So, today is not actually the anniversary of my book deal. That was two days ago. But today is the day that I announced it on social media. And while congratulations and accolades were pouring in from all over, I was experiencing my first panic attack.
I’m still not sure if I should call those experiences in late 2013 panic attacks. They were certainly brought on by panic. And they were certainly extremely physical. If there’s a better way for me to label it, please let me know.
It’s weird to look back on it now. On this day in 2013, I talked to my beloved editor for the first time. It was a wonderful call. She told me how much she loved my characters and my story, how excited she was to work with me. And then, she mentioned– almost in passing– such a significant change to my story that, later that night, I experienced the most visceral, physical reaction I’ve maybe ever gone through.
Just another reminder how much social media lies. In my memory, I was replying to comments about how excited I was– while I was sobbing in my apartment, praying my guts out, my heart racing, my mind racing, everything racing.
This pattern would unfortunately continue for a few months. Finally, I talked to my psychiatrist about the panic, about how I wanted something– anything– that would reduce the physical reaction. That’s when I first got my prescription for Ativan (Lorezapam). I continue to take this very sparingly, usually just a few times a month, though sometimes more than once in a day.
This also prompted me to go back into therapy. I started meeting with Amanda, my darling therapist, who has been a voice of reason, a true supporter, and– best yet– someone who legitimately likes me. I am still meeting with her, although now it’s about once a month, whereas we used to meet once a week.
And here’s the thing: I survived. I learned how to communicate with my editor. I learned how we are partners. I took nearly all of her suggestions– but I held out on that one, the one thing that caused that first night of extreme panic. And in the end, I can truly say that I love my novel. I’m so happy with how it turned out, so proud of it.
I’ve learned such a tremendous amount about publishing and writing and myself over the last two years. And I’m not ashamed of the Ativan or of the therapy; how could I be ashamed of getting myself help when I recognized I needed it? I’ve learned how to partner with an editor. I’ve learned how and when to disagree with an editor. I’m a better, smarter person and a better, cleverer writer and have a better, clearer understanding of my emotional and chemical make-up.
The last two years were some of the hardest of my life. But some of the best.