Posted in Achievements, Mental Health

Back on Track, from Depressionland

Every time I think of Depression—how to handle it, how to get ahead of it, how to be stronger, more productive, less lethargic, more grounded, less apathetic—the word insidious comes to mind. When you’ve gone through one too many funks, you learn to recognize the signs, and by that I mean to say, you learn that there are NO signs. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.

It sneaks under your guard like poisonous gas and you don’t know it until you’re trapped in a sinkhole and you’re blind in the dark and there’s no way to crawl out. Holding on to your sanity, trying to find reasons why to even care about anything at all—becomes a constant battle. A never-ending battle against faceless monsters without any weapons at all.

I’ve been struggling for a while now to get back to reading, to blogging, to posting about books on Instagram, to origami—to get back to all the things I used to actually like to do and I keep falling down, unable to find my way back to being Me again. I stopped journaling even, the one thing other than reading that could always help me.

So during my funk, all I could do was get through day by day. Just endure and survive. The only way out is through, right? The one thing that helped me escape the nothingness, the apathy was re-reading my favorite books, the In Death series by J.D. Robb. Eve Dallas and Roarke can always give me the strength to keep getting back up and going on.

I’m trying again, fingers crossed that it sticks this time.

To everyone struggling out there, don’t give up. Hang in there.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews

e-ARC Review: The Silence That Binds Us – Joanna Ho

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Mental Health, Asian, Racism

Release Date: 14 June 2022

Review:

First of all, that cover is absolutely apt for this book. It was what drew me to it. I have anxiety and depression and sometimes it feels like I’m drowning and the surface feels too far away. This cover emphasized that and resonated with me.

Maybelline’s brother was the perfect one, who had his life all figured out, who he wanted to be, where he wanted to go to college whereas Maybelline can’t seem to get her mother’s approval for even one achievement. Then the unthinkable happens and Danny takes his own life, leaving May and her family reeling in the aftermath.

The author’s writing was exceptional. She did a remarkable job emphasizing and showing difficult issues such as mental health and racism. I liked that she didn’t just focus on Asian but Black people and the ignorance of others over the prejudice they have to endure.

Best of all, you could see May’s character growth as she fell down and picked herself back up, how she learned to see the world as it was and not how she wanted it to be. And you couldn’t help but love Tiya, Marc, Hugh, and Celeste.

The emotions in the story surged through and had a huge impact on me. The grief and the guilt, the sibling love between May and Danny, the friendships, that glimmer of hope at the end. And there were scenes that ripped your heart out and left you in tears.

The fact that the author could pull these powerful emotions in me says it all. This is by no means an easy story, with powerful scenes that will change you forever. And that is exactly why you need to read it.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she’s proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May’s world is shattered.
In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May’s parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May’s father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It’s up to May to take back the narrative.

 

Posted in Book Blog, Mental Health

Depression à la Reading Slump

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.

∼Lyn

Posted in Book Blog, Mental Health, Miscellaneous

Life Update, Blog Update

Life Update

Hiya everyone! I know I haven’t been around for a while now. I don’t know if it was the depression, burnout or just life in general getting me down but I lost interest in both blogging and Instagram. I was kind of at a loss for inspiration and motivation and I kept asking myself, why bother? What’s the point of it all?

And the answer? I chose this. I chose to blog and to post on Instagram. Maybe there’s no point but it was my choice. It still is. That was a relief for me, because if I am not doing all these things what else would I be doing with myself? I’m going to try a different perspective to it all – to my life, to doing the things I want to do, to try to stay interested in things that bring me pleasure. Continue reading “Life Update, Blog Update”

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Mental Health, Netgalley

Book Review: Six Goodbyes We Never Said – Candace Ganger

Hello, everyone, I’m participating in my second blog tour. Happy release day to Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger. Here’s my stop in the blog tour and my review.

