Random

A Very Bookish Mental Health Week

Next week is Mental Health Awareness week. As a result, I thought I would write about my own experiences dealing with my mental health. And mixed in I will have book recommendations for novels (mostly YA) that deal amazingly with mental health.

I grew up in a household where mental illness was common knowledge. I always knew that my sister, 10 years my senior, struggled with mental illness. I didn’t realize until later that my father did as well. When I was around 8 or 9 my parent’s did try and “shield” me from the worst of my sisters cycles. At that point she was going on 19, diagnosed bi-polar (still the label at the time), and about to enter what we now refer to as her “dark years.” Mostly because she doesn’t really remember what happened during those years. My belief as to why they hid it from me was I was in a “copying Kate” phase. I think the worry was I would intentionally try and be like her, even in her depressive cycles.

When We CollidedWe are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…
Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.
Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.
Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.
In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

Fast forward about 5 years. I was a sophomore in high school when the anxiety started really kicking in. The feeling like I wouldn’t ever fit in. My friends joked that I was like the chameleon. Every day at lunch I would hang out with a different friend group. Constantly worrying that if I spent too much time with one group they would realize just how out of place I was. That I didn’t really work with them. So I jumped from group to group and never let anyone get too close. That became my norm.

Turtles all the way downSixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

The thoughts I had about myself seemed completely normal to me. “Maren, you are so ugly.” “Maren, you are so fat.” “There is no way that guy would like you, look at the all the way prettier and skinnier girls that are in this show too.” “Why would they possibly invite you out? You are so boring.” Every day these thoughts would swirl through my brain. No matter how many times I had friends that would ask me to sit with them, or go out with them on weekends, the thoughts persisted. By my senior year in high school these thoughts were part of how I lived. I didn’t realize that they were part of a mental illness. I completely believed them to be true.

In college the anxiety worsened, and the depression that had been simmering for years on the back-burner started to boil. No matter what I did, the thoughts and worries began increasing. My personal life took a serious toll. I never let anyone get close enough to do more than a first date. Friends left, either because I pushed them away or because they legitimately sucked. My family went through a significant downfall (this one luckily figured itself out after many months). Because of everything I couldn’t keep a lid on the depression anymore.

But I did.

For years and years I compartmentalized everything in my life. Every few months I would go through, what I referred to as, my compartments “busting open.” For a few days or a week all the self control I had would be decimated. I would avoid contact with everyone, going on a hermitage. I didn’t have interest in anything I loved. All I could do was binge watch TV and go to the beach to stare at the ocean.

Fast forward 8 more years. My ability to maintain control on the anxiety and depression has deteriorated significantly. I “break” far more often. I promise those around me that I will get help, but I never do. I promised my father that I would follow his recent example and finally get the help I deserved. Not only for me, but for those around me that loved me. A couple of months later, I hadn’t followed through on that promise, and my father died suddenly of a heart attack. The next few months were a blur of emotions. By September I had, unknowingly, slipped so much further down than I ever had in my life.

They Both Die at the EndOn September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

 

 

The wake-up call came during one of my late night runs. I had taken to running at 10 o’clock at night, which came with it’s own dangerous behavior. I collapsed at my 2 mile mark in the middle of a park and thought to myself “Gods, this would be such much easier if I was just dead.” That thought scared the shit out of me. Through all the years of battling depression I never once went to a suicidal place. It was a point of (ridiculous) pride for me. But here I was, wishing I was dead. And I didn’t just think it once, I thought about it a lot, over several weeks. I scared the shit out of my best friend, who felt so upset that he was all the way across the country and couldn’t help me. I scared my sister. I scared my husband. So, in honor of my dad, I finally did it. I made an appointment with my doctor to get a referral for a psychiatrist. The first step of many. My psychiatrist put me on medication and it seemed to get so much better, after a month of insane side effects.

