In less than four hours the magical midnight hour will arrive and I will welcome a new year with open arms. Are you as eager for the New Year as I am?
To say I have been quiet this year is an understatement. Of course, there are reasons for it. In the past I have tried to be open and honest with you all about my depression, as well as my other medical problems, and how it has affected my writing and/or personal life. Despite my openness about those issues, I kept some details to myself.
“Why?”, some of you might wonder.
The answer is simple… and equally complicated. At least for me it is.
I had loads of uncertainty about telling every one the exact details of my actual diagnosis. There was even some fear that some people might abandon me due to the stigma that sometimes come with mental health issues.
However, I have reached a point in both my personal life, and my writing career, that I have decided to push past the fear and uncertainty to be more honest about my condition. Not that I feel obligated to let you all know everything that’s going on in my personal life, because, and please don’t take this personally, I don’t feel obligated at all. We’re all allowed to have a personal life, right?
That being said, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to tell my readers the whole of it so that perhaps some of my past actions (or inaction) might make more sense. Perhaps if you all knew what I went through on a daily basis you might understand why I am the way I am. So, here it goes.
I am BiPolar II.
There, I said it and the world didn’t implode. I also took a quick peek out the window closest to me and made sure there were no flying monkeys or other general, scary signs of impending apocalypse. Yippee!
For those of you who don’t know what BiPolar II is, here’s the definition from the National Institute of Mental Health’s website:
“Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. There are four basic types of bipolar disorder; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely “up,” elated, and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very sad, “down,” or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes).”
So, in essence, I go through periods of depression AND periods of mania. Depression most people get. Mania, well, have you ever seen that Vraylar commercial with the lady and the post-it notes? If no, you can check it out by clicking here. It’s not an official YouTube upload by the pharmaceutical company, so I’m not sure how long it’ll be up, but it’s the perfect example with how my brain works when I’m manic. In essence, my mind races with all these thoughts and ideas until I go overboard. I’ll start four different books, decide to spring clean my house, and take on additional outside projects all at once. So many tasks that if I were in my right mind I would absolutely know I have no time or energy for. My mania makes me feel like I’m Super Girl – I can do it all.
Until I crash and I realize I really can’t.
It gets worse, I don’t just crash, I go into a deep depression a lot of times. The sort of depression that requires a good bit of medication that will help me do the simplest of tasks, like getting out of bed… or even worse, not hurting myself.
Okay, so here’s the point where you might wonder “Why is she telling me all of this now?”
My reasons are two-fold:
- I wanted to let you know that I get that in a lot of ways I’ve let you down with not writing certain books that you want.
For instance, Alec’s book in the Big Bad Bite Series or Declan & Teagan’s book in the Ex Ops Series. I reached points of mania, started too many projects (including these), crashed from the mania into depression, and then lost momentum and interest in those stories. It also means I have several book ideas that I have started that you guys have never even heard of! One day, I hope to bring ALL of these stories to life for you. Trust me when I say – I really do WANT to write them. I just need to be in the right head-space to do it.
Add in the fact that I had several (some almost life threatening) reactions to medications I was put on for my BiPolar II in the past few years, I hope you can understand why I have been sort of all over the place personally and professionally. Some of the medications made me spiral into the worst depression I have ever experienced. There were honestly days I didn’t think I was going to make it. I lost hope, I gained about a hundred pounds, and even worse, I lost myself.
Thank God I have an amazing family and wonderful friends in my life! They kept me going when I didn’t want to. They loved me through it all, even when I couldn’t love myself. I also had many readers who messaged me, emailed me, and sent me notes in the mail telling me how much my books meant to them. I can’t thank any of them enough. Not my family, my friends or those readers. Know that I love you all immensely and I am beyond grateful for your love and words. You literally saved my life.
2. If being honest about my situation helps anyone else out there struggling with BiPolar II, then that’s just proof that in my own way I’m kicking BiPolar’s ass.
I have long admired Demi Lovato for being open and honest about her BiPolar Disorder. She’s been a strength for me when I had no strength for myself. Even through her trials and tribulations, she’s been a strong advocate for mental health. Watching her struggle this year was hard, but also eye opening for me. It made me realize that I had to fear my diagnosis less, and try to understand it more.
To wrap things up (I honestly didn’t mean to write a short book to tell you all of this), going into 2019 I have two main goals.
First, work on my health. That includes managing my BiPolar II and working on my weight for health reasons. I had a scare with possible Congestive Heart Failure this past year, and I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t able to afford all the tests. For now I’m going on faith that because my EKG was normal that I’m fine at the moment. My goal is to lose the weight, improve my health, and if I have any more symptoms find a way to afford those tests.
Secondly, I’m going to get back to writing. I have not published a book in over a year now. My writing muses are finally speaking to me, and instead of trying to “force” myself to write a story I know you want, I’m going to follow my muse.
I am also going to challenge myself. I am doing this by allowing my muse to lead me to this new series with new characters for you, but also to make a commitment to you to start AND finish this three book series in 2019. In 2020 I hope to return to Ex Ops and Big Bad Bite and give you the stories you’ve been waiting for.
Please be patient with me.
Please don’t give up on me.
Please trust that I am going to bust my ass to bring you an unforgettable story for 2019.
And above all, know that you, the reader, matter to me. We’re a book family, and I like to think that even though I am equivalent to the nutty Aunt that you never know what she’s going to do, you still know she’s doing her best just for you.
Let’s go froth and kick 2019’s ass my friends!
Happy New Years!
P.S. If you want to stay on top of my new releases in 2019 I highly recommend you sign up for my newsletter HERE (don’t forget to add my email address to your contacts so the email doesn’t go to spam) and join my Facebook reader group “Jessie’s Jewels“. I do exclusive giveaways for the group you totally don’t want to miss. 😏
P.S.S. My “unofficial” New Year’s Resolutions are below. Although I super doubt I’ll achieve that last one, lol.