Dealing with book stress?/TBR pressure

If you’re anything like me, your TBR (to be read) is incredibly long, and no matter how many books you read, the list never gets smaller. My TBR is a never ending list, which can really overwhelm me. I am always finding new books I want to read. Despite reading a hundred books a year, I’ll never run out of content to read. I don’t follow any reading challenges, or plan what I’m going to read next. I simply choose my books as and when I feel like it.

My TBR list is very long, despite never actively looking for books. I simply see books in book stores/library, see reviews on blogs or get recommended by others. I think I would be very overwhelmed if I looked for more, as my TBR would multiple! Do you actively search for books, or do you read as and when you see something that catches your eye? I’m interested to see,as I would love to be one of those people who follow new releases or book challenges.

The truth? I rarely look at my TBR, as I don’t want to overwhelm myself. The only time I look at my list is when I am adding a new book, or run out of unread books on my shelf/kindle. It is so satisfying when I return to my list and noticed I can cross of read books without even realizing they were on my TBR.

Thus, my trick to not become stressed with all the books I want to read? I don’t put the pressure on myself to read X,Y&Z. I simply pick up whatever book I desire. This is why I don’t do many #gifted book reviews, as the pressure to finish and enjoy the book takes part of the enjoyment out for me. (Unless it is a book I think I will be passionate about/really enjoy.)

I am a very organised person, and use to plan exactly what and when I would read. Switching genres and introducing intellectual challenging books. I would force myself to finish books I wasn’t particular enjoying, because I HAD to tick them off my list. (mental health even affected my reading). I would see what books were popular and felt the pressure to read them instantly. (Before I started posting on my blog).

Concluding that reading is so personal. Everyone has different reading tastes, thus will not enjoy the same books. THIS IS OKAY. Simply read and add books to your TBR that YOU will enjoy. It sounds so easy, and it may be for you. But for me, this was a difficult hurdle to overcome. Reading is a hobby, a way to relax. My escapism.

Having a hard time after feeling great for months (Is this a relapse?)

It is not unknown on this blog that I suffer with my metal health, I have a dedicated section to solely talk about it. As this isn’t something I talk about in real life. I enjoy freely writing about how I am feeling and what I am struggling with, without anyone knowing who is typing these words. I find it comforting that I can talk without worrying people knowing its me.

I often write as and when I am struggling, as it is easier to come across in the correct way as you actively know how you are feeling. I find it harder to write once I am in a good place, as I can’t remember/don’t realise how bad it truly feels. Saying this, I like to reflect on events/ways I have I have felt in the past, to see the comparison on my mindset. Logical thinking compared to the illogical thoughts I had, and how that can change.

This post is written in a ‘in-between’. I have been in a great, a genuine great place for a few months now, which is wonderful. The past week this has changed a little. I’m not in a ‘bad’ place, but can recognise a dip in myself. I am experiencing more intrusive thoughts, that are starting to affect me again. For example, I had intrusive thoughts whilst in the bath tub that lot’s of little snakes would come through the overflow holes, which nearly resulted in a panic attack.

I have also noticed that I have having intrusive thoughts of suicide this week. This has been confusing as I do not want to die, and genuinely enjoy my life. Yet these thoughts are quite powerful, and it’s hard ignore and not feel this way. As of yet, I am still able to do everything, but it’s taking a little more mental energy. I have a busy couple of weeks coming up, so I hope this creates a distraction and doesn’t result in me becoming overwhelmed.

Therefore, here is me not in a bad place but also not doing great. That’s a wrap on my mini update!

How I deal with everyday stress (from a mentally unwell person)

If you are a long time reader, you are aware that I get intrusive thoughts that bring me a large amount of stress. Today I shall not be talking how to deal with this, but with what I call ‘Normal people stress’. FYI I mean no harm using words like ‘normal’, it’s just what I’ve been calling stressors of day to day life.

What do I mean by normal people stress? This involves the inevitable stressors of life that everyone is bound to experience at some point. This can include things like, working too many hours at work, not having enough time to complete all your college work, worrying about finance, making sure the fridge is full/you’re eating often, catching a cold on top of the above. Oh the list could go on for miles. But I’m guessing you get the point now?

