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Let It Go

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I recognize the danger I’m taking in posting a serious account of a mental illness breakthrough on April Fools Day, but you can’t control when this stuff happens for you. So, there’s no punchline, this is just all good news.

There’s a line in the song “Let It Go,” from Frozen where Elsa says, “It’s funny how some distance/makes everything seem small/and the fears that once controlled me/can’t get to me at all.”

That’s pretty inspirational. But what the song doesn’t tell you is that it’s a lot of work to get to that line.

In 2009, I was about to have a second series published with Mira, and it was a series I was so incredibly passionate about. I loved it with all my heart, and I was so sure readers would love it as much.

For the most part, they did not.

I was crushed. I was also at the start of the five hellish years that span this story. I lost my house– the house I grew up in–, struggled with IRS problems that I’m still paying off until I’m forty, had surgery to remove a huge tumor from my spine, got Fibromyalgia which led to a pill addiction, developed epilepsy and became an alcoholic. It was not the best time of my life.

A brain affected by mental illness can really mess up a person’s life by creating parallels and patterns where there are none. And to my mind– which was mentally ill before all the stress and the raging substance addictions I had at that point– I decided that I knew what was up: the universe had handed someone else’s success to me, and now that it knew what a fuck up and fraud I was and always would be, it had directed that success to the right address and I would go on being the same failure I had always been.

Obviously, the answer was to kill myself.

I was already seriously mentally and physically ill. I was in pain all the time, walking with a cane when I could walk at all, living in a constant daze of pills and booze, missing my daughter’s first year, and watching my career, the thing that gave me the only sense of self worth I’d ever allowed myself to have, slowly spiral away. To my mind, it all made perfect sense. But then a family member committed suicide, and I realized that I was’t ready to do it yet. It would hurt people that I cared about. I decided that I was definitely going to kill myself, but that my reluctance to do it right at that moment was a sign that I shouldn’t do it yet.

Obsessive compulsive disorder has long caused me to look for “signs.” I wanted desperately to see a pattern in things, I wanted a clear signal that it was the right time to commit suicide. I began to set benchmarks for what would be my sign, or at least the thing that proved to me that I was worthless, that I was a fraud, and above all, that I had been given something I had not earned, because it had belonged to someone else the whole time.

I attended the Authors After Dark conference in Philadelphia, and at the book signing, a very earnest, very enthusiastic young woman came up to me and started going on and on about how great my books were and how the writing was so amazing and the characters, etc. until I realized that the book she was holding in her hands wasn’t my book. And as this person continued to talk,  it became clear that she had the wrong author. All the writers around me looked at me with such open second-hand embarrassment, I had to get up and leave. And I thought, “Okay, there’s a sign.” But it wasn’t the sign. So I put it in my back pocket and kept waiting. These instances kept coming, and began to form the foundation for my paranoid delusion that I had somehow taken something that didn’t belong to me. I interpreted each of these misunderstandings as a sign. But I still wasn’t ready.

By this time, Harlequin was no longer interested in seeing manuscripts from me. I’d written a critically well-received book that showed absolutely no hope of earning out the advance they’d been paid for it. My last editor had passed on a proposal days before I learned he was leaving the company, not through a phone call or an email to me or to my agent, but through another author’s tweet. I had written erotic romance for a small press, but it didn’t pay the bills. I worked as an editor, making twenty-five dollars a manuscript. Twenty-five dollars for manuscripts in excess of 50,000 words, while I was on food stamps and my husband had to return to the job he’d left in order to go to college. I had to go back to work at the McDonald’s I’d worked at when I was twenty. College was gone for him. Writing was gone for me. I was utterly humiliated, and I convinced myself that I’d proved everyone in my life right. Oh, because everybody in my life secretly thought I was a worthless fuck up, even though they’d never said or done anything to indicate that’s how they felt. I forgot that part.

Obviously, things started getting better for me and my family the very second I said, “Fuck this” and started writing about 50 Shades of Grey. At that point, I was like, “You know what? My career is over, I’ve been planning to kill myself for three years, anyway, so what’s going to happen? What can the publishing world possibly do to me? Spank me? They don’t even know I’m out here. Fuck this.” And everyone was being so nice and so sweet and people were saying I was cool and they were going to buy my books, and I started writing this thing called The Boss and people were liking it.

