (+2,516)

Week 3:

16/4 -38,456 (+2,526)

17/4 -40,456 (+2,500)

18/4 -43,533 (2,577)

19/4 -46,036 (+2,503)

20/4 -48,625 (+2,589)

21/4 -51,156 (+2,531)

22/4 -53,769 (+2,613)

Week 4:

23/4 -56,286 (2,517)

24/4 -58,803 (+2,517)

25/4 -61,327 (+2,522)

26/4 -63,842 (+2,515)

27/4 -66,368 (+2,526)

28/4 -68,416 (+2,048)

29/4 -70,102 (+1,686)

Here is my cert 😍

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 3.22.53 PM.png

I’ve learned a ton during this time, such as definitely planning and thinking things through.

Here is how I hope the cover will look like:

cover 2.jpeg

 

Okay, I’m off to celebrate by rereading the Shatter me series and watching Age of Ultron later!

Bookish mail #1

This is the first time I’m going to do a post about bookish mail! (It’s going to be a very short one though since I only got one mail)

So, a little more backstory, I don’t buy a ton of books since they’re really pricey, I always borrow them from the library or read eARCs, I only spend money during my birthday month where I would splurge and buy like 3 books.

On to the main event, I received an envelope from the lovely author Danika Stone as I responded to her tweet and this was what I got!

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A awesome looking postcard, HER AUTOGRAPH and two stickers from her books! I loved the book Internet famous (You can check out my review here.)

And her autograph is the first I have of an author! Yay! I’ve never had an autographed book (and I don’t think I ever will) since no authors come to my country and my parents never let me go anywhere I want even though I’m going to be 22 this year😑

So yup, here is is my first ever ‘bookish mail’ post for this blog and I hope that more will come in soon! Till then!