Books on My Bookshelf

I have read:

  • PS I Love you – Cecelia Ahern
  • Halo – Alexandra Adornetto
  • Just Listen – Sarah Dessen
  • Someone Like You – Sarah Dessen
  • Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen
  • I Wish – Elizabeth Langston
  • No One Belongs Here More Than You – Miranda July
  • Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Silent Sister – Diane Chamberlain
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Incarceron – Catherine Fisher
  • Hush, Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Crescendo – Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Silence – Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Finale – Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Paper Towns – John Green
  • Goth Girl Rising – Barry Lyca
  • Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
  • New Moon – Stephanie Meyer
  • Eclipse – Stephanie Meyer
  • Breaking Dawn – Stephanie Meyer
  • Don’t Breathe a Word – Jennifer McMahon
  • Bliss – Lauren Myracle
  • The Angel Experiment – James Patterson
  • School’s Out Forever – James Patterson
  • Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports – James Patterson
  • The Final Warning – James Patterson
  • MAX – James Patterson
  • Fang – James Patterson
  • Angel – James Patterson
  • Nevermore – James Patterson
  • Confessions of a Murder Suspect – James Patterson
  • Confessions: The Private School Murders – James Patterson
  • Confessions: The Paris Mysteries – James Patterson
  • Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman
  • The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

I have not read:

  • Hades – Alexandra Adornetto
  • Heaven – Alexandra Adornetto
  • Dreamland – Sarah Dessen
  • Keeping the Moon – Sarah Dessen
  • Bad Girls Don’t Die – Katie Alender
  • The Beautiful and the Cursed – Page Morgan
  • Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham
  • The Story Sisters – Alice Hoffman
  • Sapphique – Catherine Fisher
  • A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
  • Immortal – Gillian Shields
  • Love Lies Bleeding – Jess McConkey
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
  • Viral – Kathy Reichs
  • First Love – James Patterson
  • Mistress – James Patterson
  • Plain Truth – Jodi Picoult
  • Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

Questions A – Z

Yes

B – Birthday?

November

C – Crush?

Johnny Depp as Captain jack Sparrow

D – Drink you last had?

SoBe limewater Coconut Water

E – Easiest person to talk to?

My best friend

F – Favorite song?

Take the Keys by Leah Turner

G – Good at?

Writing, listening, talking

H – Hair color?

Naturally, a light/medium brown. But for a while I dyed it an auburn red. And then I also dyed the underside black with some friends. But everything’s growing out to just my natural color now.

I – In love with?

Escaping reality through books

J – Jealous of?

People who have their lives together

K – Known as?

Katy

L  – Longest relationship?

Just over one year

M – Middle name?

Nicole

N – Number?

3

O – One wish?

For everyone I love to be as healthy as possible

P – Person last texted?

Momma

Q – Question always asked?

Why ASL?

T – Time you woke up?

7:35

U – Underwear color?

White

V – Violent moment?

Getting in fights with my best friend – I don’t hold back anything

W – Worst fear?

Not being enough

X – Ex you never stopped loving?

My first real boyfriend

Y – Your last hug?

A Girl in my ASL class on Wednesday

Z – Zodiac sign?

Scorpio

An Unsent Letter

Yesterday I was in Panera with a friend. She was working on a paper for a class at school. I was just kind of keeping myself busy.

There were these two girls at another table studying. One of them had so much makeup on that she looked fake. The other didn’t look like she had any makeup on. Sometimes I wonder how people like that end up friends. They seemed like complete opposites. It’s not like it’s not possible. It just seems interesting to me.

I’ve been trying to come up with a blog post because I need something to do. She’s got her paper to work on and I’ve got nothing. So I’ve been scrolling through social media sites and hopping between them all. I said something on Twitter about maybe doing some reading or homework. But then I realized that I don’t have any homework to do..

So I’m still sitting here with not much to show for the time I’ve been here.

I something in a notebook earlier that I thought about turning into a blog post, but now I’m not sure. I know that my blog is my safe space, where I can say what I want to say. But I still wonder if that’s true sometimes.