Things should have been looking up, right? I didn’t need to kill myself anymore?

Wrong. My diseased brain had been so focused on that one goal, that it was too late. I knew I was going to kill myself eventually, and that made me angry. I didn’t even want to kill myself. Things were going good, and I loved my therapist and I felt like maybe I was getting free from all the misery that my OCD and depression had latched onto. But I knew it was going to happen. I was going to commit suicide, even though I didn’t want to. It was just a matter of time.

One afternoon I got on twitter, and saw something that made me go, “This is it.” I don’t know how I decided that this was the moment, but  I went upstairs, my whole body shaking, and with complete calm told my husband that I had the final sign, and it was time to kill myself.

This came as a shock to him, as you might imagine, because I’d never told him about my suicide plan– “conceal/don’t feel,” as the song goes. He knew I was depressed, and I was projecting my mental health issues onto a person and a situation that had nothing to do with me. But he’d never realized how deeply ill I was. He made a frantic call to Bronwyn Green, who was on vacation with her family at the time, and they discussed whether or not I should be hospitalized. Between the two of them, they talked me down, and got me to see some reason until I could make an emergency visit to my therapist.

That day was the ultimate low. And out there were people I had never even met and things I couldn’t control, and I had elected them as the deciding factor in whether or not I lived or died.

How fucking unfair was that? My natural inclination is to say, “Jenny, you’re a terrible person.” But I have to accept the fact that I am mentally ill, and sometimes, I latch on to freaky, untrue shit, and it’s out of my control or anyone else’s control. Still, I’m responsible for that, and if I believed in karma, I would think, “Wow, I’m in a lot of trouble right now.”

Obviously, I didn’t kill myself. I walked away from that low point and I didn’t look back. For a while, I caught myself having the occasional weird thought, but I’d nip it in the bud. And I started looking for signs again, but not “suicide, next exit” signs. I began to look for actual, measurable progress in my mental health. Like feeling good about myself, and liking what I had written. Like standing up for myself in my career, and not pretending I needed to scrounge for crumbs because I failed to meet the high expectations set at the beginning of my career. And I have to get this out here, but reallyReally, Harlequin? You gave an author with one series under her belt and already declining sales a four book contract for fifty-thousand dollars per title? I’m sorry, but I am not the biggest fuck up in this scenario.

So, why am I writing all of this now? Because last night, I got the biggest, most important sign of my recovery, and gave the biggest fuck you in the history of fuck you’s to my jacked up mental health. I can’t share what this was; it wouldn’t be fair to out the name of an innocent bystander who was unknowingly involved in my suicide plan, and it’s impossible to tell that particular story without being specific. But it feels like, at least for a moment, my mind is clear and I can live with a whole, open heart and concentrate on doing what I love without needing it to murder me.

I was scared to write this post. It makes me sound like a legit crazy person. Because I am. I am super duper full time wacky pants. And I always will be; there’s no cure for mental illness. But the good news is, it’s getting better. I really am able to “Let It Go,” and not try to force myself to feel negative or positive emotions I think I should be feeling. I’m not going to try and show people the emotions I think they want to see, in order to protect them from the truth of my nuttiness. I’m going to be in charge of, and even like, myself. I’m not going to throw the weight of my suicidal thoughts onto someone else, someone I’ve never even met, and make them symbolically responsible for my life, so that I don’t have to face up to my real problems. And I’m going to forgive myself for being my own worst enemy. And I am not going to kill myself.

Tonight, I feel healthier and happier than I have in a very long time. The next time I latch on to some obsessive quest to justify why I should literally destroy myself, I’m going to remember to “Let It Go.” Because it’s way easier than carrying it around for five years.

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56 Comments

  1. Cat R.
    Cat R.

    Too shaky after reading to say much more than “been there”. And it will be better. Stay with us, ok? All my best wishes and hopes are with you.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Same to you! I hope you’re never “there” again.