13 Reasons Why.jpgYou can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Two weeks ago my multiple jobs became a little busier, and my anxiety/depression began to skyrocket without my realizing it. I was working 80 hours a week and sleeping 3ish hours a night. Until 4 days ago. I had a day long panic attack. I spent the day crying and hyperventilating at random intervals, shaking, a million thoughts racing through my head all at once. Until that night when my husband and my mother rushed me to the ER because they were sure I was going to pass out from erratic breathing. Doctors and nurses kept coming in to ask me if I had a “plan” for suicide. They were taking away my phone (which for me is a big deal), talking about putting me on a 72 hour hold, and I had no control over what was happening. Needless to say this didn’t help the anxiety. Luckily, the ER psychiatrist finally determined I was not a danger to myself or others, so they let me go.

Over the past few days since then, my family has forced me to give up commitments. To get myself down to a 40 hour work week (or as close as I could manage on such short notice).

My struggle with mental illness is far from over. But that is exactly what it is. An illness. And this illness is something I can fight, as long as I have the strength to make myself do so. I hear some people say “Being sad is a choice.” I say, fuck that. For those with depression and other mental illnesses being sad isn’t a “choice.” But I can amend the statement. Doing everything I can to fight the sad, that is a choice. And it is the choice I am taking every day.

Random

April Wrap-Up!

As I mentioned in one of my most recent blogs I am just getting back into reading. As a result I haven’t read a ton of books this month by my old standards, but I did get back into the swing of it! Hopefully I will be able to write reviews of these too, or at least some of them. 🙂

Books read in April:
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Stalking Jack the Ripper
  • Review to come 🙂
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
  • I loved this book! 4.5/5
The Season
The Season
  • Fun retelling of Pride & Prejudice
Illuminae
Illuminae
Gemina
Gemina
Obsidio (currently reading)
obsidio
  • Review of the entire series to come when I finish this last book!

 

Book Funsies

Top 10 Tuesday

10 Books That I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early 😉

Damn a lion….that’s a fierce battle. Not that I wouldn’t do it….but I like lions. Can I battle something equally badass? Like a Dragon?
Yes. So 10 Books I’d Slay a Dragon to Get Early!
I will say that because of my busy life I barely get the time to read that I would like. So, as much as I want these books early, chances are good that I’ll barely have time to read them when they come out anyway….but I’m highly anticipating them regardless!

 

1. Kingdom of Ash (release 10/23/18)

This one shouldn’t surprise anyone. The epic, I’m sure, finale to this series is going to be insane. I loved Tower of Dawn (Chaol = love), but am excited to get back to my #wcw, Manon Blackbeak.

 

2. Queen of Air and Darkness (release 12/4/18)

I wish I wasn’t so in love with this series. But I would be lying to say that I’m not.

 

3. Chain of Gold (release 2019)

Ok. I know this means two Cassie Clare books on here. But OMG I loved The Infernal Devices series….it’s by far my favorite series so far. So I’m happy to get back to that era in the world.

 

4. The Winds of Winter (release 2020, yeah right!)

Seems like a gimmie. Also, while we’re at it, A Dream of Spring would be nice too.

 

5. Archenemies (release 11/6/18)

I loved Renegades so much, so I can’t wait for the sequel!

 

6. Bloodwitch (release 2019)

I can’t even. Like….now. Pls.

 

7. Escaping from Houdini (9/18/18)

I fell in love with these characters during Stalking Jack the Ripper. At first, I thought my interest was going to be only invested in the Jack the Ripper portion, my father and I share a fascination with serial killers, but I loved the characters enough that following them to Haunting Prince Dracula. Can’t wait for Escaping from Houdini!

 

8. Reaper at the Gate (release 6/12/18)

Ember in the Ashes is such an amazing series, I’m so happy it’s going to be a quartet and not a trilogy!

 

9. These Rebel Waves (8/7/18)

The Snow Like Ashes trilogy was so amazing! I will look forward to anything that Sara Raasch writes!

 

10. Literally ANYTHING by Meg Cabot or Maria V. Snyder (release TBD)

Ok so these aren’t books that are even announced, let along have titles. But, these are my two favorite authors. As such I will always slay a dragon to get ANYTHING written by them.

Book Covers!*

*The covers for Bloodwitch and Chain of Gold are not the official covers, but amazing fan art.

Bloodwitch: @miss_melissalee

Chain of Gold: infernalheronstairs|tumblr

Book Funsies

I’m Tag Happy ;)

 


1. What fictional character has the best style?

Ok I’m unsure what you mean by style. But let’s go with Magnus Bane.

