The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

Book-blogging with anxiety (a post containing virtual hugs, and kittens.)

on October 10, 2016

Hi guys! I’ve been thinking about posting this for some time, and as today is World Mental Health Day, it seems like the right time to throw these thoughts out into the blogosphere. I have a tendency to feel like I’m alone in how I’m feeling, but the truth is, lots of people within the book-blogging community struggle with mental health conditions, so this is me reaching out and saying that if you yourself feel that way, you are not alone.

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I’m not sure if I’ve ever explicitly said so on my blog, but I suffer from depression and anxiety. Sometimes the way I’m feeling gets in the way of blogging, as you can probably tell from how sporadic a blogger I’ve been over the past few months. I’m trying at the moment – it’s very hard, but I’m trying – to convince myself that I should NOT feel guilty about this.

Book-blogging can be stressful at the best of times, and I know I’m not alone in all of the anxieties I experience with this hobby. I LOVE blogging, I love the community, I love discussing books with you guys and fangirling and being part of something so awesome. But there are so many stresses and struggles that sit alongside the good stuff, which are only amplified by anxiety and depression, and I know I’m not alone in this:

I can’t be the only one who sees how many books another human is reading and reviewing per week and feels stressed that it’s been two weeks and I haven’t finished a single book because I can’t concentrate right now

I can’t be the only one who gets panicky because it’s been more than a week and I haven’t replied to my blog comments because I’m overwhelmed, and what if everyone thinks I’m rude and ignorant and lazy

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I can’t be the only one who worries that I’ll be forgotten because I haven’t posted anything in ten days and I don’t know when I’ll be able to because my brain is full of fog and just picking what to have for lunch is a challenge right now

I can’t be the only one who sees other bloggers giving advice like ‘you should try to blog every day, or a least 4 times a week’ and wants to curl up in a little ball of unworthiness because I am clearly not trying hard enough

I can’t be the only one whose heart starts beating faster when somebody says they want to read a book I’ve reviewed, because what if they hate it? What if they never trust my opinion again? And worse still, what if they find it problematic and get offended by it and hate me for encouraging them to read it?

I can’t be the only one who gets anxious when everyone around me is reviewing a new release and I haven’t even read it yet, because reading books is hard when you’re so tired you’re barely alive

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And I certainly can’t be the only one who thinks what I’ve written is a pile of crap when my stats aren’t very good. That I’m a big fat failure full stop.

In fact, I know I’m not the only one.


I’ve decided it’s high time we stopped feeling so guilty. Blogging is supposed to be enjoyable, but sometimes it’s really hard. Sometimes, anxiety and depression can make blogging feel like climbing a mountain. But it’s okay:

It’s okay if it takes us two weeks, three weeks, a month, to read one book.

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It’s okay if it takes us a while to get back to people who’ve commented on our posts – they’ll understand. They won’t throw rocks at us.

It’s okay if we don’t blog for a month – everyone takes hiatuses.

It’s okay not to blog every single day. It’s enough that we’re getting up and getting through the day. We matter more than our blogs, at the end of the day.

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In fact, it’s perfectly okay to do something OTHER than blogging when we get home from a mentally exhausting day at work/school/other gruelling reality thing. It’s okay to binge-watch something on Netflix instead of reading. It’s okay to get into bed at 9.30, even if that is earlier than our Granny retires to hers.

It’s okay if we like a book and somebody else doesn’t – everyone has different opinions, and nobody is going to throw rocks at us for expressing ours.

It’s okay if we don’t review a new release; we can read and review whatever we want, it’s our blog! And we don’t even HAVE to review a book – we could just read it for fun and not worry about it. Nobody is going to throw rocks at us if we don’t come up with 1,000 sparklingly witty and insightful words about Empire of Storms. (In fact, nobody throws rocks in the book blogging community full stop. We’re all lovely human beings.)

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It’s also okay if we don’t get a gazillion views on one of our blog posts. We’re blogging because we enjoy it, and stats don’t matter. Oh and while we’re at it, our blog is not crap, and neither are we.

Basically, it’s okay to give ourselves a break. STOP BEATING OURSELVES UP. We deserve to be happy, and blogging isn’t going anywhere. It’ll still be there when we feel up to it again. And so will all the wonderful people in this community, who understand, and may even feel the same way. 🙂


Much love to you all and hope you have a lovely week. And if any of the above is familiar to you, I am always here for anyone who needs a virtual hug right now.

