This past October I suffered what my doctor described as a “break-down.”
I was returning from a thirty minute walk, my mind a whirlwind of what I had to get done on that day, the remainder of the year and the rest of my life – when suddenly I became over-heated, my heart began to race, my stomach soured, my legs turned to jelly and I truly believed that I was having a massive heart attack. I thought about my daughter, my mother and siblings and how sad it would be to receive a call from a stranger telling them that I had expired.
I struggled over to a group of young men and asked if they would hail a taxi for me, which they did and in addition had to help me into. I made it home, practically crawled up the stairs and into my house where I collapsed onto my sofa.
I was still alive, but my nerves were shot – hence the term “nervous break-down.”
The next day I went to the doctor where I was reduced to a mess of tears. We had been down this road before. I have suffered from panic attacks since I was child, but this by far was the worse attack I had ever experienced.
I have a tough exterior, but am all pink and soft at the center and I’ve always secretly thought that the famous line in Zora Neale Hurston’s wonderful novel “Their Eyes were watching God: “…put me down gently Janie, I'm a cracked plate". ...” always best described me.
Medication in hand, I returned home and started working on getting better. I was well aware of what had brought on my unraveling – and so I turned my attention away from the problems and worries that had plagued for more than a year.
Now you may be reading this and clutching your chests, sighing “Poor her.” but don’t. God has a way of swooping in and setting you on the right path. I was going, going, going…spinning in one place and accomplishing very little. God slammed me into a brick wall (thank goodness he didn’t throw me under a bus) a brick wall that at the time seemed unconquerable, but over the past eight weeks, I am proud to announce that I am now straddling that wall and the view is magnificent!
If I had not hit that brick wall, I certainly would not have thrown the amount I have into my 10th Anniversary, 10,000-book campaign. Every new day brought with it a new idea, a new way to reach readers that had never heard of my work or me. In a matter of weeks, the remaining stock of SUGAR books in my publishers warehouse was shipped out and sold.
Prior to my “break-through” my future as a published writer seemed dreary. I felt that the industry had pressed a great, big, black book against my throat that was every so slowly cutting off my air. It angered me to know that certain people and entities had sought to extinguish my purpose here on earth.
So I got mad and then as they saying goes, then I got motivated.
Of course I could not have done this without the assistance of my readers and fellow authors who purchased books and helped to spread the word.
I am supremely grateful for my “break-through” that came disguised as a “break-down” and I know that I am a better person and author because of it.
Don’t ever let anybody steal your joy or your purpose, hang on to both with your life.
Causes Bernice McFadden Supports
Hurston Wright Foundation
Girls Write Now
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)