I am not the type of person who shies away from speaking out about my mental health. It is well-known to my blogosphere, family, and friends that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). And not the cute kind… Not the OCD where I just alphabetize movies or like a clean house; my OCD looks more like… getting mad that the dishwasher is loaded wrong (there is no right or wrong way) or the route someone is taking is the longer route (by maybe a minute, tops). My level of social anxiety is usually well-hidden and only truly noticeable to my inner circle, but lately it has taken a turn for the worse.
I have been having so much trouble lately with my depression. And don’t ask me to explain why I’m depressed. That’s like trying to explain why the ocean is so big. There’s no one-size fits all answer to depression and what brings it on. I’ve gained some weight, work is stressful, and being a newlywed is not for the faint of heart, but none of those are the reason I’m depressed. I just find myself in this hole (my own personal hobbit hole) where I never want to leave my apartment and I cancel all my previous plans due to the anxiety of having to be out and socializing. Even people who I adore and couldn’t imagine my life without, I find a way to shut them out and recede further into myself. It’s hard to admit out loud, but my depression has really gotten out of control.
So, after many a tearful talk with my mom, husband, and best friend Emily, I forced myself to show up. Go to my doctor and discuss options, because as scared as I am of switching up my anxiety medicine, I’m more scared of not ever feeling like myself again. I’m scared there will come a day when I don’t get out of bed.
I guess I’m bringing this up because I think it’s important. It’s important to be honest about our struggles. It’s important for me to let you all know why I’ve disappeared and why I seem to not find joy in the things that used to make me so happy. I think it’s important for people to know they’re not alone. Depression, anxiety, OCD… These are all things that can affect your everyday life so drastically. And I truly believe that it is okay and good and mature to sit down and say (albeit reluctantly and tearfully) “I need help. I can’t do this alone.”
I am lucky and blessed enough to have an amazing support team. My husband and family have always had my back and I have a group of close girlfriends who understand mental health and know how to make me feel a little less ostracized. That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel alone sometimes, this is a battle within myself… But it’s important to know you have people out there who love you and who understand what you’re going through.
Don’t be scared to ask for help, don’t be scared to reach out to those around you. If you ever feel alone, I’m here and I get it. Write me. Just whatever you do, know you’re wonderful and this too shall pass.
Landline is another awesome novel from the ever-expanding collection of classics coming from Rainbow Rowell. I’ve loved every novel of Rainbow’s that I’ve read (all of them): Fan Girl, Eleanor & Park, and Attachments. This one was closer to Attachments than Eleanor & Park, but I found myself (as a newlywed) really relatable.
Georgie McCool (yes, that’s her real name) is finally getting somewhere in her career. She’s a writer for a popular TV show and the pilot episode for her very own series is being presented to the network! The only problem… she’s supposed to be going to her husband Neal’s mother’s home in Omaha with their two little girls. She tries to explain to Neal why her career is worth more than their trip to Omaha – and fails. Neal and her children leave for Omaha, while Georgie stays back in Los Angeles to finish her pilot episode.
When Georgie calls Neal from her mother’s house, she gets through, but not to the present-day Neal… by some magic, Georgie gets through to Neal from the Christmas they got engaged. Georgie is transfixed and remembers all over again why she loves Neal. Georgie would do anything to save her failing marriage and she can’t seem to kick the feeling that this magical reconnection was given to her for a reason. How can Georgie write her show (her dream) without losing her husband and true love?
UGH. THE FEELS. Rainbow, how is it that you know exactly how my mind works and exactly how to tug at those heartstrings?! All of Rainbow’s characters are me… me as different people, me in different lives. She is a fantastic writer and Landline is no different. GREAT read! Pick it up now! =)
I know this is a funny comic, but I think and pray for our homeless a lot. I wish more people would respect other people (even others suffering from alcoholism or addiction) more than money.
Transparent is Natalie Whippet‘s debut novel that I decided to pick up after falling in love with her writing in House of Ivy and Sorrow. She is such a fantastic writer and so personable, I couldn’t help but enjoy her novel.
Fiona is invisible. No, no, hear me out. And she’s the daughter of an infamous crime lord who has forced her to do his dirty work for years. WAIT. It’s not as silly as it sounds. Fiona is tired of her father’s manipulations, so when her mother suggests they run away (yet again) Fiona jumps at the opportunity. She finally has a normal life: she’s going to school, ignoring her mother, fighting with her brother and doing everything that a normal teenager would do. But being invisible is not as simple as it seems. She struggles against her classmate’s weird looks and her own failures in class. What’s an invisible girl to do in the real world, especially when her father puts a bounty out for her and her mother?
Transparent is such a funny premise, I really didn’t know how I’d feel about the novel, but it’s the WRITING, that’s how she gets me. This novel was not as in-depth and complex as House of Ivy and Sorrow, but it was just plain FUN! I’ve got the sequel to this novel (Blindsided) waiting for me at the library right now! Please keep writing, Natalie! You have a sure-fire fan in this geeky girl! Recommended for a fun read!!
Jinx by Sage Blackwood is another middle school novel that I decided to check out after my trip to Books of Wonder in New York. It started off as a simple book, similar to Iron-hearted Violet, but really took off at about the halfway point.
Jinx is an orphan who finds himself working as a wizard’s apprentice to Simon Magus. Simon has so many secrets and only lets Jinx into part of his life. After a fight, Jinx runs away from the wizard and into the dangerous and mysterious Urwald forest. After running into Simon’s fellow (and more dangerous) wizard friend and finds that the Urwald forest may need him more than he realized.
There were so many twists in this novel that I did not expect! Jinx is such a complex character. I was really drawn into this novel right at the end, even with the simple language. I look forward to picking up the sequel to Jinx! Suggested for middle school/YA fantasy lovers!
Iron Hearted Violet is a middle-school novel by Kelly Barnhill. To be completely transparent, I thought the cover looked cool, so I figured why not?!
Not all princesses are beautiful. Violet thinks she’s a perfect example of this hardened fact. Violet is smart, she is well-loved, and she loves to weave intricate stories, but she still longs for the beauty she rightfully deserves as a princess. Violet and her best friend Demetrius find a hidden room with a secret book describing the Nybbas, an evil being stuck in their world. After stumbling upon the book, Violet begins to hear a voice whispering to her and talking to her about her deepest, darkest secrets. With the help from a scarred dragon and Demetrius, Violet can help the Nybbas triumph or fail, but which is it?
This story is weaved really well. It was pretty apparent that the reading level was lower than I’m used to, but I enjoyed the story. Violet is such a lovable and relatable character, she struggles with real issues that most adults struggle with on the daily. The dragon was probably my favorite part! Suggested for a very light read… it reads almost like a children’s novel, but good writing!