2. Your book girlfriend/boyfriend/fictional crush?

Valek Icefaren. Forever and always ❤

3. Ever loved a character but than started hating them?

Uhhh…more often I dislike a character and then begrudgingly start liking them. *cough* Rowan Whitethorn *cough*

4. Biggest/Longest book on your shelf?

A Storm of Swords – George RR Martin

5. Heaviest book on your shelf?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – The Illustrated Edition

6. Do you have any book posters?

No, but that’s because my posters are pretty much all Disneyland related….

7. Do you have any book themed jewelry?

I have loooots. Thank you Bookish Box 😉

8. Book OTP?

Yalena Zaltana and Valek Icefaren (despite my liking to think I’m his actual OTP…)

9. Favorite book series?

Poison Study Series by Maria V. Snyder

10. Favorite Book-to-movie soundtrack?

2005 Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. It’s amazing background reading music ❤

11. A book story you miss/wish would continue?

The Mediator Series – Meg Cabot

12. Favorite stand-alone?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

13. Since when do you read books?

Since my parents/sister began reading to me.

14. Which Hogwarts house are you in?

I always thought Slytherin, but my bestie has pointed out to me that I’m actually a Ravenclaw who, for some reason, likes to believe she’s a Slytherin….

15. Quality you look for in a book?

Uniqueness.

16. Favorite book quote?

First – “quotation.” Sorry, it’s a pet peeve ingrained into me by my father since birth.

Sieges weathered, fight together, friends forever.

I’ve actually considered getting that tattooed somewhere.

17. Favorite author?

Meg Cabot

18. Favorite book cover?

Oh god…so much pretty…..but this is among them 🙂

ACOTAR

19. Action or Romance?

Why not both? Although I do love in books when characters try to have a romantic moment while the world is falling apart around them, and one of them basically says “seriously, now!?”

20. Where do you go when a sad moment happens?

Further into my book…..

21. How long do you need to finish a book?

If I’m into it? A couple hours? If I’m not I can legit take months and read a few dozen between starting and finishing the other.

22. How long is your mourning period?

Usually until I pick up another book….but it can last longer depending on how long until the next book in the series.

23. Least favorite Book?

All Quiet on the Western Front. Ugh.

24. Turn on in a character?

Confidence.

25. Turn off in a character?

Arrogance. There is a difference.

26. Reason I joined Book blogging?

Honestly? I don’t know. It seemed like fun, and I’ve been a bookstagrammer for awhile. It prolly is an outlet since my friends often get tired of me constantly talking about books….

27. Name a scary book?

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Heh heh….see what I did there? 😉 #adulting

28. Last book that made you cry?

Oh man…last book? Maybe Lord of Shadows?  I don’t cry at books all that often….

29. Last book that you gave 5 stars?

Haven’t published it’s review yet, but it will be Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

30. Any favorite book titles?

Like, title alone? Like I really liked Stalking Jack the Ripper since I’m fascinated by him…plus the book was awesome!

31. Last book you read?

Gemina – The Illuminae Files #2

32. Book you’re currently reading?

Obsidio – The Illuminae Files #3

33. Last book adaptation you watched?

Love, Simon….OMG THE FEELS

34. A book character you always wanted to talk to?

Talk to? I just want Jesse de Silva to speak to me in Spanish <3…but for legit conversation, I think Hermione Granger and I would get along swimingly.

35. An author you always wanted to talk to?

J.K. Rowling. Legit. Not just because I love her as an author, but as a friggin human she’s amazing.

36. Favorite Book snack?

Almonds and Craisins

37. Book world you want to live in?

Hogwarts ❤

38. Book world you DON’T want to live in?

The Hunger Games….awesome books….but rouuuuugh life.

39. Last time you smelled a book?

I don’t have a sense of smell 😦

40. Weird insults used in books?

“Do you bite your thumb at me sir!?”

41. Favorite romance book?

Pride & Prejudice…does that count? Or is that a classic? As far as contemporary goes I have a total soft spot for Nora Robert’s trilogy Inn Boonsboro and her Bride Quartet. Not gonna lie.

42. Do you write?

Just this blog. My sister writes novels though, and she’s pretty amazeballs.

