Good Evening, Papa Bear.
I am writing to ask your advice on what I should do regarding wishing to share my work again, but being apprehensive to. Firstly, I'm aware advice often given in this case, with all good intents, is "ignore the haters and do it anyway." That may be fine for "normal" folks, but I must share with you I suffer from C-PTSD, which caused me to also suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder. (Don't worry Papa, I see a therapist weekly)
So, for me, it's not just a matter of shrugging off trolls and haters. My writing was the main thing that got me through my hellish childhood; I didn't write then but now to help me deal, and my OC's mean everything to me. It cuts me to the bone when a stranger on the net calls one a faggot (this happened) or another time "your art is frowned upon because anthro machines are for children, it's not ok that you draw this," so I left DA and even FA cause I couldn't handle all the negative attention on my dear work.
I saw a blog around this time from a person who said, essentially, "If you are this sensitive, you have no business on the net. Create a private blog to share with family and friends only." So that's what I did, Papa, and I guess it worked, but it feels sad to be run out of town, so to speak, but I also know I can't handle people's meanness cause of my issues, either.
What do YOU think, Papa Bear? I am hoping you have some familiarity with the nature of G.A.D. and understand this is not mere "wimpiness" on my part but a damaged girl truly trying her best.
Best wishes, Dear One.
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Over the last year and a half or so, I have become personally quite aware of PTSD and anxiety disorders because of my boyfriend. He is a Vietnam vet who was on the front lines and suffers greatly from that experience to this day. He takes medication so that he doesn't have nightmares, yet he is very on edge much of the time during the day. A slight thing can set him off. He, like you, has a therapist, but the bottom line is that, even though intellectually he knows there is no reason for him to act this way in a secure and loving home, he will always be this way because he is damaged just in a way that is just as real as someone who has lost a limb in action.
Therefore, in your case, you are right. My saying, "Just ignore the haters and chase after your dream" will not alleviate your anxiety and feelings of being butthurt. Your condition leaves you as vulnerable to criticism as a diabetic is to sugar. Unfortunately, there is no insulin-comparable drug for you, although there are some medications for depression and anxiety that might help alleviate issues a bit to make them tolerable.
It's good that you have a therapist, but you might also want to get involved in some group therapy. Has your therapist suggested this to you? Have you tried other avenues besides one-on-one therapy? One thought that springs to mind is going to a camp. Did you know that there are special camps for people with PTSD and GAD? The benefit of these camps is twofold: 1) you get a break from the day-to-day life and can focus on you, and 2) you can learn and share with others who share your problems, get empathy, sympathy, plus some needed social interactions. The more social interaction you get with others, the more skills you develop that you can use when you return to daily life so you can deal better with people who rub you the wrong way.
So, my advice to you is first work on your PTSD/GAD until you feel a bit more able to manage your feelings around "regular" life situations. Only then would I re-address how to share your art with the world. You will never get over it entirely, but you should be able to get to a point where you can manage the stress better.
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