There’s so much that I want to say. However, I don’t want people stumbling across it and realizing who I’m talking about when I go off on a rant. In a way it feels unfair because I shouldn’t have to worry like that when I’m writing for my own blog. I could understand if it was a guest post somewhere else because it’s not my safe space, it belongs to someone else.

But I guess I need to stop worrying about everyone who reads my blog because I can’t make everyone happy. That would be completely exhausting. And it’s already exhausting enough just trying to get through my days functioning as minimally as I can.

~~~~~~~~~~

You don’t try to understand. You want things your way or not at all. You can’t see a marked difference when I take my medication because that’s how it works. Things in life don’t always go your way.

I wish that things magically changed because I swallowed the pills that my doctor gave me. But guess what? They don’t! I’m still emotional. I’m still irritable. I’m still unstable. I’m still bipolar. Shocker, I know

There’s not a cure for bipolar disorder. I don’t know if there ever will be. I have to accept the fact that I’m going to be dealing with this for the rest of my life.

Do you know why you don’t understand? Because you’re closed-minded and you don’t take the time to ask questions or listen to answers. If someone doesn’t have a straight answer, you start talking over them or asking even more questions. The other person gets overwhelmed, and it’s even more difficult to give a straight answer.

Well guess what? With mental illness, there is very rarely a straight answer. I’m serious. If someone asks me how I am, I seldom tell them the truth. It’s too much for them to process/handle.

The easiest way to get a “straight” answer out of me is to talk to me like I’m an equal human being. If you start talking down to me then you won’t get what you want – you’ll get me being defensive instead.

Then there’s also the issue of you thinking that my diagnosis is serious, and wanting someone to sit in on appts with me. That makes it seem as though you’re still treating me like a child. It feels as if you see me as incapable of managing this on my own. Well, I’ll never learn how to handle my diagnosis alone if you refuse to let go. (Thank god you aren’t the one who takes me to all my appts…)

There is no right or wrong way to manage bipolar disorder. Why? Because everyone is different. What works for a friend of mine up in Canada ma not work for me. I have to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. But I need to do it on my own because you won’t always be around.

I’m discovering what my triggers are. I’m learning how to cope with them the best that I can. It’s not always easy. There’s a reason that they’re called triggers. You see/hear/smell something and it causes certain memories to flood your mind. They can be positive or negative triggers. Meaning they can send you up into (hypo)mania or down into depression. But they can also be a temporary relief from the extremes if you let them.

If you don’t want to take the time to research and try to understand what I’m dealing with, I’m not going to be very inclined to try to explain thing when you’re confused. You’ll only have yourself to blame because you acted like you didn’t care so I didn’t see a reason to waste my time and breath on you.

Self-Harm

Self-harm. It’s a topic that’s not talked about, despite how common it is. I have friends who have self-harmed in the past, and I also have friends who are struggling with it now. The fact that they’ve done this doesn’t mean that they’re any less important or strong. There are all sorts of reasons that people turn to self-harm, and no reason should be pushed aside as “stupid” or be made to seem less valid than another. I am among the many who used to self-harm. I’m not exactly proud of that, but I’m also not completely ashamed of it either. I’m coming up on two and a half years clean soon. But recently I’ve been struggling with thoughts of self-harm. I haven’t acted on them yet. And I hope that I won’t. But if I do find myself coming close to engaging in self-harm behavior, I have people that I can talk to. People who aren’t going to judge me for thinking about that. And that’s important. When you want to hurt yourself, and they get upset with you for whatever reason, that can often push you even closer to self-harm, if not completely over the edge. Like I said before, there are multiple reasons that people self-harm:

  • distract themselves, alter the focus of their attention, or regain control over their minds when experiencing pressing, unavoidable and overwhelming feelings or thoughts
  • release tension associated with strong emotions or overwhelming thoughts
  • feel something physical when they are otherwise dissociated and numb
  • express themselves or communicate and/or document strong emotions they are feeling and cannot otherwise articulate
  • punish themselves
  • experience a temporary but intense feeling of euphoria that occurs in the immediate aftermath of self-harm

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Notice that suicide is not on the list. That’s because suicide is usually not the goal. And another thing to remember is that most times, the self-harm is not for attention. That’s why those who do typically wear long sleeves or other things to hide the h=injury they inflicted upon themselves. I know I did. I didn’t want everyone to know what I was doing to myself; it was absolutely not for attention by any means. It was a way to distract myself from the drama going on in my life. It was a way to feel like I was in control of something as well. For several years, I continued to cope with everything by engaging in self-harm. Then in a conversation with a friend, I discovered alternative ways to cope, healthier ways, safer ways.

  • exercise
  • draw on yourself with red marker, then take a shower and wash away your pain
