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review 2018-09-18 20:05
A year later...
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things - Jenny Lawson

So according to BL, I started reading this December 16, 2017. That means it took me 9 months to finish this wonderful book. Since Jenny Lawson discusses her struggle with depression and anxiety disorders at length (in the best, funniest way possible) I had to take several long breaks when my anxiety and depression were not putting me in the right head space to enjoy reading it. But really, this book is hilarious and just what I needed during these past two weeks of total chaos in my life. 

 

I am not exaggerating when I say my "vacation" was surrounded with nothing but Murphy's law. Car accident, cancelled concerts, delayed flights, stomach flu, etc, etc. All unrelated to this review, but whatever, I'll do what I want. Furiously Happy does remind us to laugh at the absurdity of our lives and most of all, to remember that the lows eventually get better. 

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text 2018-08-06 11:57
I'm Not Okay
Not book related <.< sorry.
 
 
TW: Mental Health & Suicide
 
Disclaimer: **I am not diagnosed (as an adult) for my mental health disorder(s), but I don’t need a doctor to write on paper to tell me I have depression & social anxiety/general anxiety. I don't deny that it would be helpful to know my exact disorders so I could get treatment/therapy, however, we have no insurance yet.(soon! crossing fingers) As a child I was put on antidepressants, so I was diagnosed with something at one point. These are my thoughts and opinions on mental health, and my own personal experiences. Everyone’s mental health journeys are different. End the stigma! Talk about mental health disorders and invisible illnesses!**
 
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The nitty gritty about having a mental health disorder is that it can be so up in the air. I never know if a day will be good or bad. I guess you get so used to the feeling of sadness, random outburst of crying and dark thoughts, that it feels normal, and you don’t notice it get gradually worse. When you are buried so deep, you don’t care about taking care of yourself, so you are in a vicious cycle that is hard to break out of. You stop taking care of your hygiene, stop caring about eating enough or sleeping enough. Or maybe you eat too much (binge) and sleep too much, or maybe you don't sleep enough! Executive dysfunction doesn’t help, of course.
 
I think my normal state of feeling is sort of a numbness or a nothingness. It is really scary, to be honest. My emotions, even love for people or passion for my interests can be turned off on a dime and I have no feelings. I can be in the worst meltdown and then stop on that dime and freeze up and think or say “never mind. I’m fine.” I believe that is one of the reasons as a kid when I would cry or “throw a fit” and just stop out of nowhere, my mom joked about me being good at crocodile tears and that I should be an actress.
 
I am not sure I fully know what true happiness feels like because it is always clouded with dark, depressing thoughts. I don’t think people understand how you can be depressed or have a mental health disorder, but also have days of “wellness” If you smile, laugh or act goofy, they think “oh, yay, you’re cured now.” Even worse, they believe nothing was ever wrong with you. Some people actually believe depression and anxiety is not a real thing. People with mental health disorders or neurological disorders have become very good at masking/faking in order to fit in. Thank about that.
 
Anyone can have an invisible illness. The number of people in the entertainment industry who have died from suicide is an indicator of this. They are rich, famous, usually well-loved, yet they are ill, sad, probably feel alone in a crowd of people. They get so much attention because they are famous and a lot of it is negative from people who can’t comprehend how someone rich and famous who has “everything” can end their life.
 
You can have everything and feel like you have nothing. It doesn’t matter who you are, mental health disorders and invisible illnesses do not discriminate. When someone who suffers from a mental health disorder dies by suicide, they did not commit anything, no crime. They lost a battle with their long-suffering illness. We shouldn’t judge anybody. We should be there for each other, even strangers.
 
If someone looks sad, ask if they are okay, or if they want to talk. Smile more, at friends and family, even at strangers. A smile or heartfelt compliment could change a person’s day for the better. These are things I know, but I don’t always practice them, because I am stuck in my own downward spiral. It is hard to dig out of that hole when nobody is around and your emotions come on strong and then sometimes shut off altogether.
 
I do nothing, at least that is how it would appear to people who don’t understand me. I don’t have a job. #1 Social anxiety & depression #2 Chronic pain makes it limited to what work I could actually do.
 
I sleep, eat, get on the computer and live vicariously through so many people on YouTube. It is like a coping mechanism, it makes me feel better, or sometimes emotionless, which is better than crippling despair, I guess? I go through phases of what type of videos I like. Sometimes about books, sometimes more “real talk” sort of videos where people just share their everyday lives. Lately, I’ve been into watching true crime and ghost hunting videos.
 
Sometimes I read books. Sometimes I play games on my phone. Sometimes I mess with my doll collection. Yes, so, to the outside world, I do nothing. But something very big that I am doing is LIVING. I might not have a paying job, but it is a JOB just to keep myself alive. I would be lying if I said I didn't have suicidal thoughts.
 
