Monday, 9 October 2017

Mental Health Mondays #14 : What now?

This post is going to be a personal one because I need to process my thoughts surrounding a problem that I'm facing. I'm not quite sure of any other way to do it than to write it here and hope that readers don't find it too boring!

As you may know if you've read any of my previous MHM posts, in May I started seeing a clinical psychologist. This was an appointment which I had been waiting for for seven months so when it finally came around and my psychologist said he would see me regularly I was grateful that all my patience had paid off and I'd finally get some help, after trying almost every other available option.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Published: 5th October 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 320
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.
One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.
International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down. 

Disclaimer: Before I start this post I just want to say that although I will try my hardest to give a review which is spoiler-free, due to the nature of the story there may be some small spoilers in here! So if you want to go into the book with no preconceptions I suggest that you don't read any further than this point for your own peace of mind!

Horror YA romance was always going to be an interesting mixture, so when I picked up a proof of this at YALC I was certain that I'd need to keep an open mind throughout! I haven't ever read a book by Stephanie Perkins before so I can't make direct comparison but I know that this is very different, largely because I imagine most of the others don't have lots of murder in!
I'll admit that I am quite a wimp when it comes to horror/thriller books so I haven't read a huge number and I've seen several reviews saying that people didn't find this terrifying enough for them but personally I think it had enough scary bits and gruesomeness to keep me satisfied! It definitely isn't the scariest book that I've ever read and possibly a bit more suspense would have made it better but it is by no means PG either.

Makani was an interesting main character and learning about her past as well as her current friendship group was something that I really enjoyed and as a group they were quite diverse which is always something I welcome! I also loved Grandma Young as a character too she was good fun and I thought she was brilliant!

Unfortunately I didn't feel like the book gave me enough mystery and the 'reveal' came at kind of a weird point in the plot too which I kind of struggled to get my head around, I suppose this may come from the fact that it's Perkins' first book in this area, or maybe it's just me being too obsessed with Midsomer Murders and being too picky!

The romance between Makani and Ollie was quite fun to read about and it was equally interesting to learn more about Ollie's character but I'm not entirely convinced that it really fitted with all of the gore at the same time? It's the sort of thing that may have made more sense if it was on screen rather than in a book? But I'm really not sure because I can be very picky with my romance anyway!

Overall, There's Someone Inside Your House was a different book to anything which I've read before, it had interesting characters and enough horror-ness to keep me happy! The romance was a bit strange and I don't know if YA Horror Romance is something I would seek out again but it is definitely worth you giving it a try!

Have you read There's Someone Inside Your House? Or any other books by Stephanie Perkins that you think I may enjoy? Let me know any of your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Mental Health Mondays #13 : Question Box Two

So my question box is back and I'm still very excited that people have actually asked me things so I'm just going to jump straight in to answering another three of your questions:

I have lost all enjoyment in my passions. How do I stay motivated whilst stuck in my depression?

I struggle with this a lot myself and often it is something that you may have to, unfortunately, just ride out, at least to a certain extent. The only thing I can really suggest is that you possibly try doing whatever your 'passion' is for a short amount of time? Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't but you may find that if you kind of force yourself to do it even for as little as 15 minutes then after that time you'll feel more motivated? You may also find that it just makes you feel absolutely exhausted and you have to be prepared that it could go either way but at least you have managed to achieve something even if it's small, right?! That's what I always try to do anyway 😊

When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition?

I think it was a gradual process of realisation so I'm not entirely sure, but I do remember the first time I told a close friend that I thought I needed some help and that was around February of 2015. At that point I was definitely engaging in a lot of negative behaviours and had been for at least 6 months, so to be honest, looking back I don't see how I didn't realise sooner. After realising that perhaps a lot of my experiences were, shall we say, Not Good, it then gradually occurred to me that there had been factors which were quite possibly mental health related dating back to when I was as young as 12/13 so yeah, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on...

Do you think it's a good idea to tell people you work with if you're taking antidepressants?

I can't give a definitive answer to this because a) I'm not on antidepressants nor am I currently employed b) it would depend greatly on your workplace etc. but I'll give you my general thoughts on this. I think if you work somewhere that it is required for you to disclose any medications you're taking (I'm not entirely sure how often this happens) then you shouldn't lie about it I suppose. But I also believe that you have a right to not disclose such personal information about yourself unless you believe that it will be helpful to you.
Personally I would think that if you're taking them, they're working for you, and both the ADs and your general MH are not having a negative effect on your ability to work then you are certainly 'allowed' not to tell people. However, if you'd feel better for being honest then I guess you can tell people? It depends really on who you are and whether you feel honesty is better or whether you fear people may treat you differently if they know you take antidepressants (which shouldn't be the case but may well be because people are annoying). So basically, do what feels best for you! Taking ADs is nothing to be ashamed of, it's doing what feels the most sensible for your situation that is important.
That's it for this month's question box feature check out last months here and if you have any questions that you'd like me to answer in the next month's post then please follow this link so you can leave your questions (I need more if I'm going to write another post so please ask anything you'd like!). Thanks so much for reading!

