Not sure if I mentioned it recently, if it all, I mean I have been pretty quiet about the whole thing tbh, but I've written a book on life with Crohn's Disease. With writing a book you, of course, open yourself up to criticism and judgement. That’s wholly understandable; I’m expecting people to take the time to read something I’ve written and maybe even purchase it with some of their, no doubt hard-earned cash, so I am certainly open to hearing opinions on it.
But within writing circles pretension runs rife. I’ve been made to feel that I’m not a ‘real’ writer in several areas; and I’ve gone along with that because I don’t truly feel like one either. Even though I’ve had a book published it still feels as though I’ll be ‘found out’ eventually and I’ll have to admit that yes I’m an idiot who just got lucky, LOLZ sorry!
But my own insecurities aside, and I hate to break it to anyone criticising me, but I’ve written a book on my experience of bowel disease; I’m not trying to be the voice of a generation or pen The Next Great British Novel.
This same feeling of insecurity permeates all aspects of my life when I’m feeling low. I’m not a good enough writer to be taken seriously, I’m not a good enough partner to the man I love and eventually he’ll see it too, I’m not ‘sick enough’ to talk about it with any level of knowledge, etc ETC to infinity.
These feelings all began when I got sick. Because with long-term sickness often comes anxiety and depression. Not for everyone of course, but for more of us than I’d care to wager.
I’ve always been self-deprecating; it’s what helped me avoid being bullied in high school (I had no boobs, a 10y/o boy’s haircut and liked cats more than boys). It’s what got me tips as a waitress and barmaid. It’s what help bagged me a beau. Laughing at myself is probably a safety net – it gets it out of the way before anyone else does. Not that I truly believe they will; but it doesn’t matter what I truly believe, because the minute I think those thoughts they take over. Approximately 4565775675 different scenarios play over in my head then I’m back to square one.
Anxiety and insecurity is a bitch because it doesn’t matter how many people tell you that you are wonderful and worthy and loved; you’re Teflon. It all just glides off you because you don’t feel it. Now let me be clear, (in particular for my Mum because I know she’s reading this hi mum I love you) I do not feel like this all the time. A large chunk of my life I feel self-confident and brave, important, and pleased with my image and my work. I feel deserving of the man I love and the friends and family who love me as I know that I should. But when that is gone and I’m just a ball of anxiety and frustration I can’t see how I ever had the gall to believe in myself.
Look I know this is a ramble and it maybe means nothing to a lot of you, but I’m mainly writing this to the young women who flood my inbox with emails everyday telling me they are scared and feel isolated in living with chronic illness. I want them to know they are not alone, and although it isn’t exactly a pleasant thought that another human being feels as bad as you do, it can also be a small comfort. Knowing you’re not ‘crazy’ and that these feelings will eventually dissipate gives us hope.
Maybe tomorrow I won’t want to weep when I see my reflection, and I will feel strong enough to write another chapter of another book because maybe someone might want to read it. If I can convince myself of that then you can too. Or whatever it is you ‘do’; do it! If writing is your bag then go for it! Just don’t write too well, I’m not good enough to handle the competition ;)