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
  2. I love you so fucking much. And I’m so happy that you’ve come to this place. Like unbelievably happy. Part of it is totally selfish because I can’t imagine a world without you and I don’t ever want to have to. And part of it is that I just love knowing that you’re finally seeing what the rest of us have seen all along and that’s that you’re incredible and so, so loved.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Oh, yeah, easy for you to say, since you’re chronologically disposed to die before me, you selfish bitch! LOL

      Love you back!

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
  3. I want to let you know that you’ve had a huge impact on my life since I started reading your blog a few years ago. At first I admired your wit and way with words. As time went on I saw you sticking up for people, being raw and honest about mental illness, and openly caring about how things affect people. I very much appreciate that you exist and reach out and interact with people in a positive way, even over delicate issues. (See the comments on the JLaw post) While I know it’s impossible to really know someone just by reading their blog and twitter feed, you present yourself in such an open and real way that it’s inspired me to be that way. I used to think that I had to be a certain way on the Internet to make sure that as a writer I’m taken seriously. But being such a fan of yours, loving your books, and appreciating how awesome you are, it made me see that the fact that you are a real person and not a persona is what makes you one of my favourite authors. You are an amazing person, Jenny, and I’m so glad to hear that you’re ok. :*) K I’m getting all emotional now so I’m going to stop. Thank you for being you!

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Well, I’m glad to be of help. I tried for a lot of years to not let any of this stuff show to anyone, and honestly, saying “fuck it” has been freeing in that now, I’m not alone, because so many other people are going, “I have been/am in the same place.”

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
    • Serenity
      Serenity

      I would like to second what Caitlin said, bc she has put it much more eloquently than I would be able to do right now.
      Everyone has their issues, thank you for sharing yours and standing up for your beliefs. I am a fan of your writing, but I also respect you as a person.

      April 7, 2014
      |Reply
  4. Jenny, I am so humbled by this post. I’ve struggled with mental health issues for many years, but have never been able to put them into words so perfectly. Also, for what it’s worth, you’re something of an inspiration to me as a writer and finding your 50 Shades recaps proved to me that I wasn’t alone at a time when I was recovering from abuse and hadn’t yet put myself back together again. I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you. I am so pleased that you’re feeling positive and long may it continue!! X

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I’m so glad that I put it into words that help other people! Because I always think, “I have to describe this just right, so I can get people to understand.” But I’m always thinking, “How do I get someone who doesn’t have mental illness to understand,” and I forget that sometimes, when we’re going through stuff, we might not even know the right words until someone comes along with them. 😀

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
  5. Megan M.
    Megan M.

    I haven’t been a blog reader for very long – I found you through comments to a 50 Shades recap that was/is happening on Pervocracy – but I love reading what you have to say. I know you’ve alluded to having health problems but I had no idea you were going through all of those things. Thank you for sharing all of this so honestly, it really helps to hear what other people are going through and that they have come out the other side and survived. I’m really glad that you realized you didn’t have to kill yourself. I hope things continue to get better for you in the future. 🙂

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Man, I’m so glad I didn’t kill myself, too! And I’m happy to hear that other people are glad, so thank you! 😀

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t say that I relate necessarily, but then I don’t write amazing books like you do, either. We’re always here for you – don’t ever be afraid to tell us what you’re feeling!

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Thanks! I don’t think I could ever stop telling people what I’m feeling, LOL.

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
  7. Crazy is okay. Crazy is fine. I found your blog when a friend recommended your 50 Shades recaps, and I came to like you as a reader and a fellow author and a blog reader and an occasional Twitter chatter-er and a fan of Buffy. I started watching Merlin because of your recaps, too. And I want you to know how valuable it is to those of us who are aspiring authors out there (or “pre-published” or whatever you want to call it) to see someone be honest that no, the writing journey isn’t all a dichotomy between “languish unloved with nobody caring” or “plucky struggle until suddenly you’re a NYT best-seller sharing your success story and everything is roses if you just believe in yourself!” It sounds stupid, but nobody seems to want to talk about traditional publishing careers fizzling out or self-pub careers taking off. You can do both, and you make the writing world a better place for it.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Say pre-published, because you’re gonna make it happen. 😀

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
  8. Thank you for being so honest; you inspire me. I had a similar plan shortly after I miscarried and then got divorced. My plan was I had to pay off all my loans first; I have a thing about “being a burden.” Luckily, therapy and time helped me change my mind.
    I’m glad you are still here.

    also: https://twitter.com/MakingOfs/status/451003833431621632/photo/1

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      It makes me wonder how many people are walking around with plans, and we don’t know. Probably a lot.

