Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

My Lowest Point as an Author After the Book Launch

Depression sucks, and this is the only way I can start this post. In fact, bipolar disorder sucks because, I don’t know, I’ve learned that bipolar depression and depression are different, in that in bipolar depression, irritability and rage seem to be more common–and believe me, I have plenty of irritability to go around. I hate the irritability because it makes it so difficult to connect with people, and I tend to get snappish. Sometimes I just want to break down crying when I’m around my fiance because he is being so attentive and loving, and I just can’t reciprocate because I am literally paralyzed by my depression and irritability. I desperately want to talk to him and cry in front of him, but I feel so paralyzed. 

In any case, Shannon Thompson wrote about one of her lows as an author, and I thought I would do the same, even though my lows have to do with depression. 

During the launch week, I didn’t feel the sting of depression at all because I was on Cloud 9 with all the exposure my book was receiving. I knew it was being bought, and even if my Amazon ranking sucks right now, I’m confident the e-book will do well–or I should be confident–because I plan to do different giveaways for the book blitzes–like Amazon gift cards instead of e-ARCs. I feel like that by the time the e-book releases, an e-ARC might discourage people from buying the e-book due to the fact that they just might wait around until the giveaway is over with.

WhenStarsDie-3-1

In spite of When Stars Die being published, I have fallen from the high I had last week. The launch week was wonderful and beautiful and gave me the confidence I needed as a writer, but now that I’m done with that, I am filled again with crippling self-doubt: What if my book doesn’t sell as well as I want it to? What if my royalty check blows, pointing to the fact that my book isn’t selling well? What if, even when the e-book comes out, all the people who can’t wait to read it never buy it because of monetary reasons or they have other books they want to read first? In fact, in spite of being on YA Interrobang, Veronica Roth’s book obviously stole the show from all the other authors’ books who were being released that day, like Mary Gray’s The Dollhouse Asylum. Even though my book is in a store, is anyone buying it? I know one person bought it, and that put me on a super huge high during launch week.

When Monday came, I could barely get out of bed, so I stayed home, stayed in bed practically all day, slept, and missed class because I just couldn’t do it. Even now I can barely do it, but I have to so I don’t get dropped from my classes with a fail. I even so desperately wanted to cut myself–mostly my thighs and wrists–but I didn’t do it, ONLY BECAUSE MY LEOTARD AND TIGHTS WOULD NEVER COVER THEM UP. If it weren’t for ballet, I may have fallen prey to the blade. 

It wasn’t the self-doubt of my book that brought upon this intense depression. It was just falling from the high I had during that week, the awesomeness ebbing away, and me just feeling the depression once more. It’s discouraging because my Lamictal is currently at 150 mg, and I don’t notice an improvement at all. Not one single improvement–not even a tiny bit. While I’m on Klonopin and it gives me patience, I feel like I need to up my dose now, because the previous week, it made my head clear and didn’t allow the depression to incapacitate me. And this terrifies me because what if I have to have electroshock therapy, like Esther in The Bell Jar? I know that’s a totally irrational thought considering there are plenty of meds for bipolar individuals out there, but Abilify worked for a time, then crapped out. Upping the dose of Abilify did not improve my mood, so Abilify stopped working period.

There are a few lucky individuals out there whose meds work for a long time and seem to work for the rest of their lives. My grandmother is on Lamictal, and while she is not blood-related, she seems to be holding strong with it.

Why can’t I be one of those lucky individuals? 

Everything has been so hard because of this stupid depression. While this semester is easier than the semester I had in the fall, it’s still so difficult to get out of bed and get things going. I still have this strong feeling that I’ll end up in a psyche ward again. I don’t know why. Sometimes I have this sense of impending doom that I’m going to do something awful to myself, even though I have yet to do so.

As soon as I get up and start my day, all I can think about is going right back to bed and napping until dinnertime–the Klonipin at least lets me nap comfortably. And even with ballet, my thoughts constantly switch between going and not going. I know going ups my mood, but it’s the going that is so difficult because all I do is want to sleep, sleep, sleep, so I don’t have to feel the depression raging in my brain.

It really sucks, because even though I have a book blitz going on this week, nothing can get me out of this. I have even been writing on The Stars Are Infinite, and I like the direction it’s going, but it’s not doing a thing for me.

Like Shannon, I am trying so hard to up my mood, to be put back on the high I was on during launch week, but I can’t do it. I simply can’t do it. It’s this stupid flaw in my chemistry that makes it all so difficult. It’s this stupid flaw in my chemistry that brings upon the self-doubt, because I’m certain if I wasn’t depressed, I would be totally blowing up my social media right now, being chatty with everyone, being personable, being proud of my freaking book. But, no, that doesn’t want to happen and isn’t going to happen, probably not until the e-book’s launch, or until my freaking meds start working. 

So I want to leave you all with a picture quote from When Heaven Was Blue (it says His Vanity in the corner, but that is no longer the current title of the book), a contemporary fantasy I hope to get back to work on in December (involving mental illness, of course), because this is exactly how I feel right now. gene

But in spite of feeling this way, I don’t want to discourage anyone else. All I can do is keep writing and keep publishing, and for now, that is what keeps me tethered to this world, even when everything else is so impossible to connect to. I want to be honest with all my Stars. I don’t want you thinking that now that I have a book published, I’m living cozy in my house, sipping moscato, while pounding out another brilliant book and not lacking in confidence what-so-ever. 

Tomorrow I am going to blog about what an anonymous user on Tumblr told me about my publication path. 

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2 comments on “My Lowest Point as an Author After the Book Launch

  1. enkousama
    October 30, 2013

    I completely agree with the low. I felt it with my short stories and I know it’s inevitable once I publish the novel.
    I have no idea what to say to make you feel better about your bipolar mood swings – personally I dealt with minor issue so the only advice I can give is to focus on the positive. Remember Amber, the people who love you do so despite what you think are negative aspects. I can assure you that each and every person out there who supports you will still do so. You are a brilliant author and despite knowing you for a small amount of time, you impressed me with your inner strength.
    I wish you health and serenity.

  2. lindalitebeing
    October 30, 2013

    Your honesty Amber is refreshing and so helpful to people who may never acknowledge they read this post. I am glad you see your ballet and writing as reasons to stay here and not hurt yourself. Use the supports you have and keep on top of your meds in terms of effectiveness or subtle side effects. Also, please do not judge yourself. You can hate depression and BP disorder but do not blame yourself. channel that irritablility and be kind to you. If you do not have that skill developed, find out how to make it work for you!

    love and light,

    Linda

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