I'm okay! I'm in a great place right now. I'm working towards my dreams, surrounded by wonderful people, and I honestly don't think I've ever been happier.
But it's not perfect. I no longer have suicidal thoughts, and haven't for many, many years. I still do get bouts of crippling depression, though. My anxiety isn't always under my control. I still have to work to keep the good stuff. I'm still working through a lot of shit.
And that's the key word here:
I didn't get to where I am by accident. I fought. I worked really, really fucking hard; on my dreams, on my life, on myself.
The first step I took was stepping away from the people who were making me feel terrible. This was a huge step, since at the time, they were my only "friends." It was a terrifying thing to do. But it was necessary. I then spent the next few years trying to collect the pieces of myself that I had lost along the way, trying to figure out where they went.
Who was I? What shape did all these pieces make? I had to figure that all out. And it was hard, painful work.
The next step I took was really the biggest step of all. I acknowledged my dream of becoming a writer, and I started working at it. I started this journey with only a handful of short stories, some poems and a couple of drawings. I was untested, unprepared and completely out of my depth.
I did it anyway. And I worked so hard. I researched hard on ways to self-publish, on agents and publishing houses accepting manuscripts, on places where my stuff might sell. I produced more books. I reached out to more people. I went to conventions and book fairs. Lots of this stuff made me uncomfortable. Lots of this stuff pressed my buttons and made me squirm. it wasn't pleasant. It required a lot of personal work to get through.
Funny how doing professional work makes you confront and deal with your personal hang ups.
In the process of pursuing the work of my chosen profession, I ended up doing a whole lot of work on my own person. Make no mistake, it was - and remains - work. Hard work. Uncomfortable work. It's work that never ends. It's work that I've needed help with.
The life I'm living today is a result of deliberate choices I made (and some that I didn't make quite so deliberately.... (thanks life, for the best flatmate ever)) and the hard work I've done to pull myself out.
Of course, I didn't get here without help. Therapy helped. The friends I made once I started to the work helped. More therapy helped (seriously).
But I think it's important to note that in order to get the life I have now, I worked. I worked really, really hard. And it wasn't easy work. It isn't easy work. There are often tears. Buttons get pressed. Shit comes up that I never knew was mine. And the works starts over again.
Life rarely rewards inaction, even if it feels like it sometimes when you're gazing up at all those successful people you see everywhere.
If there is something you want, you need to work for it. It's not just going to present itself to you on a silver platter. It's not something we want to admit, but it's true. Things must be earned. They must be worked for.
And here's another truth; not everything you work for will be realised. There will be disappointments. Lots of them.
I've been writing seriously for seven years. I've been publishing for five. I'm still an unknown, struggling writer without a contract and a small (but growing) audience. I am not supporting myself with my work.
I'm happier than I've ever been, thanks to the professional and personal work I've done, and it irks me some when people exclaim 'You're so lucky!"
Luck has had very little to do with it thus far.
It's been work. I've worked my arse off. And I will continue to. I have no choice. The nature of my situation means that I'll always have to work. I'll always have to fight the uphill battle that is depression. I'll always have to work to make my professional dreams come true.
It takes work. But damned if the results aren't worth it!