      But OMG CUTIE KHALEESI!

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
  9. I’m so glad you are still here. I have also struggled with mental health things, though I made myself this promise when I first got depressed at 14 that I would never commit suicide, and for whatever reason I’ve been able to hold on to it enough that I’ve never had a plan to kill myself, despite desperately wanting to at times. so, I’ve sorta been there? Regardless, I’m so glad to hear you are doing better. *all of the virtual hugs*

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I’m glad you’re still here, too!

      April 1, 2014
      |Reply
  10. It was not until relatively recently that I realized that talking myself down from killing myself was not the sign on robust mental health that I thought it was. I mean, I only thought about it, it’s not as though I tried anything.

    One hospital stay, proper diagnosis and stretch of treatment later, I now know that if my mind starts drifting in that direction (even with all the nifty medications they have me on, it still happens), it’s time to pack my bags and find a safe place to sleep that night .

    I’m very, very glad you’re here and with us and I salute your bravery in being this open about the things in your head.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  11. laine
    laine

    YAY! (I see now that you said this was all good news right at the top, but I skipped over that at first and then became convinced that the post was a suicide note. Started crying at my desk, over what turned out to be a reading comprehension failure!) I’m so glad you’re feeling better!

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  12. Jon
    Jon

    I do not really express emotions but I am very glad you have reached a point where you a feeling better with the world and yourself in it.

    I also am of the opinion that if more people had more in common with you then the world would be a markedly better place.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  13. Screen is blurry through my tears. Thank you. Just…thank you for sharing that. Too often anything to do with mental illness is hushed and hidden away, which of course compounds the shame and helplessness those who suffer feel. This post was honest and amazing, and I’m so glad you wrote it.

    You are so loved and I’m thankful every day that you are in my life, my friend.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  14. Fortunately, my depression is not so severe that I’ve ever considered killing myself, but I can so relate to the feelings of self-doubt and patterns of self-destructive behaviour. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m getting triggered and how to back myself off that train quickly enough that my head spins and resets. Obviously not every day is great, but there are more good moments than bad.

    Add me as someone who would miss you very much! Even your serious posts like this one add so much to my day. 🙂

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  15. AD
    AD

    Jenny, you are a brave and amazing woman and I can’t really say any more than that!

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  16. Kate
    Kate

    I echo everyone else. I am very glad you’re here. It’s awful that you’re mental illness got you to that point in your life. I have been really enjoying reading what you have to say. I don’t always agree with you, but you always make me question things that is for sure, and that is a great thing.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  17. Yevig
    Yevig

    Dear Jenny,
    Im really glad that you reached a much better place now. I stumbled upon your blog due to your fantastic 50 shades recaps and stayed for the Boss and beyond. I deeply admire your honesty regarding mental illness, body issues and your frank discussion of all the things that make us different and wonderful kink-wise. I am a huge fan of the Boss series (I read the Bride in just over a day while working full-time heheh) and I cannot wait to see more from you. Just wanted to let you know that you have yet another fan 🙂

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  18. Nemora
    Nemora

    I am really glad you’re still here, but I’m even happier that you’re coming to a place of recovery.

    I’ve been there, too. I never had a plan and I never finished following through on it. But I’ve been there.

    Here’s to smashing through depression and finding that place where one’s mental health issues are manageable rather than threatening.

    <3

    I have a lot of admiration for you.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  19. Arti
    Arti

    I am so sorry you’ve been through so much awful stuff, and I’m so glad you’re still here.

    I lost a family member to suicide ten years ago this year, and have always struggled with mental illness myself. I’ve definitely been through times where it just seemed inevitable I would go the same way.

