Mental health is such a vital thing. The majority of people still don’t realize its importance. With the forced confinement brought on by COVID, maybe some people have become aware of this though I’m not holding out hope that mental health won’t go back to being a taboo once life goes back to normal.
Depression is like an insidious snake, it often creeps up on you unaware and you don’t know it until you’re mired in muck so deep, you can’t pull yourself out of it. For those of us who have it, you know how the littlest things can set it off—a bad day, lack of rest, fatigue, an argument, things not going your way (especially no matter how hard you try or how you do everything right and it’s still not enough), a book hangover, the disappointment of two highly-anticipated books that fell way below your expectations.
As a norm, my mind has two modes (Nope, not an on/off switch, sorry). A) I’m either too high or so low I could sink beneath the earth or B) I don’t feel anything a.k.a apathy i.e. an absence of emotion. When I’m high, it feels like I have champagne bubbles in my veins. I could be the happiest person in the world but the emotion is not real and the fake happiness doesn’t last. Of course, at one point, you gotta come down from that high.
And when the low comes—oh, boy, you tank so bad that staying in bed and crying for all the bad things that happened to you, because your mind is a masochist and replays all your mistakes over and over again just to show you how worthless you are, are the only things you can do.
So, all in all, you can see why I rather prefer the apathy. I used to hate it, the lack of emotion, and I’d do anything to feel something. Now, it’s my lifeline. When you don’t feel anything, you can’t spiral into despair. But the downside to it is that you don’t give a damn about anything. Nothing matters in this state. So, I have a coping mechanism for that—my principles & BOOKS. For as long as I can remember, books have been my escape and my solace. A good book allows me to feel emotions without the high/low factor.
However, being a book dragon with depressive tendencies isn’t without its own set of problems, especially when you’re stuck with a book hangover or the dreaded reading slump, which can bring on the D word and let me tell you—it sucks. It sucks when you’re depressed and you can’t even read your way out of it.
Reading-wise, August was a good month and I was up to such a good start getting through my NetGalley and Edelweiss books. One of the books I read, Fable, was an amazing read. Then September started. I was lucky to get two new highly-anticipated releases I badly wanted. But rotten luck prevailed since both books turned out to be disappointments. Book hangover from Fable, followed by two disappointing reads one after the other at the very start of this bloody month, all equaled to…*drumrolls*… yes! Reading Slump! (note the sarcasm.)
September used to be my favorite month, but this year since it’s started, I’ve been miserable. My usual solutions for dealing with reading slumps haven’t been working—reading old favorites, changing genres, reading newer books—nothing’s working. So anal obsessive soul that I am, I sorted my obsessive-compulsive TBR list by number of pages, which entailed searching on Amazon for each title from my TBR list (which had 3,000 titles & change) and checking the total number of pages in the description section because I wanted to read books with less than 200 pages to get rid of my reading slump. What can I say, it kept my mind occupied.
Did it work, you might ask. Did it get rid of my reading slump? And the answer to that—a big fat no. I’m all out of options, unless jumping off a bridge is still valid. On second thought, the water’s freaking cold. So I’m writing instead, venting I guess, or spiraling again? Fellow book dragons, mind sharing your coping mechanisms for reading slumps?
I hope ya’all are having a better month than me. Mazel Tov.