  • cuddle with a stuffed toy and cry
  • paint your nails a new color
  • write a letter to someone but never send it
  • have a pillow fight with a wall
  • color your hair
  • work on a website or start a new one
  • buy a henna tattoo kit
  • pop bubble wrap
  • drink a cup of herbal tea
  • go to a friend’s house and open up
  • re-arrange a room
  • go to a public place and people watch
  • take up kick-boxing

via

One of my favorite alternatives was drawing on myself with red marker. There was something I could see afterward, but no harm had been done. As time progressed, I found other ways to cope. I would play music really loud through my headphones. I tried escaping reality by finding a book to read. I put all my attention into something I was watching on Netflix. Then there were times that I would pull out a coloring book and colored pencils and focus on one pictures so that it would be “perfect” when I was finished with it. Sometimes I would reach out and text a friend, pretty much indirectly asking them to talk me out of it.

It’s been a couple years since the last time I self-harmed, but I still struggle with it today.

I’m Enjoying Myself Right Now.. Am I Really Depressed?

I’22f4637m struggling.

There… I said it.

Getting up out of bed isn’t easy.
Getting dressed isn’t easy.
Reminding myself to eat isn’t easy.
Functioning like a normal person isn’t easy.

I don’t like this. I want to fight it off, but I can’t. I don’t have the energy for it. I’ve been like this for longer than want to admit. I don’t tell anyone because I don’t want to be a burden on them. I don’t tell people because I don’t like the feeling of knowing that people are worried about me.

I pretend to be okay all day long. I don’t want people to think there’s something wrong with me.

sad_emoticon_cryBut when I’m alone at night, when I know that everyone else has gone to bed. That’s when I take off the mask. That’s when I give up on trying to keep it together. Most nights I cry. I couldn’t tell you why if you asked. I just know that something’s wrong and I can’t do anything but cry.

I lay awake in my bed, under my blanket, unable to sleep. I turn on Netflix and find something to watch. Just to pass the time. I really don’t want to spend half the night just staring at the ceiling. I would rather have something to focus on than letting the thoughts roll around in my head. That can get to be dangerous. Especially because I start thinking about what would happen if I relapsed to self-harm.

The other night I was absolutely miserable. I was pretty sure that I was going to cry myself to sleep. I text a couple friends (one in NC and one in AL) but only one responded. So she and I talked for probably over an hour. I was telling her about how I basically don’t get hugs from anyone anymore. And I feel awkward asking for them, so most times I just keep my mouth shut and go without human contact. Which for me isn’t exactly easy, or comfortable. I was convinced that there’s something wrong with me. She kept telling me that there isn’t. I don’t think I ever fully believed her, or even do now.

That’s the thing when I’m struggling. I don’t believe things that people tell me. Even if somewhere inside me I know that they’re right.

I’m sinking back into myself. Isolating myself more and more. Completely faking it when I’m around people. Pretending like I’m enjoying myself. Laughing when I’m supposed to. It’s almost like I have to think about it. It’s more than the very minimal functioning that I want to do. The minimal functioning that I can get through and not feel completely exhausted.

resized_all-the-things-meme-generator-participate-in-all-the-class-discussions-f2ee6bSure, I have my moments where I really do enjoy myself. Like in my comparative linguistics class at school. The teacher is hilarious and down to earth, and all the other students come from all kinds of backgrounds so they have different perspectives. It’s so much fun to listen to the discussions even if I don’t really have anything to add. I chime in here and there, and discussions keep going.

It’s those moments when I question if I’m just making everything up. All the negative stuff that I’m dealing with. Is it all read? Or am I just imagining it? I mean, if I really am enjoying myself and having fun and laughing right now, is it seriously possible that I’m depressed?

Yes, it is. I’m what I like to call functionally depressed. I can still function, but I have my moments when I just can’t. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Everybody’s different. I have to keep reminding myself of that. There is no one uniform look for any mental illness. It’s possible to enjoy myself in a certain situation and be miserable half an hour later when I’m not there anymore.

I’m walking my path, not anyone else’s. What I go through is real. I can’t deny that. My story is my own. And I need to own that, however difficult it may be.

Keeping The Faith: Guest Post by @_thenewsexy

The mania is gone and so are the voices (mostly) but now something new is happening: I can’t get over what a crumby feeling being low is. Seriously, I don’t know how anybody does it.

It’s like now that one thing has been remedied, something new is stirring in the form of a big cloud over everything and I can’t seem to shake the feelings it provokes. What’s the point of all of this, who cares what happens, and, most unsettling, you should just die. I don’t want to listen to any of these, but they’re so persistent and make it hard to do anything; picking up a pencil feels like the most daunting task at times.

