Books and more

I’m still on the major reading kick, but I’ve slowed down a bit. Dan Brown’s new book The Origin sapped a lot out of me. While I like the early Dan Brown books (both his Langdon series and the stand-alones), I’ve become tired with his style and formulaic approach. I ended up skimming the second half of the book and then turning it over to Mike to read as he still really enjoys them. To each their own. He doesn’t denigrate my literary choices, and I don’t his.

I’ve literally had no time to look for a new job the past few weeks, which has been depressing. It’s just such a process to sit down and search, and then edit cover letters and resumes to try and tailor it to that position. Apply. Wait. Rinse. Repeat. I did get a line on a website to pick up some part-time hours doing proofreading and editing, so I’m going to look into that more thoroughly this week. We definitely need the added cash flow. We’re barely breaking even, if we are at all at this point. Fucking student loans.

My therapist claims that I’ve just about reached the point where we can say I’ve “graduated” from therapy. He’s been impressed with how I’ve jumped into using the techniques he’s been teaching me with both feet. To be fair though, a lot of this I already knew. It just seems like after the episode on August that I lost that skill and had to rebuild from almost scratch. The one thing I don’t like about the place where I get therapy is that a lot of the therapists have religious training of some sort, and reference God and whatnot. So far mine hadn’t done that, until this week. Being an atheist, I was trying really hard to roll my eyes, but I was unsure how to approach it say, ‘yeah, that doesn’t work for me’ without being rude. Then again, he technically works for me, so maybe it’s worth revisiting when I see him in a few weeks. Just a friendly reminder that I don’t buy in to that, and while I appreciate where he’s coming from it’s just not helpful. Maybe it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie, especially if I’m almost done with him barring a quick check in here or there. But their connection with Christian religion made me somewhat wary about being seen there in the first place. Something to think about.

I’ve had some interesting conversations with a few people this week that have confided in me that they suffer from mental illness. One in particular is insisting on treating her depression “holistically” under the treatment of a “healer” (whatever that is). She’s modified her diet to some diet she read about on the internet, is taking St. John’s Wort and Vitamin D, but she’s refusing to do any kind of therapy because she’s convinced herself that they’ll force her onto meds. Now, I have no problem with integrating diet and vitamins into treatment plans (hell, I take vitamin D every night during the winter and when I’m on night shift), but she is far from stable. And I’m not sure the diagnosis of just depression is completely accurate. But I’m not her, I gave my opinion when she asked me, and that’s that. She can do whatever she feels is right for her. I don’t have to agree with it. But I hate watching someone spiral out of control because they eschew psychiatric medicine or treatment. I’m aware that I’m one of those people that need the psych meds and probably always will. I don’t think everyone is in that same boat, but I also believe that there are times that forgoing treatment for is just an exercise in futility and that you’re more likely to watch your life crash and burn. I don’t know. I just hate watching people struggle when they don’t have to.

 

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.

Why I write

I can’t imagine that there’s anyone out there that actually cares what I think, or what I want to write about. I’m not narcissistic enough to believe that what I say will really impact anyone out there. But I put these thoughts out into the ether in hopes that maybe, someday, someone will read them and something will resonate with them. Is that you? Maybe. Maybe not.

I read The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher last night while at work. In it are exerpts from her journals during the shooting of A New Hope. The way she writes… While I enjoyed the book, her writing made me feel inadequate. I mean really, who talks like that? Especially in something that they assume that no one will ever read other than themselves? I’ve read a number of things that do that same thing recently. Blogs I can kind of understand as the whole point of them is for other people to read them. But some of the prose that’s used, the wording, the cadence, just sometimes reads as kind of forced.

One interesting thing I noticed in Carrie Fisher’s writings is that you can definitely see some of the bipolar coming through, they have a bit of a manic-y feel to them. Overall an interesting read if you like Carrie Fisher or are into Star Wars.

I’ve got nothing else today. Vacation started at 630 this morning and my brain is mush.