As my intrusive thoughts correlate with how stressed I am. I have learnt to recognise the difference between ‘normal people stress’ and ‘irrational stress’. I have mostly learnt to tell the difference between applying my stress/worrysome thought and imaging my partner in the same situation. He is a very level headed and relaxed person, so I trust his judgement. For example, if I have having stressful thoughts that X person is going to get into an accident on their way home, I would think is this something my partner would be thinking/excessively stressed about? Which it wouldn’t be. Therefore, I know this is an irrational stress. Recognising it itself being a irrational thought makes me a lot calmer.

On the other hand, recognising you’re stressed about everyday life doesn’t make everyday life disappear. But for me personally, every day stress can be controlled. This makes it a lot easier to feel relaxed, and reduce the stress around them. Taking examples from above, if I stress about completing all college/university work before deadlines, whilst also working part time. I control this by planning when I shall work. I write a list/time table every month when I get my shifts, and therefore always have scheduled time to study. List making is a game changer for me! (I may be a little obsessed)

I’m not sure I addressed the title of this post… But I just wanted to quickly ramble about how I find recognising the difference between ‘normal’ stress and irrational stress beneficial for my brain! I’m still learning about my mind and self, and recognition is a huge step forward for me!

I haven’t self harmed in 5 years?

This post is a little difficult for me to write about. Not because I find it hard talking about this subject, but because I no longer resonate with this part of my life; I simply can’t remember ever being in the mindset to harm myself.

TW! As from the title, you can probably tell there is going to be a trigger warning on this post for self harm, especially in the form of cutting, as I shall be mentioning specifics.

A little background; I began self harming around the age of 14. It was a very private part of my life, not a single person knew about it. I thrived of of having this dirty little secret. (looking back, I didn’t see how bad this was at the time) I wore only long sleeves; never took my jumper of at school. I would cut my left arm, and both of my thighs. I would take the blades out of shaving razors and use those. I would never use old ones/ reuse them as I didn’t want to risk infection and thus someone finding out from treatment or stitches.

I would sometimes spray hairspray into the fresh wounds to feel the sharp burning sensation; make it sting more. (my reaction now is what the fuck) I have scars now, it’s been 5 years, and they have improved. They are now thinner, and white in color, no longer red/pink or stick out lots. As I have very pale skin, they aren’t too noticeable from afar. I never wear shorts/have my legs out, but I do wear short sleeve tops now.

I’m not sure if other people notice? I wear a watch on my left wrist, where a lot of the scars are, but they are faint in color now, so I’m unsure if people look/ take that much notice in other people to see them. But I’m not sure, no one has ever mentioned them. I do wear short sleeves at my part time job, I haven’t told them about my mental health, so not sure if they aspect the scars to be from self harm? I’m not sure if the average non mental health educated person would understand/know the signs of self harm?

What do I think of my scars? This differs for me, sometimes I despise them, knowing that they will never disappear from my body, and hate myself for putting that upon myself. I didn’t think at the time how self harming would affect my future. But most of the time I accept them, I don’t often think about them, and thus no longer affects my life.

I’m not exactly sure why I self harmed. Is this normal not to have a ‘reason’? I have blocked/can’t remember this period of my life. I remember feeling numb, so it could have been a way to ‘feel’? I have had intrusive thoughts for around a decade now. They often tell me to end my life (I have many previous posts on my suicidal ideation) so maybe at the time I had intrusive thoughts to harm myself? I’m really not sure, but I guess I will find out in the future? This is probably something I should figure out in therapy, but I don’t think I am in the right stage on my life to begin therapy.

I’ve spoken about how I self harmed, what my self harm scars look like now , how I feel about them and the reasons why I harmed myself. Is there any points I have missed out/anything you would like to know about? I thoroughly enjoy reading comments on my posts. I was going to apologize for the negative posts, but I guess it isn’t, as I haven’t harmed myself in 5 years, that’s and achievement!

How do I find real connections?/loneliness

This isn’t really an advise post as I am struggling SO much with this currently, and have been for a few months, around 2 years. Firstly, I am not alone, I have a partner who I have been with for 6 years and now live together, he is my best friend. He has lots of friends, thus kind of making them my friends. I only see them when he is there too, they are mostly guys and are only my friends because of him. I feel it’s important to have separate friends.