During times like these I know I have to do my best to fight the feelings. One thing that really helps is working out – spin class has become a great way for me to release any and all negative feelings. I’m throwing myself into my workouts these days, giving myself to the beat of the music and riding upwards of 20 miles on my bike. Yoga helps too, though I’m still fairly new to the art. I bend my body into ridiculous positions during Bikram, letting go of each violent thought as it comes to me with a determined bend of my leg or twist of my arm. The most important thing is that I’m not letting my feelings of defeat get the best of me.

My absolute favorite thing to do when I’m feeling hopeless used to be hitting the bar, but I’ve been sober almost 2 months now and that is just no an option for me anymore. I can’t – no, won’t drink about it. Staying sober helps me hold on to hope because it lets me know that I have will power and determination greater than any addiction or bad mood.

At the end of the day, I still struggle with feelings of hopelessness and doubt in myself, but I find ways to keep on keepin’ on – reminding me that though the road to recovery isn’t always smooth, it is one full of inevitable positivity and reward.

lw5_U72oBIO: A lover of music and literature, Julia writes from the depths of her Schizoaffective-mind, in order to “make sense of it all,” drawing from [failed] personal experiences in lust, love, sobriety and emotional turmoil.

Julia lives in Baltimore, MD but prefers Vermont, and can be found unscrewing light bulbs from her ceiling (or “de-bugging”) while wearing YSL. She is the proud dog mom of Pitbull Lucy, and has a weakness for cupcakes.

Hope: Guest Post by @jcahannigan

I remember watching Hope Floats over and over again when I was sixteen. I’d just had a surgery on my hip, knee, and ankle. My parents had moved my bed to the family room so I wouldn’t have to do the stairs; I couldn’t walk and it was summer time. In hindsight, I was likely a little depressed about having to take time out of my busy schedule as a teenager to recover from yet another surgery.

So, I watched Hope Floats, emerging myself in the plot and the characters, crying with them and hurting with them…absorbing these little lessons that I couldn’t understand back then and barely understand now. I must have watched that video a hundred times that summer.

That movie wasn’t new: it was  VHS. You remember those, right? The kind you had to rewind before watching. I kept watching it over and over again for that one line, when Sandra Bullock’s character says: “Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that sounds. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”

That resonated with me, and it stays with me even now. Just give hope a chance to float. And it will. I haven’t watched that movie since that summer of recovery, I no longer remember at what point she says it (maybe at the county fair during the last five minutes?), but I can still hear the words echoing in my mind. I can still relate to it.

If you’ve never seen Hope Floats before, you’ve missed out on something. I can still vaguely remember the plot: a woman finds out that not only is her husband cheating on her, but he’s cheating on her with her best friend. She finds this out while on national television, in front of their daughter. So, she returns home with her daughter to live with her mom. A variety of things happen to her, some more traumatic than others, and she struggles to keep hope. It’s so easy for us to fall victim to our circumstances and become bitter and jaded. Sandra’s character could have easily become bitter and jaded, but in the end she walks alway with the knowledge that hope floats.

When I’m struggling, when things feel so impossible and heavy..I think about that movie, that line, and I cling to it. Hope makes me feel better. Hope lifts me up with the darkness tries to consume me. I don’t let myself become bitter and jaded.

I have hope that I won’t always struggle. I have hope that the hard day will end and dawn will come with a new day and new possibilities. Each day is a new beginning, a new chapter. You don’t have to give into the fear and anxiety of the unknown; if you have faith, if you let hope float, you’ll come out alright.

I try to start out each day with a clean slate by saying; I have hope that today will be incredible. It usually works, and when it doesn’t…I take comfort in the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day. It’s not fool proof by any mean, but having hope helps. I try to to live in the sadness and slights of yesterday.

Hope is easy to have, you know. We are guilty of trying to stomp out our hope because it “isn’t practical”; but hope is practical. it’s natural. You just close your eyes and reach out a little to feel it. Sometimes, if you’ve been stomping out your hope for a while, it takes a little more stretching to reach…but it’s there. This is why disappointment weights heavy on our minds and hearts; because you had hope, and it didn’t work out the way you wanted. But that doesn’t mean you should stop hoping.

So keep hope; and the easiest way to keep hope is let go, close your eyes, reach out and feel it. Open your eyes to beauty and goodness and know that the sun rises each morning, just as surely as it sets in the evening; darkness is only temporary.

Jessie DavisBIO: J.C. Hanging lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, their two sons and two dogs. She writes new adult romance, through which she brings to light awareness of mental health and social challenges. Like any good Canadian, she loves hiking and carbs. Collide is her first novel.

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Bad Days Happen – Guest Post by @courtneys_voice

ThankfulThursdays-300x300

Sarah Fader, of Old School/New School Mom, and the CEO & Founder of Stigma Fighters, decided that there was too much narcissism on the internet and started #ThankfulThursdays. In honor of this new hashtag, I’ve got a guest post for y’all today. I want to honor a wonderful young woman that inspires me to be strong even when I’m feeling weak in the face of depression. In fact, that’s what she’s talking about in her post here on my blog today!