I’m sorry if you don’t understand or if that makes you sad. It’s just the truth. Thinking of death, wanting to die and believing the world would be better off without me are just some of the dark things in my brain. My mental health and chronic pain are huge factors to these feelings. I am more inclined to think about dark and morbid things. My mind tells me nobody cares about me, it nags at me that I am a burden to people. I do know this isn’t true, but sometimes I can’t understand why people would care about me, let alone love me.
 
I don’t hardly reach out to friends and family because of being depressed and social anxiety, but how many times do they reach out to me? (And I mean heartfelt reaching out, not tagging me in a spam post or liking a post, or something.) Everyone is dealing with their own stuff, I get it. Also, understand when you do reach out to someone with depression, they might not respond at first or they might not know how to respond. If you care about them or love them, don’t stop letting them know.
 
Just... I’m lonely. I miss the time when it was so simple to make friends and maintain them. I’m not okay, but I am trying to cope.
 
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review 2018-07-08 22:30
Your Turn FOR Care - very specialized, read for work
Your Turn for Care: Surviving the Aging and Death of the Adults Who Harmed You - Laura S. Brown

This is a book about relating to elders, caregiving, and death for people whose personal childhood story was a horror movie, not a Hallmark card.

 

For those adults who are pursuing relationships with and/or becoming caregivers to elders who were reasonably loving, decent, and honorable in their relationships with you, those complications are difficult in and of themselves...

 

There is a group of adults whose dilemmas in dealing with the aging, illness, and death of elders are complex beyond the norm. This book is for those folks—for adults raised in families that were frightening, confusing, dangerous, sometimes criminal in their treatment of their children. The elders in these families are...people who...behaved in vicious, venal, abusive, and/or neglectful ways to those children. You are those children, grown into adults confronted with cultural and social demands to relate to those elders, and sometimes to step into the caregiver role.

 

This is an almost one-of-a-kind resource, since nobody seems to have put together two clear facts: a huge number of children are abused in childhood, and [in the US] a full 60% of elderly people are being cared for solely by family. That number increases to 95% if we include family taking any role in caregiving for a family member. So it is clear that many people who were abused in childhood are now caring for that abusive parent/primary caregiver in their elderly years. 

 

Surprisingly, there was nothing in the self-help literature (and there seems to be little or no scholarly research finished or even in process) for those adult children who are now either feeling pressured to care for their former abusive caregiver or who are already doing so. 

 

Obviously this can be problematic on a number of levels.

 

I'm only writing this review so others will know of this resource. Written in a very open and non-prescriptive style, readers can take what they need and ignore the rest. For those who want much clearer "do this" and "don't do that" guidance, this may feel somewhat nebulous. The bottom line comes down to "you do not have to care for this person who harmed you when you were the vulnerable one." 

 

There is tremendous personal and societal pressure to take on the role of caregiver to an elderly person, but that may be a very bad idea for a number of reasons -- both to the adult child and to the formerly abusive older person. (And not every abusive person becomes lovely and kind in old age. They may continue some abusive patterns throughout life.)

 

Unfortunately, the US medical system doesn't much care if this person terrorized you, they will assume you either should or must take on this new project. Armed at least with one resource, hopefully we can avoid everyone feeling like they must be the primary caregiver to the person who failed so horribly in this role years before.

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review 2018-07-02 13:27
Every Love Story is a Ghost Story - DT Max on David Foster Wallace
Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace - D.T. Max

I liked this well enough, but there's a reason I've not read it until now. Something to do with never get too close to your (literary or otherwise) heros...

 

 

The interesting parts are about the inner workings of his writing. I'd have rated it much higher if it was just that. I do wish a psychiatrist or other professional would've been included in this book. It's one thing to look at the literary part of DFW's life, but this crossed so far into mental illness, because it had to, that I would've appreciated little things like not using the word "manic" in a colloquial way for a person who is clinically depressed. More than that, I'd have appreciated seeing everything discussed through a good professionally-adept lens.

 

I was sold on the literary theory b/c I don't know much about literary theory. I was not sold much at all on the psychological guesswork included as fact.

 

Despite that, this is a carefully and exhaustively researched book though, and I did appreciate the lack of judgment and straight reporting on facts, or as he notes in the afterward, the closest he could get to the facts as he understood them.

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review 2018-07-01 22:39
Thank You for Your Service - required reading
Thank You For Your Service - David Finkel

Probably more important than any in-action memoir could be. Indeed I think this book is more important to understand than Finkel's first book about these same soldiers when they were deployed in Iraq. Here we see the real cost of war, very few holds barred. We also see war widows and the wives and families of those who come home forever changed. If I came away with one clear idea, it is that war is never-ending and continues trying to kill you from the day you step foot back "home" until...forever, I suppose.

 

This book, or a book much like it, should be required reading for every American who hasn't served in one of our wars. 

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