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Image source: Giphy

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52 responses to “Book-blogging with anxiety (a post containing virtual hugs, and kittens.)

  1. Aura Willow says:

    ❤ this! xxx

  2. Anne says:

    Amen sister!! I’m struggling pretty bad with keeping things up on my blog while also tackling life’s issues and having hardly any energy left to come up with fun stuff over here. But at the end of the day, we do this because it helps us. It’s a creative outlet which is very much welcome when depression kicks in. If anxiety would shut up its ugly head about all the other stuff, everything would be juuuust fine again. *HUGS* I hope you convinced yourself of these things as well 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks Anne. *hugs* I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling recently too. If you ever want someone to talk to, I’m always here. Yess that’s exactly how I feel – sometimes just getting through the day drains all my energy and I can’t think of anything fun or interesting to write, my head is just a pile of mush. But you’re absolutely right, creativity is a good outlet for when you’re feeling depressed and anxious – it’s one of the reasons I’m hoping to get back into short story writing soon, as I think it will be helpful. I just have to remember to stop putting so much pressure on myself about it. I think I did convince myself, at least a little – it felt good to let it out and to tell myself that it’s okay to struggle sometimes, and okay to put my health first. 🙂

      • Anne says:

        ❤ I hope you can gather up the energy and motivation to get back into short story writing soon! Putting your health first is always a top notch priority but it's pretty hard to say no to other things sometimes! (okay, often 😉 )

  3. Oh my goodness. You posted everything I was feeling and couldn’t put in to words. I too suffer from anxiety and depression and am way to hard on myself about the smallest of things. We need reminders like this and it’s the little things that can get us through the day. Thank you!

    • mudandstars says:

      I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been feeling this way too, although I’m really glad that what I wrote helped in some small way. I completely relate to what you said about being hard on yourself about the smallest of things – I do the same thing. I think you’re absolutely right – we need those little reminders that it’s okay not to something if we don’t feel like it – that it’ll be there waiting for us when we’re feeling a little better. If you ever want to talk, I’m here. 🙂

  4. This really made me more aware about anxiety and depression – thank you for that! I nominated you for The Entertainer Blogger Award! If you have already received this award, you can ignore – but I just wanted to say you’re an awesome blogger! 🙂
    The link to the post is here:
    https://hannahreads2001.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/the-entertainer-blogger-award/
    Have a lovely day!

  5. Hugs – anxiety and depression suck.

  6. Transhaan says:

    Cutest post ever! *sends virtual hugs to everyone* I totally agree with the whole idea of blogging at your own rhythm. Blogging is supposed to be fun. If it becomes a chore, something is definitely wrong. I hope everyone understands how blogging is only an extension of your own pleasure of reading, reviewing and interacting! Thank you so much for taking the time to make this post for everyone and even yourself! Great stuff! 😀

    – Lashaan

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thanks so much Lashaan 🙂 Your comment really made me smile. You’re absolutely right – if you don’t blog at your own rhythm, it can become stressful and no longer fun – I really don’t want that to happen! I;m glad that so many people feel the same way. I always get stressed when I compare myself to other bloggers who post every day, but it doesn’t matter – it’s more important to keep enjoying it at our own pace 🙂

  7. ravenandbeez says:

    I needed all of this, especially those last kitties

  8. I also have anxiety and depression, and man, the second half of summer was so hard. I don’t think I read a single book for the entirety of August, and I’m still playing catch-up on NetGalley from all the books I requested in June & July thinking I would be fine. Sometimes it just sneaks up on you, and you spiral, and it sucks. I’m glad you know that you aren’t alone, and there are others like me on here to completely understand what you’re going through and are so proud of you for opening up about it. All of my solidarity hugs to you ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been going through such a hard time too – sending you hugs too ❤ I know exactly what you mean about playing catch up – I've still got books sent to me by authors which I haven't got to yet, and it's so hard because I'm struggling to read at all at the moment. I am going to try not to accept or request any more until I'm doing a bit better, because it can be so overwhelming. I agree – it really does suck. Thank you so much for writing such a lovely comment – it meant a lot to me to know I'm not alone. xx

