Some changes

I never wanted to be in the public spotlight, no matter how meagre. I have probably mentioned this a million times all over the Internet, but I am a very socially awkward, retiring sort of a person who functions best in one-on-one company. Hell, I didn’t even want a fucking career. I wanted to get married and raise 5 kids from a very early age. Some people really do want that. But things didn’t turn out the way I planned and somehow I found myself making a career out of writing.

I really don’t like attention. I can handle a bit of it, but it gets unbearable after a while – even positive attention. I feel awkward, my impostor syndrome reappears in full force, and I just feel like disengaging completely. While I am not a solitary person, I really don’t like attention from anyone but my very small group of close friends. And for the past several weeks, I have been more in the public eye than I am comfortable with. Matters came to a head with the xoJane article a few days ago and the torrent of comments that resulted there and here as well, and it’s more than what I have been able to successfully deal with. I think I have talked here and elsewhere several times over about how my mental health is not the greatest and I am struggling with it. Had I been in a better state, or better still, neurotypical, all this would have been easier to handle, including the vitriol some of you have loved hurling at me. But I’m not, and I don’t deal with a lot of things very well. Today morning I had a pretty bad mental health situation, and I realised that I need to figure out a way to be stable but continue doing what I’m doing.

Because I love writing. That is the main reason I write – it makes me feel alive, more than anything else. And when you have the mental illnesses I do, feeling alive is not something that happens very often. I write the things I do because I enjoy writing them, because I find the process interesting – the way my ideas come together, thinking something through and feeling satisfied with the end result (which, however, disappears after about 15 minutes or so.) And after a miserable time in academics, I realised that turning what you love most into your career might not be such a bad idea. I don’t claim to be a brilliant writer – nothing of the sort – I recently started writing things I actually want to after 8 years of nothing but academic papers. I have a lot to learn, and I can only learn by writing and reading as much as I can.

It’s hard to reconcile this with my tendency to avoid attention, avoid confrontations. And I do want feedback, because I think that is critical, but at the same time, I can’t deal with the kind of daily dose of bile I am getting. This, of course, is my failing. I freely admit it. I’m not strong enough to handle this. To a lot of you, I am just a stranger on the internet you love to hate, but an actual human being typed out these words. An actual human being who functions very similarly to you, and probably not as efficiently. It doesn’t help that there is a tremendous amount of stigma surrounding mental health issues – many of you probably think that I don’t try hard enough to be not depressed, not anxious, and “normal”, like all the other normal people in the world. And there really isn’t anything I can say to that. It’s possible I am in the wrong sort of career, and if so, I will probably be compelled soon enough to switch to something I don’t enjoy as much, but which keeps this kind of stress out of my life. I’m beginning to think that I probably don’t have the mental equipment to deal with what this takes.

While I figure out if I can survive doing this, I am going to make a few changes around here. I have always tried to respond to each and every comment, no matter how negative, no matter how hurtful. I’d be the first to admit that I haven’t displayed a lot of patience in doing so, but I don’t claim to be a sterling example of humanity. I never have. I’m a very flawed human being and I have a plethora of shortcomings, and this is one of them. In any case, I have realised that I can’t afford to engage with comments any longer, of any sort, positive, or negative, on Disqus or as reblogs. I want to survive and have a halfway decent life more than I want to engage with comments. Selfish? Sure. Cowardly? Definitely. Drama queen? Oh yes.

Right now, though, I am shaky and panicky, weathering the last of my anxiety attack which I know will not go away until I sleep next. I can’t keep on doing this to myself. I need stability. I am not sure if not engaging with comments means that I can’t write anymore – the ethics of creating something, of feedback and the public eye is something I am still trying to figure out. The only thing I know right now is that I need to be stable, I need to get on with stuff, sort out my life. So if that means that I’m a diva of a blogger/ writer, and everyone who hates me just has even more cause to, so be it. But in my present condition, I just couldn’t continue with engaging/responding. I’m sorry.

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