Quarantine life is a double-edged sword. I’m a natural introvert so I’m very comfortable with having a home-based routine. The problem is having enough work to keep me distracted so that the dark clouds are forced back.
I’ve worked on a few projects over the past four month. While each project was fun, motivating, and fulfilling in its own way, the fact that I haven’t been able to get more work started weighing heavily on me.
Cruel whispers began circling around my mind, telling me that I’m not good enough, that the lack of demand was proof that I’m a fraud, that I should just quit and disappear since I’m of no use to anyone…so many poisonous lies told by my demons with vicious glee.
This was reinforced for me through seeing people’s social media posts. Logically, I know that what people put out there isn’t an accurate reflection of their mental state or their reality beyond the platforms. Emotionally, it was further fuel for the fire.
I began to feel demotivated. It felt as though it was true when in fact it was a bunch of self-defeating lies. Lies that I’ve been telling myself for decades. The difference is that this time around, I didn’t have the distraction of work to push them away.
Things came to a head and I slammed on the brakes. I realised that I need to take some time to dig deep and face everything that I’ve been running away from – some of which had roots that stretched back to my childhood.
A good friend and I began this difficult, tear-filled process that included multiple panic attacks during our hours-long sessions. Slowly, I began peeling back layers and examining the reasons behind my thought processes, decisions, and beliefs.
It was mentally and physically exhausting but over time I began to feel lighter. We also explored the reasons why I felt unfulfilled and lost with the path I began all those months ago.
One realisation was that I was trying to live out a fantasy that wasn’t viable anymore; another was that I was trying to act like others around me in the same industry.
The biggest one, though, was discovering just how strong my Impostor Syndrome had wrapped itself around my psyche. It had been fed for decades through various experiences but especially through my perfectionism, acquired workaholic tendencies, and negative workplace incidents.
That took my breath away – literally – and I began finding my way out of the infinite mirror maze of my thoughts.
Most importantly, my friend counseled me to see that not everything is black and white. There’s still a way to explore my original dreams so that they can grow and mold to match who I am today and fit my current situation.
Here’s a breakdown:
I miss being a journalist but none of my pitches have been accepted because publications have froze or slashed their freelance budgets. Instead of giving up, I’ll focus on building my blog so that it’ll give me a stronger foundation and may even lead to publications contacting me or collaborations with other bloggers or people within my industry.
I was an avid writer but I lost that passion several years ago. It was a struggle to even write simple text for projects. I managed to get those done because it was my job but all forms of personal writing were non-existent. I recently dug out old “writing maps” and I’m selecting random prompts to get myself back into the swing of things. My writing’s horrible and stilted but it’s something. My ultimate goal is to finish editing my debut novel and work the stuff around getting it published – before the end of the year or the pandemic, whichever comes first.
I’ve been toying with the idea of opening my own business since leaving my last job. I’ve put that on hold for now because it turns out that the process is more costly than I’m comfortable spending at the moment. I’ve shifted towards establishing my “personal brand” and offering my services instead.
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It’s not easy but I’m going to do my best to keep re-framing my thoughts and look for solutions so I don’t feel stuck.
In the meantime, I’ll just leave this as a reminder for me and you
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