  9. This is such an INCREDIBLE post, and thank you for writing and sharing it. I definitely relate to all of this, and you’re right, we all should enjoy it and just remember that it’s okay, we are allowed to blog however we want to ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much Marie, this comment means so much to me ❤ I'm glad to know I'm not alone, and that others can relate to these worries too. I just have to keep reminding myself that it's okay and keep on blogging in my own way 🙂

  10. Well, I know you wrote this post to assure other bloggers that they are not alone, but I just wanted to tell you that *you* are not alone. So many other bloggers have similar, if not the same problems. I have had my fair share of the same issues (fortunately very little anxiety, though depression is a work in progress) Stressing over blogging is something I totally understand because, well, blogging can be stressful. It’s just important to focus on all the fun bits (like reading brilliant posts like these!) I do get what you’re saying but you can’t worry about people getting offended or finding something you say problematic- you can’t take responsibility for other people’s anxieties as well as your own- I know if I did it’d drive me crazy (or crazier than I already am 😉 ) And I certainly wouldn’t worry about people disliking something you recommend, cos no one ever does that! (at least not that I’ve ever heard of- not even with fifty shades of grey) As you said- no one throws rocks in the book blogging community!! Anyway, you can take this however you like, that’s just my two cents :)and while we’re at it I concur that your blog is not crap- it’s awesome!!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much – this comment meant so much to me. I’m sorry to hear you’ve struggled with depression too. Blogging can definitely be stressful, and I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in feeling like this (although of course I don’t wish these feelings on other people!!) You’re right about not worrying over other people taking offense – it’s something I need to train myself not to worry about. I have a real issue with doubting my own opinions once I’ve posted something, and worrying how people are going to take them, but you are absolutely right – I can’t take responsibility for that on top of my own worries! Thanks so much – your last comment really made me smile 🙂

      • No worries- the brain’s a complicated thing- so c’est la vie! haha I know what you mean- I agree! I get that- and I second guess myself all the time too- as you said, you’ve got to train yourself not to! Yeah definitely! Ah I’m glad!! 🙂

  11. selinn92 says:

    I have definitely felt all of these things! This was a great post! The blogger community is a better place with you in it 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you so much, this means a lot to me 🙂 I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in feeling like this, and that others can relate. I’m glad we’re all in this together, and can support each other when we’re finding things difficult 🙂

  12. Oh, I didn’t know you had depression and anxiety too. I suffer from these issues and my first episode was very, very severe. It left me dysfunctional for about two years. It makes me sad to think about how much of my life was wasted struggling for health.

    I’m in a much better place right now and about book blogging, I’m much more sporadic than you are, so don’t worry! Some (by some, I mean yours truly) are worse when it comes to output, haha. I think it’s because anxious depressives are often perfectionists, so we want to write the best content, the best reviews, the best everything. Sadly, perfectionism is more often than not, crippling — it’s tied to procrastination, after all.

    On a lighter note, I finally got I’m Thinking of Ending Things thanks to your recommendation! Ugh, looks like a perfect Halloween read!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you suffer from anxiety and depression too. Having such a severe episode must have been so hard for you. I’ve had several bouts of anxiety since the age of 13, but the depression was only diagnosed this year. I’m doing a lot better than I was a few months ago – I’m still having difficult days, but my medication is helping a lot, and I’m having CBT which has been good so far too. I’m really glad that you’re in a better place now too. I also feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time struggling to be happy, but we can’t think like that – the important thing is the present and how we’re doing now. And your comment about sporadic blogging made me smile – I love your blog, and am always happy when you post 🙂 I’ve been terrible at keeping up with other blogs these past few months, but I’m going to do some catching up soon! And I completely relate to what you said about perfectionism – that’s exactly why I find it so hard to blog when I’m feeling low. I feel like I can’t create good content because my brain is mush and I’m not finding life very fun or funny, so how am I going to make my posts like that? And I feel like I can’t post something that isn’t fun and funny, because I’ll be letting myself down. Perfectionism definitely is crippling – it’s something I need to work at fighting! But on a lighter note, I am so happy you bought I’m Thinking of Ending Things! It’s definitely a creepy read, so perfect for this time of year – I hope you end up loving it as much as I did 🙂

  13. Ahhhh Jess, I just love you. It doesn’t matter to me whether you post every day, or once a month, I am always going to look forward to your posts. This post is probably my favorite because it is so honest and raw. I’m so proud of you for putting yourself out there like this. I’m sure there are many book bloggers who can relate to this post, and feel better knowing they are not alone. You are a rockstar!