Monday, 18 September 2017

Mental Health Mondays #12 : Mental Health and Messenger

This week I just want to write a short post giving you something to think about when talking online to a friend who you know suffers from mental health issues. As always, this is just something that I find difficult and that may well be the case for many others but I can't vouch for it being the same for everyone.

What I want to discuss is how to be sensitive to your friend's wellbeing when you need someone to vent to, specifically through messaging platforms e.g Facebook. I know that it can be really difficult when you've had something happen, you're mega stressed or you just really need your friend's opinion about something not to just jump head first into an online rant at them, but when your friend is something who struggles with mental health issues it's important to try and check in with them before you do so. A simple "Is it alright if I chat to you about something?" or a "How are you, I need your thoughts :)" is sufficient enough to give them a chance to say "I'm really sorry I don't feel good I'm not sure I can be much help right now." because regardless of how bad your day has been you don't want to make your friend feel more unwell without realising it - right?

Personally, it's not that I don't want to help out my friends, but on numerous occasions I've been struggling hugely with my own thoughts etc and then had people offload on me without even a real hello and it make things really difficult. Also, not only is it difficult for the individual who is receiving the message but chances are they won't be able to really reply and help you out that much either if they aren't in a good state of mind so it isn't that beneficial for either party!

In my opinion, this is a really easy thing to change to ensure that you're looking after your friend and showing them you value them and that it's important to you that they're comfortable with the conversations you have.

The other thing that you may want to consider is the time of your message, I for one have times which I determine "not good" mostly anytime after midnight and before about 5am. Some people may not have the same nighttime triggers that I do but it's worth checking that if you know your friend isn't a night person (or indeed if there is a different time the aren't good with) that you don't dump stuff on them when you know they're about to sleep, or if you really need to chat just apologise to them beforehand and let them know that is is okay if they can't talk right now.

I know that these two things won't be applicable to every single situation and there will be times that the conversation just can't wait, for your sake or your friend's, but it is definitely worth considering next time you find yourself worked up and looking to turn to someone for guidance.

Do you agree with what I've said? Or do you think I'm being too selfish and we should just grin and bear it for our friends? I want to know so leave me a comment!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Mental Health Mondays #11 : Question Box One

I'm very excited to write this post as it's the first one using questions from my online question box! Thank you to everyone who has submitted something, if your question isn't answered as one of the three I'm choosing for this week it'll more than likely be in next month's post as I'm hoping to use the first Monday of the month for this purpose (depending on the number of submissions I receive).

Question One: What do you find is the worst symptom of depression for you personally? Or alternatively, the most misunderstood?

In terms of the worst symptom I'd have to say that it varies depending on the episode for me as sometimes some things are worse to deal with than others. But one that frustrates me and I think can often be misunderstood is the fatigue and lack of ability to concentrate. For me sometimes it can be almost impossible to engage with a lecture in uni and although I want to be there and I want to learn it's like my mind won't connect. Similarly I can find at times that spending time with more than one person can be the most exhausting thing in the world. I think it can often make you appear lazy or like you're not trying when actually you're trying the hardest you possibly could in the circumstances. But unless you've experienced this yourself I suppose it can be difficult to get your head around.

Question Two: Is there something you want to share about your mental health that you haven't done so before (and feel comfortable to)? I know that it's sometimes... cathartic to get something off your chest that you haven't been able to for a while, or that you've wanted to and haven't had the chance to.

Hmm okay, this is a difficult one but I've had a think about it. So often when I'm not feeling well I can struggle great amounts to react to other people's communication (particularly online) in the correct way? Regularly I find myself feeling being upset by people going out and enjoying themselves/having fun/generally being more socially successful than me and it leads to me getting mad at myself for being selfish and self centred because it can genuinely feel like people are doing things just to upset me? (And putting that in writing makes it seem even more ridiculous but what can I say?) Gradually I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's just how I feel when I'm not well and that beating myself down about it and calling myself such things isn't actually helpful? I'm not sure how to stop it but I'm working on a way out atm.

Question Three: I have lost all enjoyment in my passions. How do I stay motivated whilst stuck in my depression?

