Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sweet – But Temporary – Sorrows

Business announcement and very personal revelations indelibly entwined follow.

OK, so, here’s the deal. You guys aren’t going to like this, but I’m not going to beat around the bush: Foam on the Range, while not actually closing our doors, is drastically curtailing online retail activity beginning at the end of the first week of April and continuing for the immediate future. Etsy will be going on “vacation mode” for the moment, and I expect to reopen it for Christmas, but I’m not sure when exactly that will happen. Amazon will continue to have products in its own warehouses for Fulfillment By Amazon for the time being, at least. We will still be attending the local farmer’s market starting up in a couple of weeks, however! And likely at least a few other local and near-local shows and markets; the latter half of the year when we usually go to those is still unplanned.

There are a lot of reasons for this, and it’s tempting to take the easy way out and handwave it as “personal reasons”, or the slightly less weaselly “health concerns”. And both of those would be true – and no, I don’t have cancer, calm down.

What I do have, on the other hand, is an anxiety disorder of about 25 years’ standing, manifesting primarily as intense social phobia but with many other lovely tendrils as well, which has been entirely untreated (unless you count NONONONONO NOT LISTENING TO THE BRAIN WITTERINGS as treatment, which, uh, I don’t) for that entire time. It’s been kept in check to one degree or another by the aforementioned ferocious skillz of denial and avoidance, but it’s still impacted my life quite significantly. For instance, I’ve rarely kept a job longer than a year, I dropped out of college twice (and eventually finished!) and grad school twice (and didn’t), due mostly to an unacceptable frequency of panic attacks leading to missed obligations. I’ve let friendships lapse and left others sorely neglected, I’ve pretended illness or voluntarily taken on extra work as an excuse to avoid social outings, and I have almost never been able to initiate a business-related pitch in all the years since starting to sell things.

It seems, summing things up this way, as if I should have realized a long time ago that this was a disorder which needed treatment, but instead I just thought it was a series of personal failures representing evidence of my unsuitability for the world of “normal” people, and it was best dealt with by pretending it wasn’t happening so I could avoid despair and worsening depression. It’s useless to rail at one’s past self, of course, and indeed my iterative progression toward hermit-dom is indirectly responsible for the birth of Foam on the Range in the first place so I can’t hate it categorically anyway, but regardless, it took me until just a few weeks shy of the age of 38 to finally come to terms with this on its own grounds and be able to go to see a doctor (incidentally, going to see a doctor when illness itself feels like a moral failing even when it’s not a mental illness? Yeah, anxiety disorders are self-reinforcing on many fronts).

So anyway, why am I scaling back the business now, once I have actually set out to seek treatment? Well, it turns out that when one’s only stick to keep the anxiety monster at bay has been denial, when one stops denying, things destabilize faster than medication regimens can be spooled up to take their place. So things are, uh, a little discombobulated in my head right now. Also, not to put too fine a point on things, but due partially to the anxiety issues hampering business operations and partially to the vagaries of business tides themselves, Foam on the Range has not been generating sufficient revenue for us to live on for some time, and an increasing number of my working hours have been being devoted to other endeavors for those reasons.

So in order to free up my attention to focus on both getting better and on paying the bills, this is the way things have to be for now. But since I don’t want to cut my non-local customers off without a chance to stock up on Foamy goodness for the summer, the implementation of the plan won’t happen until April 11. Until then, the Etsy store will remain open as normal. Orders accepted – and welcome – for the next three weeks!

After that time, well, if you just absolutely can’t live without something, drop me an email. I might be able to help you out.

I’ll miss you guys this summer.