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww Amanda, your comment made me smile so much! Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. It was a difficult post to write, but I’m really glad I wrote it. I feel like I’m constantly apologizing for my absences between blog posts, and I decided it was time to stop beating myself up. It means so much to me to hear that other people understand, and don’t mind, and accept my sporadic blogging as it is 🙂

  14. daleydowning says:

    All really good points – and you’re right, not saying them out loud won’t make the guilt go away. Sharing how we feel about things other than books is important, too. Thanks for being so honest and open. 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks so much! And I completely agree – sharing those thoughts definitely helped me deal with some of the guilt I was feeling; it’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one who feels this way, though of course I wouldn’t wish for anyone else to feel this way! I think being honest about it has been really helpful, and I really appreciate comments like this one 🙂 it’s nice to feel supported and know I’m not alone.

  15. You are definitely not alone, Jess! ❤ I have anxiety too and I'm so glad you took the time to write this post and extend a virtual hand to all of the other book bloggers who deal with mental health problems on a day-to-day basis!

    I totally feel everything that you've written and although blogging is such an awesome, fun, exciting hobby it can also be really stressful and it's really easy to feel like you're falling behind, not trying hard enough, not replying to people's comments or interacting enough or just generally being a rubbish blogger. I know anxiety double exacerbates all of those feelings! But you're so right, it IS okay if you take a break or a hiatus, it IS okay if it takes you three days to reply to someone's comments and it's definitely okay not write or read if you feel like you can't or don't have the energy to do so.

    Keep doing what you're doing – you and your blog and both brilliant! ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks so much Sammie. ❤ I really appreciate everything you said. You and your blog are brilliant too, for the record! I’m so sorry to hear you suffer from anxiety too, it can be so hard at times. I don’t talk about it much, but I thought it might help to get some of my feelings down, and hopefully show others who feel this way that they’re not alone. I’m glad I’m not the only one who appreciates how stressful blogging can be – I constantly feel like I’m struggling to keep up, and I get so overwhelmed when the comments pile up – I want to reply to them, but when I fall behind it feels a bit like climbing a mountain! I found it kind of therapeutic to write all of this down, because now I feel so much less pressure about all the things I was worrying about, knowing that they’re okay and that other people think so/understand too. xx

  16. You simply said it all ❤ You rock, Jess! I hope more people stop feeling down when they read this. Bloggers are not machines and it is okay for us to have our own pace ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you so much 🙂 ❤ I hope so too – I was thinking about all the things I needed to hear, and realised there are probably tons of other people who need to hear them too right now. And absolutely agree – if we try to be machines, we burn ourselves out – we have to go at our own pace. Love youuu ❤

      • You were totally right! We have to keep spreading love – sometimes all someone needed was a kind word to cheer up their day and they find it at our blogs, right? ❤ Love you too! ❤ ❤

  17. Lectito says:

    Beautiful, honest post. 🙂 I’m constantly fighting to keep blogging in perspective because, yep, sometimes my posts do drop off, or I don’t have time to read as much and it’s really difficult not to feel guilty and anxious about it. But you’re totally right, it is okay to go at your own pace. The book blogging community is, for the most part, a very warm and welcoming place, but I think there’s also a bit of pressure there that we don’t like to talk about. I feel the most guilty when I haven’t had time to read and comment on other people’s blogs (much more so than when I haven’t had time to post myself).

    • mudandstars says:

      I completely agree – convincing yourself not to feel guilty and stressed out when you don’t feel like/have time for blogging or reading is so difficult. It’s a relief to realise that so many people understand this feeling, and will understand when our posts drop off at difficult times. And absolutely agree with you on the guilt of not having time to comment on other blogs – I always feel so bad about this, but there are times when I can’t even keep up with my own blog, let alone other people’s. I’ve just left my job and am taking a two month career break before moving to London, so I’m hoping I will have lots of time whilst I’m off to catch up with everyone else’s posts and have more time for my own too 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment! x

      • Lectito says:

        That’s so exciting! I’m sure London will be a wonderful adventure, and it’ll be lovely to have a break before you go!