    I’m working on getting my stuff sorted out, but it always helps to hear that other people have been through similar things. Even when it’s scary and sad.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  20. Regina Chapman
    Regina Chapman

    Thank you for this beautiful and honest post. Glad you’re (still) around. <3

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  21. Leaping Ocelots
    Leaping Ocelots

    I just want to echo everyone here and say that I am so, soooooo glad you’re still around. I’m so glad that everything is getting better for you, and I hope to someday be in that same boat. I hope to be able to “Let It Go” instead of forcing myself to feel and think what everyone else around me wants me to feel and think. I hope to be able to express myself without being told to shut up, either from someone else or my own inner jerkbrain.

    Thank you so much for this post; it means so damn much to a lot of people. I’ve bookmarked it and will read it whenever my mind is not in the best of places. Thank you.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  22. I don’t quite know how to say this the right way, I don’t want it to sound wrong, or freak you out but… Holy shit you are one brave lady. I love reading this blog, I think your posts are funny and witty and wise and until your recent post touching on this subject I had no idea you were struggling with mental illness. I am truly delighted to hear that you’ve had that let it go moment. Because it looked like you really packed it all in back there.

    I can’t pretend to imagine what you’ve been through. But I know how it feels to be in physical pain day in, day out. I know what a royal feck arse it is to have to use a stick and I know a little about what alcoholism can do to a person. That would have been enough for me, without all the rest.

    Thank you for posting that and congratulations. I hope the light continues to shine on you, big time.

    All the best,

    MTM

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  23. Pansy Petal
    Pansy Petal

    Thank you for sharing yourself. The Boss helped me find your blog and the first time I read it you were discussing mental illness and some of the same issues I suffered. I have been a fan/supporter since. It is so reassuring to know I am not alone. I have a plan too. Fortunately for me, I can not do that to my daughter, so I am still here. And yes, with time, I am “letting it go”. It is wonderful people like you that give me hope and tools to continue. Thank you. BTW – Love your very technical terminology; “I am super duper full time wacky pants.” And that video – watched it twice and was in tears throughout! So inspiring. Looking for the movie now.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  24. Amanda
    Amanda

    I found you through your Blood Ties books mannnnny years ago, and I’ve been reading your blog ever since there was a blog. I love reading what you have to say, and I’m glad you’re on the road to feeling better.

    April 1, 2014
    |Reply
  25. I’m so glad you’ re feeling better, and that you are finally able to decide that you are worthy of life. Because you sure are! Your blog is one of the highlights of my week! You’re an awesome writer and one of the funniest people I know! And I love you even more now that I find out that this song in Frozen has made the same impact on you as it has on me 🙂

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
  26. Siobhan
    Siobhan

    As another once-suicidal, depressed, and anxious alcoholic, I hear you, and I am so very glad that you feel you have turned a corner. I will tell you this — somewhere in all of that you WROTE A BOOK (possibly more than one, I am not sure of your timeline). You took care of a CHILD. OMG. I am beyond awed. Seriously. At *MY* low point, I was quitting my job one step ahead of being fired, leaving my apartment one second before being kicked out, and considered showering a monumental accomplishment that I should get paid for. And you… you DID stuff.

    You are amazing, and when the asshole that lives in your head starts telling you lies, just… try to keep this thread bookmarked, ok?

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
  27. Jemmy
    Jemmy

    Thank you for your honesty, it’s a remarkable thing and you are a remarkable person. I hope the clarity you have right now remains with you always

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
  28. Stella
    Stella

    I too had a plan that I never enacted and never told anyone about at the time. It must have been terrifying to get the ‘sign’ after you’d changed your mind; my sign never came, and I’m so glad.

    I’m really, really happy that you’re in a position to make this post. <3

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
  29. Iara
    Iara

    My sister deals with mental illness, and it’s been hard for me to understand her, help her, or at least not make her life any harder. Reading stories like these give me hope that someday she’ll reach a better place in her life. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m happy for you, and wish you all the best.