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Review:

Mental health, what does it mean? Is it a big issue, a small one? Is it real or tall tales? Even in this present enlightened day, despite awareness efforts and campaigns, a large majority still don’t place as much importance to it as they should. In small countries, mental disorders aren’t viewed as genuine or real or worse—they are viewed as a bid for attention. The people with these disorders are seen as being difficult. What so-called “normal people” don’t understand is those with disorders are actually having a difficult time. Continue reading “Book Review: Six Goodbyes We Never Said – Candace Ganger”

Posted in Mental Health

Who Am I? (I sound like the Jackie Chan movie)

Do you ever feel like you get all these opportunities for free time so often and instead of utilizing that time wisely, doing all the productive things you want to do, you miss those opportunities by being a total sloth and lazing around and just wasting all that time away? Yeah, that’s who I’ve become, a total sloth. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore.

I guess it’s pretty obvious I’m having a crappy Monday and a lousy start to this month.

I don’t understand anymore why I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. I know better, and yet, it’s like there’s a disconnect between my mind and my body. I can’t seem to reconnect, to push my body to do what my mind wants to.

Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

I tell myself I’ll do things differently but I seem stuck in the same vicious loop and I can’t break out of it. I told myself this month would be different but I already wasted the first two days of June, doing you’ll ask what? Nothing. That’s right. I did nothing. There were so many things I should have, could have done but I didn’t. Why?

I don’t know how to be different, how to get the results I want with all these dead-end roads I keep taking.

Will I be stuck like this? Always filled with regrets.

so obvious in hindsight

I know that there are no do-overs so all I can do is let go. Let go of the time I wasted, and instead learn from my mistakes. Stop punishing myself for what I didn’t see when I was in the moment but what is clear to me in hindsight. But the fact remains, hindsight sucks.

Here’s to hoping I don’t end this year with these regrets.

lessons learned

Posted in Book Blog

Still Kickin’

I am not dead. Don’t worry, people, this is not a ghostly note from the grave (though if I could do it when I’m dead, I totally would 😉 ). I had another bout of depression where the apathy had me in its grip so I let things go, didn’t really care if I went on or not, if I wrote or not.

I’ve shaken off that insidious snake (for now). Let’s see how long this period of clarity lasts, shall we? I’m determined to keep fighting, to try to stay stronger, to never give up. You know, this year’s International Women’s Day Campaign theme was #BalanceforBetter which was mostly targeted at a more gender-balanced world and equality. I’m all for that but I also think “Balance for Better” is more, that it can be a way of life. I think, everyone, woman or man, should strive for that balance in their lives. Continue reading “Still Kickin’”

Posted in Book Blog

Obsessive Reading 101

Hola, I’m back, baby! I’ve been AWOL lately and I sure hope I’ve been missed. 😉

I’ve had another bout of depression with a sprinkle of obsession during which I didn’t feel like blogging much or doing anything productive except for devouring the books in the Chicagoland Vampires series.

s-l300

The first 4 books in the series were really good but after that, the writing dragged at times and the repetition, and endless drama kind of turned me off. But I had to finish all the books in the series so I could read the first book in the spin-off series, Heirs of Chicagoland – Wild Hunger.

And yet, even though the remaining books in the CV series weren’t that great, I was stuck in my obsession to finish. I fast-read the books, making sure I got all the important events.

Now that I’m done with the CV series and I started Wild Hunger, I feel kind of at a loss what to read next. Because Wild Hunger isn’t keeping my attention. And the crash after binge-reading is like being shaken out of an insulated, drug-induced bubble and falling smack-dab onto a concrete floor of reality. Readers, have you ever felt like that? Any advice how to get back on familiar footing? 

These days I wonder if I’ll ever feel like me or if I’ll keep wandering and drifting.

my moods don't just swing

For the moment though I feel okay and I’ll take that as a win.

one foot in front of the other

So I’m catching up with my reviews and hoping to be more regular with blogging. Here’s to being more productive. Mazel Tov to me and everyone out there still fighting. You might fall down but get back up and keep going. Don’t give up. 

Posted in Book Blog

Fightin’

I woke up this morning and I thought, “I don’t wanna go to work.” So I called in sick and went back to sleep. Nothing wrong with that, right? Everyone’s entitled to bunk a day, right? Except I did the same thing yesterday. I had no will or energy to get up. No energy to face the day at all. I wasn’t going to talk about today on my blog. My journal took the brunt of it. Whenever I talk about depression, I try to write a fun, motivational post that maybe can help others as well. But today, it’s all about one foot in front of the other. And that’s okay.

one foot in front of the other Continue reading “Fightin’”