This is a super difficult question because as I'm sure you're aware, lack of motivation is one of the most common symptoms of depression and so it can be really tough. The only tips I can offer from my experience is to try your hardest not to be too disappointed in yourself if you take a break from the things you enjoy because sometimes it is necessary to do so. It's also worth trying to perhaps engage in one of your hobbies for a short period of time, challenge yourself like "okay I'm going to read for 15 minutes and see how I get on" and set yourself a timer to see what you can achieve. This way you've managed to reach a goal that day even if it is small and you may well find that it'll lift your spirits a bit too! Hope this helps even a tiny bit because it can be really tough.

That's it for my first Question Box session! I really hope you've found reading this helpful and please leave me a comment with your thoughts. Also if you want to leave me a question to answer in the next post you'll find the Question Box here.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager

Published: 10th August 2017
Publisher: HQ
Pages: 368
Synopsis from Goodreads: When sixteen-year-old Emma Nash is ‘ghosted’ by the love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any normal teenage girl would do…
Emma spends the summer lurking in her bedroom, avoiding all human contact (and the shower), surrounded by the collection of chewit wrappers she saved from packs Leon gave her, back when he actually acknowledged her existence…
But seeing Leon suddenly ‘In a relationship’ on Facebook with the perfect Anna, spurs Emma into action and she embarks on a mission to make positive changes to her life (or ‘edits,’ if you will) and vows to use the internet for more than obsessively stalking Leon’s activities! Instead, she will use it for good and noble causes like finding someone who will actually be nice to her, and recording her findings for the rest of the world to see (i.e. BFF Steph and her mum) on her new Editing Emma blog.
But Emma soon discovers her ‘habit’ is harder to break than she first thought – turns out she’s not the only one ‘editing’ herself online (thank you Tinder for finding her mum’s profile, age 35, really?) and that life through an Instagram filter isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. But it could be worse, she could have outed her best friend, accidentally chatted up a 12 year old boy and revealed to the world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s time or virginity… oh no wait, that’s exactly what happened…

Big thanks to HQ and Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book for review!

I was interested in Editing Emma from the start because I had heard it being compared to Louise Rennison's series which I LOVED and which will always be one of my favourite things to read ever- I owe my love of books partially to her, but I'm digressing. Editing Emma was certainly deserving of this comparison! It's narrative which is told mostly through blog posts is very reminiscent of Georgia Nicolson and it also gave the same easy reading, you-could-read-it-in-an-afternoon sort of vibes which is just wonderful.

Emma is a teenager who's determined to become this new version of herself who is more successful when it comes to dating and general life after a guy completely ignores her when they were meant to be a couple. Emma starts a blog to document the changes she's making, it's brutally honest and hides nothing- it's the only YA book I've read that really talks about masturbation and how like that's a thing that girls do too, and in that way it's super important in helping teens to feel like they're not abnormal for doing such a thing. The book perfectly captures what it's like to be a 16 year old girl and it captures a level of relatable honesty that I only rarely see in books, so I loved it!

It occurred to me as I was reading that I am really not much very much like Emma (putting that largely down to her being very sex positive and me being the opposite, but that's cool) and that's the reason I've not given this a full five bees, just because at times I personally couldn't relate. Despite this I did find it really refreshing to read something that really shows what a group of teen girls are like? They're not all perfect and getting in successful relationships from young ages etc and that's just, truthful, I guess!

Overall Editing Emma is a fab book that I would truly recommend to anyone who is missing their Georgia Nicolson hits. It's hilarious, it's honest and it's just all round good fun.

Have you read Editing Emma? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Mental Health Mondays #10 : Showing emotion?

This week I'm talking about a somewhat mental health related topic, but also something which I think everyone has probably experienced and which occurred to me recently is not something that should be an issue but is, so I'm sticking it into a MHM because I can do what I want 😜


Firstly, I am not someone who cries a lot at all. In many ways I actually find this difficult because I end up looking for other less positive ways to express my upset and emotion. A few weeks ago I was chatting to a friend who'd had a tough day and she was feeling bad because she had, as she told me, cried three times throughout the day. It made me think about how there is NOTHING wrong with crying yet, it's almost like, frowned upon as a sign of weakness? But it's not like you can really stop it at all so now I'm all why, society, WHYYY???

It's not even worth me starting on how much more of an issue this kind of thing is amongst guys and how men crying is seen to be something bad. I just don't get it?! You don't find people apologising and feeling bad for laughing at something that makes them happy so why should it be the opposite for a different emotion?

Mostly this short post had been a way for me to get out my feelings on the matter but I'm also interested to hear what you think about it and whether you agree with me because everyone's different - some people cry at everything, some not at all - but that's not a representation of how strong a person is in character? It's just a difference so why should people feel like they're weak because of such a thing?! It's a healthy reaction!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts, are you a big crier or are you like me? Do you agree with what I'm saying? And don't forget to leave questions in my question box for me to answer!