      • mudandstars says:

        Thanks, yeah I’m really excited!! 🙂 And this is the first break I’ve had since I was at uni and summer holidays were a thing, so I’m pretty excited about that too 😀

  18. […] proud of my post about Book Blogging with Anxiety. I was nervous about positing it, but the responses from fellow bloggers really helped me feel less […]

  19. Donna says:

    I can relate to this so much. Thank you for writing it. I posted about my anxiety on my blog back in August and it had helped me a lot, and I love seeing this kind of posts to remind me I’m definitely not the only one and we can bring each other support 🙂 I used to worry about everything on my blog, the stats, the time I spent to reply, the quality of my reviews. I still do believe that my reviews are not so good but I’ve stopped feeling too nervous about it all. It’s okay if anxiety prevents us from posting or being present, it’s okay if depression keeps us away even though we wish we could take part in the community talks. It’s all okay. Thank you for reminding us 🙂 Here’s me sending a virtual hug! 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you so much! It definitely helps to know I’m not alone in feeling like this, and I’m really glad I plucked up the courage to post it. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this too – it can be so hard and can make blogging feel like climbing a mountain sometimes. But you’re absolutely right – it’s okay to take time out and come back when we’re feeling up to it. For what it’s worth, the reviews I have read of yours have been great 🙂 I have the same self doubt about my own though, and when I’m going through a really low period I feel like I can’t blog at all because it’s like my personality goes away, if that makes sense? Like I feel I can’t write anything quality or funny or even something that makes sense! I would love to read your post – do you have a link you could send me to it? Thanks so much for commenting, every comment on this post has meant so much to me and really helped me feel less alone 🙂

      • Donna says:

        I am really glad you found the courage to write this post, it is really helpful 🙂 It all absolutely makes sense to me, I feel the exact same way when I’m down! It’s like there’s nothing I can come up with that feels interesting or worth blogging, as if my voice suddenly had lost its way and my personality was gone. Here’s my tiny post 🙂 It helped a lot at the time just to talk about it. It’s nothing much but it made a real difference for me. I am hoping to add more to the blog at some point if I feel the need to https://chocolatenwafflesblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/do-you-trust-the-ingredients-list-my-100th-post-some-ramblings-and-a-confession/ And remember, you are definitely not alone and if you ever need, I’m right here! 🙂

      • mudandstars says:

        Yes – that’s exactly it! It’s like my voice takes a holiday, but forgets to tell me where it’s gone. Thanks for sharing your post, I just checked it out and related to so much of what you said. And likewise, I’m here if you ever want someone to chat to 🙂 I find it really helpful to talk to people who understand how it feels. I love my friends and family, but none of them have been through the same things, so I sometimes find it really hard to explain what I’m going through. But through blogging I have found so many people in this community who suffer from anxiety/depression, and who relate to what I’m saying, even if I don’t articulate it very well!

      • Donna says:

        I was really surprised to find so many people among bloggers who understand and live similar things. It’s a comfort to know you can be understood even when you don’t know how to express what you go through 🙂

  20. samba2017 says:

    Good on you for being open about your anxiety and depression. It is as common as physical illness, goodness knows why we feel we have to hide it. Silly thing is, once we talk about it, it often lessens. Thanks for sharing and have a good afternoon!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much. Absolutely – talking about it definitely helps, and it helped me a lot to see so many people sharing their stories in return. I was really glad I posted it in the end 🙂 And I completely agree with you – I don’t know why there is so much stigma about something that is, at the end of the day, an illness, and something we can’t help, just like any physical illness.

  21. Hello! I just read this post. No you’re not alone in how you feel. There are many of us fighting the same fight.
    And it is okay if you don’t do all these things you’re ‘supposed’ to. It’s ALWAYS going to be okay 🙂 *hug*

    • mudandstars says:

      Hi! Thank you for commenting, it means a lot, and thank you so much for saying that 🙂 it’s definitely something I need reminding of regularly. It can be so hard to stop yourself from worrying about the things you’re ‘supposed’ to do, but I’m determined to try and let go of that guilt 🙂 I’m sorry that you are struggling with all of this too – it’s a little comfort to know we are not alone though. Sending you hugs too xx

  22. <3! Lovely! A nice comment on blogging and it's pressures, thank you for this!

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