My first published book received its 200th review on Amazon yesterday. Time for celebration you would think. Unfortunately, the rating was a one star ‘it was rubbish’ analysis. The reader didn’t connect with what I was trying to convey and was disappointed with her purchase.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not my first one-star review, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but when you struggle with depression and anxiety, every single one is like a kick in the gut.
The black fog quickly descended as I re-read the review over and over until I could recite it off by heart. Why this particular evaluation tipped me over the edge I couldn’t tell you because I’ve had far worse in the way of derogatory comments, but that’s the fragile balance of a mind plagued with mental health issues.
The tears swiftly followed, and then the sugar cravings kicked in. The biscuit barrel was emptied, copious amounts of coffee was drunk, and Grey’s Anatomy (Lexi and the plane crash episode – if you’re a fan you’ll understand!!) was downloaded and watched.
It was as I sobbed into my drained coffee mug and repeated ‘damn you Shonda Rhimes’ for the millionth time that my phone pinged and I read a private Facebook message from a lady who had recently joined my Facebook Group. She was reading my book, the same book that had received its 200th review, and was loving it. She told me how helpful it had been to her, how much the challenges resonated with her own life, and the changes she was going to put in place because she’d been inspired. Wow. She made my night.
I hiccupped slightly, put down the remote and the custard cream, and shot back a grateful response. It was then that the black fog began to lift.
Not everyone will like your work. Not everyone will resonate with your story. Some people will go out of their way to be critical, while others will offer constructive feedback that you can use going forward. Why did this particular review wind me so much? I’ve been crazy busy recently, I’m tired, slightly overwhelmed, and pushing towards a deadline so all of this could easily have contributed to my fragile state of mind.
As authors, we tend to be quite introverted as we hide behind our computer screens. Putting our work out there for the world to see, buy, read, praise, or criticise is an overly extrovert action. We have to find the happy medium where we get to enjoy our craft but switch off a little from the buzz each title creates.
There were many factors involved in my mini-meltdown, and although it took me a few hours to reach a comfortable conclusion, I’m happy to admit that I’m okay with people not liking my books. I write about personal development which is unique to each reader. There are twenty positive messages for every one negative, and that’s what I need to remind myself when I contemplate switching off the computer and giving up.
Looking after our mental health is just as important as fuelling and nourishing our physical body, and while finding that balance might take time, it’s worth the effort. In this instance, I turned to my self-care kit and began the process of healing once again.
I’d love to hear how you cope with negativity or knockbacks. Some people can brush it off with ease while others dwell on issues for longer than necessary. What do you do to support your mental health?