Photo courtesy of channah at sxc.hu
Over the past 15 months, I’ve been living a dream I didn’t even realize could come true. I’ve been working as a full time author, sustaining my lifestyle almost solely using book royalties. But how many of you know that even living a dream can cause stress? There was the stress of the fear of not selling enough books to make it. There was the stress of the possibility of not having what I once believed was the “secure” income that accompanied a “regular” job. I no longer had the money to blow off that my RN job provided me with. It felt like my future and my present were in the hands of the world’s readers. I felt like I had absolutely no control over my circumstances and it stressed me to the max.
It kept me awake at night. It drove me into working all of the time. It kept the wheels in my head spinning constantly. Though I had escaped the stressful prison of my former 9 to 5, I had fallen right back into the trap of stress. It was almost automatic, like an addiction of some sort. Wait…. addiction? That was it! I had lived in that white-knuckled, anxiety-riddled world of stress for so long that it was second nature for me to find my way back to it. How would I exist otherwise? Stress had been my bedfellow since I was a little girl and would experience so much anxiety at the thought of going to school, I’d have diarrhea and would have to miss the day altogether. I worried myself into headaches as a child. Those headaches turned into high blood pressure as an adult.
Don’t get me wrong, apart from a couple of slim months, things have been fine financially. I live in the same home, drive the same car, have food and clothes. Book sales are good. I’m gaining new readers every day. But there’s always the thought in the back of my mind… what if? What if everything falls apart What then? What if, what if, what if? Can you see how this could drive a person insane or at least drive them to find a source of relief from this self-torture? Can you see how this could drive a person to eat when eating has always been what comforted them?
Last year, I lost around 20 pounds because, for a while, I was truly at peace with my life. I was enjoying my new career and I hadn’t let the stress eat at me. Then, very recently, I caved. I worried myself into gaining about five of those pounds back.
Intellectually, I know that worrying is a waste of time. It is likened to cashing a check that hasn’t even been written yet. In short, it is stupid. I know this. I know it in my mind. I just wish my heart would get the message.
Don’t worry. I’m not giving up. I’m celebrating the fact that I recognized the problem before things completely fell apart. So I’m putting Pharrell’s “Happy” on repeat and I’m praying that God will help me break this horrible cycle I’m caught in.
Onward and upward! Until later… be blessed.