What I read in September 2019

I had a very busy September, and didn’t record on paper what I read (I’ve never forgotten to do this before) therefore have missed a couple books from this list. This month I read all physical books apart from HP (I have the series on my kindle). Enough rambling, the first book I read this month was;

  1. Harry Potter and the half blood prince: I’m sure you’ll know by now that I am only just reading/watching the HP series as an adult.. I actually saw the movie before reading this one, thus flew through this book as I didn’t quite need the same level of attention. I much preferred the book to the movie, as they missed so much out! This is so far one of my favorite HP books. Only one more to go!
  2. The kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: This is by far the best book I read in September. I’ve had this book on my TBR for years, and can’t believe I waited this long to read it. The story is very emotional, and some may find aspects difficult to read. I would recommend this book to everyone!
  3. Home girl by Alex Wheatle: I picked this book up at the library on a whim. I really enjoy books based in foster care, and thus this book appealed to me. It was an easy read, found in the YA section, but a little young for me. I still really enjoyed the story, and how it included many important topics.
  4. The shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: Too many words to fit on here, separate blog post coming!
  5. I also read a YA book about a mum with agoraphobia, and her son also doesn’t leave the house, until one day he decides to explore. They name rooms in the house after cities. For example, the kitchen being Paris. When exploring the boy meets another boy with the same name. I’ve googled and cannot find the book anywhere. If anyone knows what I’m trying to explain,please comment! Very odd for me to not write my books down…
  6. I’m now writing this in October and have finally finished the last Harry Potter book, so expect a blog on my opinions of reading HP for the first time!

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.

Anxiety; how it comes and goes

I have spoke previously about my experience with anxiety, and how it affected by life, but has not affected me much for the past year or so. Ironically this week I have had moments on intense anxiety. No way near as bad as it use to me. But enough for me to notice it affecting me.

Last week I was at work, where I suddenly noticed how much my heart was beating, the room felt very hot, my hands were shaking. Thoughts in my head started appearing that I am dying. The beginnings of an anxiety attack. A colleague noticed, but I was able to distract myself as work was relatively busy. I find distraction helps me a lot. The more I think about it ,the worse it gets. I noticed that all week I’ve been physically anxious, which is harder to cope with for me. I feel mentally okay, so why is my body betraying me? I’m not sure what to do, as I feel it’s a physical symptom? Suggestions welcome!

Feeling this attack last week made me realise how well and calm I feel in general, which is huge! I used to feel this amount of anxiety on a daily basis. (How I coped, I do not know). This week has been mentally exhausting, but I feel well still. I hope this feeling doesn’t stay.

Am I suffering with anxiety? Does a diagnosis last a life time? Is this a disorder that comes and goes? I’m not interested in putting a label to how I feel, but it’s still interesting. I wonder if I’ll always have anxious tendencies.

September TBR/ What I’m currently reading

This is what I am planning to read in September 2019:

  • Half blood prince; I am nearer the end of my finishing the entire Harry Potter collection, for the first time in my life. I am trying to stay quiet on my views, and shall do a whole collection view once I have completed the series. I have 3/4 of the way in this book, so will probably finish this evening
  • The deathly hallows; The final Harry Potter book that I need to read!
  • Tender by Eve Ainsworth; I am looking forward to reading a book that isn’t fantasy, and thought this would be a quick easy read to begin with. (If you’ve read my blog then you’ll know I am not a fantasy fan at all)
  • Goodbye Days by Jennifer Zentnez; I saw this when browsing my local libraries YA section, and had never heard of it.
  • Home girl by Alex Wheatle; This book is about a teenage girl in foster care. I’ve read a lot of fiction on this subject from the carers point of view, thus thought this book would be interesting.
  • To kill a mocking bird by Harper Lee; I have read this before, but cannot remember it at all. Although I am looking forward to going back to read my favourite genre. I too am looking forward to including more classics into my monthly reads.
  • Go set a watchman by Harper Lee; I have never read this book despite having it on my TBR for a long time. I shall read this directly after the above book.

I have set myself 7 books to read this month, this is a reachable target for me considering I have a busy September planned. What is one book you are planning to read this month?

Do I still have anxiety? / mini mental health update

It’s hard to know what anxiety is until you have suffered personally. My anxiety used to be quite moderate, I don’t want to say severe as I didn’t suffer with panic attacks too. Anxiety used to affect me to the point of being unable to do the things I needed to. I noticed it was particularly bad in situations where I felt I couldn’t escape, buses and taxi’s were completely off the table, I only managed the train because it was the only way of travel, which I avoided and did rarely, as it was a gruelling experience. My intense fear of failure caused me so much anxiety that I could not even pick up my pen in tests and exams, which I am sure you can work out the consequences. This was particularly difficult in my teenage years, and really affected my life.

Years later, where am I now? I am great! I do still experience anxiety, but only slightly more than the average person, well I think… (Read my last blog post on how I recognise the difference between ‘normal’ and irrational stress and anxiety). I am able to do the everyday things! I travel to my job, which is huge for me, and doesn’t prevent me going. I don’t enjoy the travel, but it definitely isn’t gruelling. I get public transport alone, I can basically do anything alone now! Which not only rewarding for me, but for my partner to see too.

Last week I had an assessment at my part time job unexpectedly, where I felt my heart suddenly beating fast, my palms were sweating, I felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen, shaking… Obviously this wasn’t a pleasant experience but the next day I realised how far it is for me to feel this way anymore. It made me recognise how far I have come in my journey! If you suffer with anxiety, be aware that you won’t feel this way forever. I couldn’t think of a time where I wouldn’t feel this way daily but somehow I am already there! (just FYI that I did not take any medications specifically for my anxiety but know this is a life saver option for some). I am at this point because I worked hard and constantly challenged myself. I’m recognising how far I have come and I should be proud.

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!