43. Favorite magical item?

Time Turner. Imagine all the reading time!

44. Your Quidditch position?

Beater. Totes.

45. Name a song you connect to a book.

Haha! Tell Me I’m A Wreck by Every Avenue.

46. Favorite book related chat up line?

Hey baby, is that a new spine? Because I wanna crack you open.

Oh wait….that’s a good serial killer pick up line…my bad 😉

47. Have you ever used it?

Ummm no. Because I’m NOT a serial killer.

48. Favorite book fandom?

Harry Potter. Wands down.

49. How many books do you own?

What a rude question to ask a lady! #runsandhidesinstacksashamed

50. Tags.

Honestly, whoever wants to “procrastinate life” by doing a super long/super awesome tag 😉

Book Funsies, Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s list is common words book titles. My chosen genre was YA, although upon recollection some of these aren’t *strictly* YA 😉 I tried to only pull from titles that I have actually read, or are on my immediate (in the next 3 books) TBR.

  1. Queen – 17 uses

    • Queen of Air and Darkness, Queen of Shadows, The Star-Touched Queen, The Scarecrow Queen, The Orphan Queen, Red Queen, The Shadow Queen, Queen of Babble, The Queen of the Tearling, The Iron Queen, Queen Song, The Exiled Queen, The Queen’s Rising, Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception, The Runaway Queen, The Cupcake Queen, The Queen of Zombie Hearts
  2. Dark – 15 uses

    • Queen of Air and Darkness, One Dark Throne, Three Dark Crowns, Courting Darkness, And I Darken, Gathering Darkness, Dark Triumph, The Beauty of Darkness, Dark Witch, Dark Passage, Taste of Darkness, Disney After Dark, Dead Until Dark, Darkfever, Darkest Hour
  3. Shadow – 14 uses

    • The Shadowhunter’s Codex, Lord of Shadows, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, Reign of Shadows, Shadow and Bone, The Shadow Queen, Queen of Shadows, Shadow Study, Disney in Shadow, Cast in Shadow, The Secret of Shadow Ranch, Shadowfever, Shadowland, Smoke and Shadow
  4. Heart – 13 uses

    • Mortal Heart, The Heart of Betrayal, Heartless, Heart of the Sea, Cross My Heart and Hope to Die, Inkheart, Heart of Danger, Heart Breaker, Racing Hearts, Ransom My Heart, Assassin’s Heart, Heart of Iron, The Queen of Zombie Hearts
  5. Star – 13 uses

    • A Court of Frost and Starlight, The Star-Touched Queen, Obsidian and Stars, Stars Above, Shopaholic to the Stars, Curse of the Arctic Star, Morning Star, The Last Star, The Midnight Star, Fire Star, Hidden Star, Captive Star, Secret Star
  6. Girl – 11 uses

    • Fangirl, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Wrong Kind of Girl, The Perfect Girl, Certain Girls, The Wedding Girl, Girlfriend Material, Confessions of a Not It Girl, Twenties Girl, Boy Meets Girl, All-American Girl
  7. Night/Midnight – 11 uses

    • Night Study, Crown of Midnight, Frost Like Night, A Torch Against the Night, Lady Midnight, All Night Long, Lady Night, Night Shade, Goddess of the Night, The Night Circus, Happy Hollisters and the Mystery of the Midnight Trolls
  8. Love – 11 uses

    • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, When Love Dies, Dangerous Love, Beloved, True Love, The Big Love, Double Love, Love and Other Four-Letter Words, First Comes Love, Wicked Lovely, Princess in Love
  9. Kingdom – 10 uses

    • Falling Kingdoms, Crooked Kingdom, Kingdom of Ash, The Bitter Kingdom, Clash of Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods, A Knight of Seven Kingdoms, Crystal Kingdom, Kingdom of Ash & Briars
  10. Ash(es) – 9 uses

    • City of Ashes, An Ember in the Ashes, Snow Like Ashes, An Inheritance of Ashes, Kingdom of Ash, Ash Princess, Fire & Ash, Ash & Quill, Kingdom of Ash and Briars

 

Also – I know I’m a few days late, didn’t realize this was still sitting in my “draft”