Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When You Can't Say Something Nice . . . .

My mom raised me with the saying, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Well, how long has it been since I've written a heartfelt post? Ages, it feels, but the reason is that exact phrase. Despite all the interesting things happening with signings and being published and all, life has been very, very difficult and I've felt like if I couldn't talk about the good stuff going on, then I should just go into hermit mode and write nothing for a while.

The problem is, when I go into hermit mode, it makes things worse, not better. I'm going to go out on a limb here and share some of the challenges I've been having for two reasons--one, in the hope it will help somebody out there know they are not alone, and two, because if I don't share all this garbage with somebody I am going to explode--quite literally, it feels. I'm going to end up with one of those lovely white shirts with the extra long sleeves and spend my days in a padded room.

When my mom died three years ago, I lost my best friend and greatest confidante. She was my cheerleader, my writing buddy, and my greatest support, and in a matter of three days, she went from being strong and healthy to being gone. Forever. You can't tell me that kind of pain goes away with time. The intensity might ease, but the deep, empty, aching spot inside of me is like a black hole that gets bigger with time until it consumes all that I am.

A little over a year ago I had a total breakdown. I was outside, bawling my head off, arguing with my husband over something stupid, and I just snapped and started banging my head on the wooden stairs, and would have done it on the concrete if he hadn't stopped me. The next day I alternately laughed hysterically and cried as I had some energy work done. I couldn't help myself. For a week after that I wore earplugs because any sound was like nails on a chalk board.

You might wonder why I'm telling you all of this. Well, after my breakdown, I started doing some research about what might have caused it aside from the grief, and after going to see a psychologist and getting some testing done, it was discovered that I was bi-polar and losing my mom just set things off in a big kind of way. Now, unbeknownst to me, there are many kinds of bi-polar. I'm the manic type, but I still get depressed. More likely though I will stay up all night working on a project and have a hard time making myself sleep. I talk a lot when I'm excited. I am not suicidal, nor am I the type to stay in bed for weeks on end.

But once the sun goes down for the winter and fall, I get depressed in a big sort of way. I lose hope in everything. I wonder why I bother to write when nobody will like it or it will never see the light of day. I want to spend my days playing World of Warcraft and reading books or watching movies to escape the pain of just being alive. I feel like nobody likes me. I get paranoid about whether my friends still want me around. Life just gets HARD. I know it's not logical, but depression has nothing to do with logic.

For some reason this year in particular has been really hard. I think it's because my mom, who always KNEW I would get published, wasn't here to see it all happen. It was a shared dream for us, and now it's here and she doesn't get to see it, not in her earthly form. And I miss her so much I have no words.

So, there you have it, guys. The innards of Karen E. Hoover splattered all over her blog. It's a big bloody mess, isn't it? Thanks for reading anyway. Hopefully I can find some different help soon and find a way to be happy again, but in the meantime, I'll just keep climbing out of bed every day and make the best of the time I have. I'm trying to make a difference in what ways I can. School visits. I'd like to do some writing workshops. When I talk about writing is the only time I really feel alive, so if any of you out there would like me to come talk to your classes, writing groups, youth groups, church groups, anything, please give me the opportunity. I desperately need to feel alive.

Oh, and I can sing and play the flute too. :) Thanks for listening, all my bloggy friends. Hugs to you all.


Quote of the Day: "Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head."
~ From the movie Finding Forrester