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
  30. Brandi
    Brandi

    All I can say Jenny is that I’m so glad you’re doing better. Keep us updated because we’ll be here to cheer you on. 🙂

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
  31. Anon
    Anon

    I started reading your blog because of 50 Shades and stayed because I love when you write about your own work and your life, and the more honest you are, the more I love you. I mean, in a non-creepy, non-stalkery kind of way.

    When I started reading your 50 Shades recaps, I was in an abusive relationship and felt completely trapped. At times, I got so sick from the stress I couldn’t work and had trouble getting out of bed. I was drunk 24/7 for two months. Glob knows it triggered my pre-existing mental health problems. Almost everyone I talked to about it dismissed my concerns and told me to stay with him, and the few who acknowledged the abuse told me, “If you don’t leave him now, you can’t complain about anything he does to you in the future.” I have never felt so alone.

    But seeing you and your readers pointedly condemn the misogyny, ableism, homophobia, classism and racism in those books gave me hope for the human race. That’s super hyperbolic, I know, but I honestly felt less alone because you and the Trout Nation get it. It gave me hope that there might be people who don’t excuse what my ex did to me or blame me for it, and people who care about things like inequality. And to top it all off, you made me laugh. You were such a comfort to me in such a dark time, and I’m so happy for you. This is a huge accomplishment, and you are a wonderful human being!

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      PS: “Let It Go” has been my recovery anthem too! I get so angry when I think of all the people who expected me to be silent about verbal, physical and sexual abuse, to “be the good girl you always have to be,” and then I think, “Let it go, let it go/That perfect girl is gone.”

      April 2, 2014
      |Reply
  32. Janine
    Janine

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for existing. Thank you for trusting us with your story.

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
  33. Jessica
    Jessica

    You are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal.

    April 2, 2014
    |Reply
  34. Nadia Oliver
    Nadia Oliver

    Hurray for Jenny and her progress. If I could jump up and down I would. LOL
    I’ve been in the hospital since January 12th. Between spinal surgery, severe bouts of depression and learning how to walk again I tried to keep some type of “happy” around me. Then into my room walked Uber Bitch. This past Friday that She Devil delivered some devastating news while SMILING at me. I totally and completely LOST MY SHIT. So now I’m on suicide watch. My sister/best friend Renee came to visit me today and pointed out that the windows were too small to jump out of and since I’m still learning to walk, I’d never make it out the door. I laughed for 20 minutes straight. I may not have a home, or ever see my cat again, but I know that I am loved. I think I can put off suicide for just a little while longer. I love u Jenny. Keep your head up and make a Fuck You necklace.

    April 3, 2014
    |Reply
  35. Alexandra Aimee
    Alexandra Aimee

    Jen, I’m so sorry the last few years have been so rough. I really think that you and me and those struggling to find a way to have a life all around us will be remembered as the new greatest generation, because the harsh reality is stories like yours are closer to the norm than the exception these days. I don’t say that to minimize your struggle, I say that to convey that none of these fucked up, awful things you’ve endured are your fault or a reflection of what you deserve. They’re just our time. And that sucks. And it’s so unfair. And it’s something to be really fucking angry about… But not at yourself, because you didn’t do it. Our generation was tweens watching Buffy (or, more accurately watching Angel on Buffy) when the house of cards that is burning around us today was being built.

    Also. Re: this while Harlequin thing. As far as I’m concerned the things you write are truly top of the pile, and you absolutely deserve to be paid $50,000 per book. So they didn’t sell well. So what? That definitely doesn’t mean they weren’t worth what was paid for them. Evaluating an artistic work on dollars earned is sadly a huge part of the game, but it’s super important to remember that it’s not an accurate metric. It’s a liar. A big fat one. So is evaluating art based on mass popularity (see: 50 shades.) I feel like tuning these things out is one of the huge, major, daily artistic struggles. Don’t fault yourself for not being able to do it all the time– no one can. But keep trying. I guarantee you those books were worth $50,000 each. You fulfilled your part of the bargain. Nothing that happened after they hit the presses is on your head.

    I’m at once glad to hear you are feeling better, and sad to hear you were struggling so much. Would it help if we in Trout Nation wore silly hats? I feel like that would help, for some reason.

