Anxiety, reading, and progress

I’ve been a reading fool the past few weeks. Now that things have settled down some, and my mood is back where it should be, I’ve dived into all the books that I’ve wanted to read for quite some time. One example is the Midnight, Texas series by Charlaine Harris. I really enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse books, so after watching the Midnight, Texas show on NBC I figured I’d check them out. There’s three books in the series, and they’re easy reads that lets you dip your toes slightly back into that supernatural world. I read all three of the Robert Galbraith books, a few that I’ve been eying for a few months (namely Startup by Dorree Shafrir, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid). Startup was… ok. I enjoyed it and the glimpse into startup culture (which I’m sure was highly fictionalized for the book), but the plot didn’t really get moving until the end, and then the story just… ended with some loose threads dangling. Wasn’t a big fan of that. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was also quite good, although not what I expected, admittedly. All the same I blew through both books in about a day and a half each.

Reading is very much my favorite way to unwind. If the book is good and well-written, it’s easy to get transported into another world for a short period of time. (Being that I’ve read 29 books this year, most of those since June, I’d say its one of my favorite ways to pass the time.) One of the issues I have with the Midnight, Texas books vs. show is that the character descriptions don’t match between the book and the show. Since I saw the show first that’s who I would picture while I was reading. But some of those characterizations were way off. I would have to consciously think, “no, that’s not what he’s supposed to look like” while reading that would jolt me out of the world.

Onto the bipolar-y goodness. Things have actually been pretty ok. Maybe even good. My moods are stable (my mood tracker shows me floating around in the “balanced mood” numbers). My anxiety is, at least to a degree, better under control, although still a concern. My biggest source of anxiety at this point is people and being around them. For me, being around a lot of people, people I don’t know, people that are drunk, being touched by people, is incredibly draining and anxiety-ridden for me. Mike and I went to a concert last weekend with a few of his friends. When the headliner came on stage people just absolutely crushed forward. After about three songs I told Mike I couldn’t do it and I’d be hanging out on the edge of the crowd where I didn’t feel like I was going to lose my mind surrounded by all those people.

One of the things that I’m working on with my therapist is training my rational mind to be more dominant and not let the emotional mind govern so much. Easier said than done. When I have one of these irrational thoughts, and I know this is going to sound weird, but I picture Leonard Nemoy as Spock, dressed as a crossing guard holding a stop sign and saying, “that is illogical” or “that is irrational” depending on what the thought it. As bizarre as this sounds, it helps to a degree. The thing that really sucks is I used to be able to do all of this, without even really thinking about it. But since that damned depressive episode in August I apparently lost this skill. It’s frustrating.

Things that make me deliriously happy

Every once in awhile I find it helpful to actually sit down and remind myself of all of the things that make me happy. This is one of those times.

  1. My husband
  2. My cats. I have a favorite of the four, but I’ll never divulge who it is.
  3. Sunrise when I’m coming home from my last night shift of the week.
  4. Apple pie
  5. Hockey
  6. Spending time with friends
  7. Fresh laundry (even though I hate doing it and folding it. The end product is worth it. Especially since I discovered Downey Unstoppables – they keep the laundry smelling fresh a lot longer)
  8. Lazy mornings in bed where I don’t have to get out immediately and can enjoy the comfort and warmth
  9. Reading and allowing myself to be transported to another world
  10. When things work out. Every once in awhile the universe aligns and everything just seems to fall into place.
  11. I just discovered that the keyboard on my laptop has a backlight that I can turn on
  12. Music
  13. Good meaningful conversations. I hate small talk, so being able to have a real meaningful conversation about whatever is rewarding
  14. When Newton curls up against my hip and watches TV with me just because he wants to cuddle
  15. Being able to relax because my to-do list is done
  16. Good food
  17. Doctor Who

This list is (I’m sure) far from complete, but this is what I was able to come up with in ten minutes. Sometimes it’s just good to have a little reminder, especially when a month and a half ago everything seemed so bleak.