On Not Reading and Not Giving a Damn

I didn’t pick a book up for the best part of 4 months towards the end of 2016. For a while, that really irritated me, it aggravated me, but then I realised that the time I used to spent reading was being filled with memories (and some really bad TV) and I was happy for the first time in a long time.

The back quarter of 2016 was hard for me. I put not reading, not having the motivation to, entirely down to the fact that after nearly 8 years struggling with depression I was put on antidepressants. It was a turbulent time, my attention span dropped and every day was spent just focusing on getting to the next one. Not many people realise how bad my depression got, even my own family don’t know the true extent of it. And while when I had bad periods before I would lose myself in a book, I chose to lose myself in other things this time – time with friends, positive experiences, making plans. I threw myself in to living and I really can’t feel anything but happy that I have friends and family that supported me through some of the toughest months of my life. They dragged me out of bed, they made me go out and live my life. Gave me reason to keep going.

Looking forward, I’m positive. I have a good job, with great people. I have amazing friends. And I’m excited to start reading again. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me.

So Happy 2017 folks.

Normal, bookish service will return shortly.

Review: Cheer Up Love – Susan Calman

26 - Cheer Up Love

Rating – 5*

If you don’t know who Susan Calman is, go no further in this review and have a google, find a clip on YouTube – she’s hilarious. She’s appeared on numerous UK TV panel shows including QI, Mock the Week, and (my personal favourite) Have I Got News For You. She’s also does a lot of radio work (Susan Calman is Convicted). When I heard she was writing a book I immediately knew I had to get my hands on it and it did not let me down, in fact it is possibly one of the best books I’ve read all year. I chose to listen to this as an audiobook, and I highly recommend that to everyone, but I loved it so much I immediately went and purchased a physical copy so I could read passages to people.

This book is about depression, but while brutally honest about the experience of living with The Crab of Hate (as Susan so beautifully names it), it is truly one of the most hilarious books I have read. I laughed until I hurt listening to this. It was poignant, uplifting, intensely relatable too. And as for a book to explain depression? I would recommend this over Reasons to Stay Alive – for me, this was immensely more powerful. I’m aware that saying that is very high praise, given how loved Reasons to Stay Alive is. But for me, what that book lacked this book contained in abundance, and it had so much more on top of that.

I feel this is a book which has to be experienced, I have already recommended it to several friends and will be suggesting it to more! It is honestly one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read lately. If you’re unsure as to whether an audiobook is for you, just give the first 5 minutes a go on Audible because I promise you it’s worth it!

Purchase on The Book Depository

… Some Time Later

So much for updating this regularly, oh well!

So in the break of my initial post of celebration, a lot has happened. I’ve started university, made a great group of friends, got closer to my old friends, successfully broken my laptop, lost things, found things… It’s all been happening! But now I’m in a routine (of sorts) I thought it was about time I got in the habit of updating this!

University is brilliant – I absolutely love it. I was terrified, that much was clear from my last post, but after about 3 days I met a good group of people and I started to settle a bit. The first week or two of lectures was hard, getting settled in to a routine with buses and the actual material covered in lectures; after practically having a gap year I was both surprised at the things I remembered and the number of basic things I’d forgotten! The main thing is I’m there now, I’m feeling positive and I’m loving what I’m learning. I wake up at 0630 every day feeling excited about the day ahead of me, however much I don’t want to get out of bed at that time. 

I never really considered myself a social person, but I’m actually enjoying being surrounded by people most days. Some days I really hate people as a collective, but I’m lucky in that I have some really brilliant friends who make the collective seem irrelevant. They get me and my crazy and I’ve never been more grateful to a group of people. I’m going out with people for cake and coffee, doesn’t really help my diet but it’s making me happy – I’ve never been this happy to be around people.

I’m developing some very interesting hobbies; in getting on a bus every day of the week I see the same faces, and I know it’s probably weird of me, but to pass time I make up their life story in my head. It seems that every day I see them their lives become more elaborate in my mind, to the point that I’m debating whether to write something for NaNoWriMo about one of the women I see daily who is just so vivid in my imagination now because I’ve practically complied a fictitious life story for her. 

University is truly brilliant though. I can’t remember being this happy, not for such a prolonged period of time. I still have days where the depression sinks in, I still have days where I just want to bubble and cry, but I’m learning to work through them. I’m also having to learn to work through some of my ME/CFS symptoms which flare up – I’m having to relearn my boundaries and limitations, work with my body not against it. To be honest, learning my limits has been the hardest thing for me so far.

Part of me still misses school, mainly the teachers. I like to think that the place remains how it was when I left, everyone I respect so much still there. Reality isn’t as sweet though, people have moved on, it makes me sad to think that there are some people I care about who I might not see or hear from for quite some time because of that – that even though they said they would, aren’t keeping in touch with me. It sort of hurts, but I understand I have to grow up at some point, I have to let go of the past. However many bad memories I had there, I will always have affection for the place. It’s the aspect of relationships with teachers that I miss most at university at present, I miss that relationship I had, the closeness, the way they could read me – right now, though I have amazing lecturers and tutors, I feel that I’m missing something and I think it is just the relationship and trust that I’d built up with my teachers at school.

Right now, I’m just having an ‘omg what am I going to do with my future?’ crisis – right now, 8 weeks in to Year 1 of my degree I decide to have a career crisis. But in some ways, it’s a positive thing, because I’m looking at things I probably wouldn’t have considered a few years ago. Lab work is already getting to me – god knows how I’ll feel about it come the end of year 2!