    April 3, 2014
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  36. Ilex
    Ilex

    I’ve had a hard time responding to this post because thinking about it makes me hyperventilate. I’ve been there, too, with the depression and conviction of my own utter worthlessness. (Saw my therapist just yesterday and cried all over her …)

    It was super-brave of you to write this post. I’m heartened to see awareness of mental illness growing — maybe it will get some better acceptance one of these days, too. But I’m also discouraged to see how many writers suffer from repeated debilitating depression. There are far too many of us going through this.

    Just try to remember that no matter how isolated depression makes you believe you are — it’s just not true. You’re part of the fold. 🙂 I’m so glad to know you’re feeling better.

    April 3, 2014
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  37. Mandi Rei Serra
    Mandi Rei Serra

    Jenny, you are my hero in many ways.

    Been there, done that in regards to mental health. I’m glad you’ve moved on to a sunnier spot in life.

    I came for the 50 Shades recaps and stayed for the awesomeness that is Trout Nation.
    Thank you in so many ways.

    Mr Head says ‘ello.
    http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/22800000/Tony-fanart-anthony-stewart-head-22848763-800-600.jpg
    http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/22800000/Tony-fanart-anthony-stewart-head-22848797-760-568.jpg

    April 4, 2014
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  38. *Hugs* I’m so glad you decided to stay with us. And thank you for sharing. Rock on, lady. <3

    April 5, 2014
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  39. AndiNZ
    AndiNZ

    Jenny, I’ve been thinking about this post for a few days, while reading a whole bunch of back entries of Sweaters For Days that I hadn’t got to until now.

    I am frankly amazed at everything you’ve dealt with in the past few years – fantastic highs, and crushing lows, and of course the daily grind of carving out a life for yourself and your family.

    I suffered from depression for a while when I was in my teens, and for a time I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I contemplated suicide, but ironically, fear of failure held me back. Some days though, it felt like I was living heartbeat to heartbeat, just to get through. And I didn’t have anyone depending on me, or many of the worries of adult life back then.

    So I just want to say that even though I only know you from your writing, I think you are pretty amazing. I can only imagine those who know you best think so times a thousand, because they’ve seen what you’ve been going through first hand.

    And from here on out, you totally deserve every bit of success that comes your way, because you have *paid* your dues.

    Definitely come back to this post when you need a boost too. 🙂

    April 8, 2014
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  40. Java2
    Java2

    Wow. No way could I articulate as clearly as some of the comments already here.
    Just started reading your blog less than a month ago, following a trail of web crumbs to your FSOG recaps. I keep finding myself saying “I love this woman!”
    Zenna Henderson saved my life so many years ago. She wrote about “The People” and one story had them rescue a would be jumper by shaming her for wanting to jump in front of a truck. What about the poor driver? they said. He’d me traumatized. It was a thought to keep me going through midnight to a glimmer of light now and then. And now I have this to read. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    May 12, 2014
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  41. penny
    penny

    Thank you so mcuch Jenny! your post always inspire me in one way or another. I finally tried a couple moths ago, and failed, and thank god i didnt die, but I could’ve and I’m glad I didnt. you’ve been through so much and you’re kicking ass hard af! I know I can too, and I can like myself, and it’s really comforting to know there’s someone cool as fuck who’s doing what they love with mental health issues too. well anyway, thanks a boat load, sending love!

    May 8, 2015
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  42. Shelly
    Shelly

    I know this is over a year old, but I just wanted to say thank you for writing this and being so honest about what you went through. I work in the mental health field and the stigma and shame associated with these issues is so destructive and such a massive hurdle to be overcome. I commend you for speaking out about what was obviously a very painful time for you. It can truly make a difference in people’s lives to know that they’re not alone in these feelings and that they can be overcome.
    I really hope you’re doing ok now and that you realise how much joy your work brings to others. If it helps at all, your brilliant dissection of abusive relationships in the 50 shades reviews helped a friend of mine get out of a bad relationship. The things you do are important and help people. Thank you!

    June 3, 2015
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  43. Hav
    Hav

    You’re a pretty rad person, Jen. I’m really glad that you got better because the world (at the very least my world) would have been a less amazing place without you.

    July 5, 2015
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