I have no friends of my own. I have no contacts in my phone, I don’t message anyone, I do not have social media either. (I may make a separate post on why I don’t have/use social media). I often wish I could have someone to text with, as I don’t want to take all my thoughts to my partner. I also want to go out/ do activities without my boyfriend. I do phone my grandparents weekly!

They say it’ll come when you least expect it, it’s been a few years, but I am still hoping this is the case haha. Loneliness is something I feel regularly, but not all the time. I can’t phantom how on earth to describe what feeling lonely feels like… But it’s definitely one of the lowest emotions.

I do my degree online, so do not have the chance to meet students studying the same as I. I work part time too and get along well with my colleagues, but don’t see/message them at all outside of work. They often meet up, but I haven’t yet been invited. Although I feel we get on well, my brain wants me to believe they are purposely leaving me out as they all dislike me…

I grew up with a very close best friend, from around 2 years old, to teenagers. We naturally grew apart towards the end of high school, as she drifted into another friendship group. We still hear from each other every few months and catch up on each others family, but I haven’t seen her in about 3 years. We spoke about meeting for coffee for a huge catch up, but we now live in different cities, so hasn’t worked out yet. I do miss her, A LOT! I’m not sure she feels the same, as I have such fond memories.

I’m not sure how to change this situation/where to meet new people who genuinely want to make a real connection. I don’t want new acquaintances, I want a connection, a real genuine connection. Do I have too high of an expectation?

Feeling suicidal while on the other side of the world

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

I haven’t posted in nearly a month, and that’s because I’ve been enjoying myself travelling in Africa. I may do a separate post of my travels, but if not, it was amazing!

While away, I only felt low one day, which I am impressed with considering the exhaustion of travelling and intense social interaction. On this day, I did not leave the bed all day, which is sad considering I was in Kenya, a beautiful place I was happy to be in. I stayed in, but let everyone I was travelling with carry on, this made me feel less guilty.

It was needed to take a day off, and I’m glad I did. I woke the next day refreshed, and was able to carry on with my travels,which I feared I wouldn’t.

I had never been this far away from my comfortable, I did not want to end my life in this unknown and country so far from home. It was so frightening feeling these intense intrusive thoughts.

Mental illness doesn’t take a holiday too! Haha.

I haven’t gained my blogging passion back, so I’ll leave this post short.

I miss my therapist?

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

This is an odd thing for me to write about as I never thought I would struggle with this. My mental health is rather hidden in my life, not many people know about it. A few months ago I wrote about my experience with online CBT. I spoke to a licensed therapist 5 days a week, for nearly 30 weeks. I struggled to be open at first, but after a few weeks I began to see the benefits and really engaged.

I had CBT for 6 months with the same therapist. The first therapist I saw said my needs were too complex, which put me off seeking help. I did not work with him, but decided to give it one more chance. I then met the therapist I worked with, we connected well and I felt he was a good match for my needs. We intended to do CBT for 12 months together, and then take things from there. After 6 months, he opened his own private practice in the states, so would not be able to work with me anymore.

I was devastated, the 6 months of therapy had really began to help me. I was frightened to suddenly stop, and not progress further. I felt I was leaving therapy with only half of the tools I needed.

I had the option to carry on therapy with another therapist but felt like this would be a step back, especially as it would take me a few months to get comfortable.(Also therapy is very expensive, and as a young adult feel the extra cost wasn’t the right time) I decided to leave all therapy and try to use the skills I had started working through. It has been beneficial, but feel I need to work through a few more things with a professional. I am coping well, and feel now is not the time.

When I am struggling, I often think I would know how to cope with the situation if my therapist didn’t leave me. I yearn for the professional advise that was personalized to me. I balanced my irrational thoughts with the sane thoughts we spoke of, and when I experience intrusive thoughts I miss his rationale. I feel embarrassed that I miss my therapist, its only from a professional relationship. I guess its normal to miss that safety.

Which bring us go now! I am currently medicine and therapy free, and thriving! It’s been 4 months since ‘my therapist left me’ and I have grown so much! I am thankful of the skills I learnt in CBT, but am able to acknowledge there is still more work to be done in the future. I have no immediate plans, but am confident in keeping myself safe. I still experience intrusive thoughts of suicide but can mostly work through them with the help of my partner.