~~~~~~~~~~

Depression is that best friend you never wanted. Never leaving your side, always whispering mean secrets into your ear, telling you the blatant “truth” about you that you try to forget, and always jealous when you spend time with your other friends. But just like any other best friend, we believe the things they say.

It’s a liar, telling you things you believe about yourself that aren’t true.

That’s what depression is; that evil “best friend” who in reality doesn’t care about you and only tries to hold you back and weigh you down.

But sometimes, we feel like depression is our only friend.

I’ve been there. I spent years feeling like depression was my only friend; the only real constant, always there and never leaving. And god knows there were times I wished he wasn’t. Times were I felt so low I wanted to end it all. I just wanted to be done, be free from the pain and that small voice in the back of my head. I wanted the whispers of depression to stop.

There are good days, days where I don’t feel so low. Where for a while I can feel like I am ok. And I enjoy those days. Not a care in the world.

But then, there are the bad days. See the tricky thing about depression, there isn’t always a reason. Sometimes you just feel low. Some days I wake up without the energy to get of bed or get dressed. And I lay there waiting for some spark of motivation to come that will make me get up. Sadly, most of the time that motivation is simply a need to use the restroom, which ends with me laying on the couch, waiting once again for a spark of motivation.

That’s depression. Sometimes, I just need a sick day. A day to feel what I have to feel and do what I have to do without being expected to fit perfectly into society and do the whole being social thing.

I used to feel bad about that. A form of guilt really, for not doing everything I needed to do that day. Or not being my normal social self. But I don’t anymore. I realized that depression is a serious illness, and thus I should be allowed to my sick days. I should be allowed to take care of myself, mentally just as much as physically.

From now on, I won’t be ashamed of my bad days. I won’t be ashamed of having to do me and having to do whatever I have to do to get through.

Bad days happen. And that’s ok.

11081496_348600538668804_4035867993635759809_nHi, I’m Courtney, a 17 year old writer, blogger, YouTuber, and most importantly, mental health advocate. I suffer from PTSD and depression. But I found my voice in the world, and try to use it to inspire others as well as educate about mental illnesses. And I am also the Content Manager for Stigma Fighters Teen.  Find me at http://courtneysvoice.com/ or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneys_voice