My Unintentional 10 Month Writing Break: When Life Didn’t Go As Planned

the unintentional 10 month break from writing

This is the short version of how I lost my memory for the majority of 2018. (Yes, you read that right.)

I’ve taken fewer than half a dozen breaks from my writing during my (almost) nine-year career, primarily because they annoyed me. I’m the kind of person who can’t sit still through a TV show without my laptop, much less setting aside my stories for days. Writing is therapeutic for me, especially during the last few years when I struggled with increased anxiety and depression. Leaving it for an extended period of time was the last thing I wanted to do.

I think I’ve mentioned this, but three years ago I dropped out of college because the anxiety hit me out of nowhere. I’m a worrier by nature, but the anxiety crippled me. I wrote about my experiences in this post from 2017 if you’re curious, and it explains most of what I went through so I won’t repeat myself here (and it’s actually by far my most popular post to date).

I also have another post I’ll probably put out next month (and will link here) detailing my journey and the crap I went through with inept doctors, but the long story short is I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease in February or March 2018. It’s essentially hypothyroidism and was the cause of my increased anxiety. The depression wasn’t caused by it (and is another long story for another day about the “happy hormones”).

That diagnosis changed things for the rest of my life.

I’ll never again get to eat junk food without my thyroid acting out and making inflammation take over my body. I’ll take meds for a long time (maybe forever). I watch what I do, my hormones, weight, and a list that feels longer than my arm. I always feel tired.

I’m not trying to complain. I could have had something much worse.

You’re probably asking, but what about the memory issues?

If you’ve ever taken strong medication for a hormonal imbalance or disorder, you might be familiar with the side effect of temporary memory loss or at the least brain fog. My thyroid was so underactive that the medication caused it to become like a rollercoaster bouncing wherever it pleased.

And boy, did I have some unexpected (and embarrassing) side effects from that!

Anyway, words flew out of my head faster than you can lose your car keys. I forget appointments, names, even short-term memories. I’m the kind of person who used to never even use outlines for her stories, so memory wasn’t a big problem for me. If anything, I remembered too much because of my anxiety. I went from serious and always on top of things to a bit of an airhead. Best I can tell, I had a case of Temporary Dementia brought on my all the changes my body dealt with.

When all my characters names became “BLANK,” my pacing and scenes fell apart, plot disappeared and my energy disappeared, I realized I had to step away. It was unexpected, so I didn’t give my readers a heads up about my absence (Sorry, loyal blog readers! I didn’t abandon you on purpose!).

A few times this year I had good weeks and tried to catch up. I posted back in May and August, but in September regressed because I negatively reacted to new meds.

I pray I improve with each passing day. It’s a struggle, but I hope I can return to entertaining you lovely readers with my sarcastic and wordy posts soon.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll cut me a little slack because I still misspell words or use the wrong words because of hiccups in my memory. Many common writing rules I used to know aren’t in my head anymore and I have to relearn as well as brush off my rusty writing skills after all these months. In this post alone my editor caught three simple mistakes I should never have missed!

Thank you for your understanding during all of this, and I hope to make 2019 one of my best writing years to date if prayers and life work out!

So, now that I’m coming back to this blog, is there anything you’d like to see me write about on here? What writing (or reading) problems are you facing that you’d like me to talk about?

Alexa M.

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