Personal

Anxious Kiera

            Over the years, I’ve tried to let you guys into my life. One, because my filter is pretty low, and I just like to share, and, two, because I think it helps you guys to know that I’m more than a name on the spine of a book. I’m an actual person. But in the same way I can delete words to shape the stories you love, I can edit out specific scenes of my life, showing you the best bits, so it looks a certain way.

            Yes, I’m generally a happy person and love to play around. I’m all about my family and my faith. I do obsess over One Direction and cake, and I still have my life size Edward Cullen cutout in my closet. It’s not a completely inaccurate picture that I paint for you. But I’ve been cutting out some of the tough stuff.

            I’ve always had some problems with feeling low. When I get worked up and stressed, it can sometimes take me hours to come back down. When there’s too much to do, I might get paralyzed and not be able to do anything at all. I cry, I have negative thoughts on repeat in my head, I start sweating. I get stomach aches almost every time I have an event, even if I think I’m feeling pretty calm that day. When I go anywhere, usually my first question is where the bathroom is. I already know where the door is, so between those two things, I’m set. I’ve had to start planning out things months in advance. Not just for tours and stuff, but for life. My brain doesn’t always shut off at night, so it takes me hours to fall asleep. It’s exhausting.

            About the time The Elite came out, it started feeling more intense, and by the time I got done with all my international trips last fall, I was on edge basically every day. Though, looking back, I wouldn’t have said that. I would have said I was fine.

            It wasn’t until after my stomach problems got so bad I needed to see a doctor that I even noticed how consuming this was. Once she said that if I didn’t calm down that things would only get worse, I realized anxiety mode was basically my normal. I decided I needed some help managing my stress.

            But in trying to find some help dealing with the stress in my life, I’ve discovered it’s a bit more than that. I’m now seeing a counselor and have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. What that means is the things that normal people worry about (like family problems or work or money) I take to another level. I can get amped up over what seems like nothing (like trying to get a coat on one of my kids) and be upset because of it for hours. There’s not much logic to it, and it steals hours and days from me.

It’s comforting to have a name for what’s happening in my head, and I’m finally learning some skills to stay calm when I would otherwise get wound up, and how to relearn the way I talk to myself when I can barely think straight. We’ve only just started, so I’m nowhere near better, but it’s nice to have a plan.

            I share all this to say, this is why a death threat makes me freak out for days. This is why Question Monday isn’t something I can manage anymore. This is why my poor family has to deal with a mommy who asks her son to hold her hand when she starts crying… and how he’s started reaching for me before I even say it. There are some days when I just can’t deal.

            I’m very excited about my upcoming year. I can’t wait for you to get The One, to talk about all the secrets I’ve been keeping, and to see you all when I tour. I feel very fortunate that the bad stuff usually unfolds in the privacy of my home and never in front of a crowd, but I worry it won’t stay that way.

            You guys have been supportive and enthusiastic through this absolutely amazing journey. I hate to ask you to give me anything more, but I’m hoping you can have grace with me if I don’t respond to tweets, or even disappear for a little while. If I’m at a signing and need to pause for minute, I hope you can understand why.

            I’m still figuring this out, and I don’t always know what’s going to make that tight knot in my chest show up or put the worst worries in my brain on replay. But I do know that talking with my friends and family about it has made it not seem as scary, and I’m hoping that being honest with you all will be part of the healing process, too.

            I want to thank you in advance for how cool you’re going to be, because I know you will. You always are. And I’m so grateful to have such an awesome community of readers surrounding me. I’m not sure how much I’ll be talking about this, but I think it’s important to at least share that it’s happening.

            I’m a wife and mom. I write books. I dig desserts and boy bands. And I have an anxiety disorder. It’s one of those things that slows me down a little. But that doesn’t mean I have to stop.

Neither do you. :)