A Season of Downs and Ups
I’m fairly crappy at keeping this place updated, but over the years I have done my best to post one new entry per month. A record for myself, if nothing else, of what the hell was going on. I haven’t posted an entry since July. Here’s why.
In August, my mom tried to commit suicide. She had been struggling with a fairly rapid onset of anxiety disorder since the spring. I’d been trying to help her, having some experience with anxiety myself. For a brief rundown, see this post I wrote for Psychology Today.
When I wrote that, I didn’t know we were a few weeks away from my mom overdosing, and my family in the ICU for 40 hours waiting for her to stop convulsing and die. She hadn’t meant to do it. Not really. She wanted to get our attention (even though she already had it, the anxiety convinced her she needed more. Such is the nature of that beast.). I cried and laughed bitterly to Dylan that my mom had accidentally killed herself. Bitter laughter, bitter tears. Four in the morning waiting by the phone half a country away while my dad and my brother and all my childhood friends camped out in the ICU. Five am watching Philadelphia on HBO which would have made me cry on a normal day (especially those songs, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, damn you and your sick mournful beats).
But my mom didn’t die. Sometime in the night they intubated and put her under, and 40 hours later they brought her back up, and she opened her eyes. The tough old bird came out of it with no lasting damage (a fricking miracle!), and I flew home to make sure she was placed in proper inpatient care. She wanted us to put her into a nursing home. She didn’t think she could ever get better. We knew that she could.
Fast forward six weeks, and by the time I was set to go on book tour, my mom was on her way back. We were, and are, cautiously optimistic. Her medication is working well, and it is good to hear her laugh again, and smart off again, and be a big sarcastic butthole again like I’m used to.
This beast of Generalized Anxiety Disorder came on fast and strong. From fine and functioning to total collapse inside the span of a year. Our denial of how bad it had gotten, and some of our unfamiliarity with the disorder didn’t help. But we know what to watch for now, and because of her experiences, a friend who also struggled with anxiety went to get treatment, so, silver linings, I guess. This season was almost much, much worse.
In the midst of this, I was gearing up for the release of Three Dark Crowns, pasting on my author’s smile (which is usually, seriously, quite genuine). And then it was in the world, and it debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestsellers list (#5 on ebook!) and then I was on the road, hanging with incredible authors like Lauren Oliver, Zac Brewer, M.E. Girard, Renee Ahdieh (I think I had five panels with Renee this season!) and so many more. 3DC hung out on the list for six weeks, and continues on the national Indie list. Thank you to everyone who helped to put it there. It’s surreal, and to say I’m grateful for all of these things doesn’t quite cut it.
So there’s the ups. And they were big ups, after a big down. We came close. The fight continues. I apologize for the hiatus here. The plan is to return to normal now. Smartassery and raucous dogs. Monthly posts. The sweetest co-writing cat in the world. And Lauren Oliver told me about a way to prepare a whole duck so I am totally doing that for Thanksgiving.
This is likely all I will say about this. I’m hesitant to post it, but I wrote that article about not being ashamed of anxiety disorders and I meant it, so a-posting I will go.