Anxiety

Guest Post: BetterHelp #MentalHealth

What is This Feeling of Emptiness I am Feeling?

Sometimes it just feels like something is missing. Or like everything is missing and you just have no idea why you are here and what you should be doing. Everyone feels things differently so whatever you are feeling, it is important. Your body or mind may be trying to tell you something. Maybe there is something physical going on that is causing you to feel this way. Or it could be that you are depressed or anxious about something. This commonly happens to people after the loss of a job or the end of a relationship. It may just be that you are bored and need a new hobby or something.

 

What Is Wrong with Me?

You may be able to figure this out on your own just by thinking about what is going on in your life. Another way to determine why you have these feelings is to start a journal. Sometimes, the only way to figure it out is to talk to someone. A friend or family member may be able to help you figure out what is going on with you. However, many of us would rather not burden our loved ones with these kinds of things. Often, our friends and family members are biased and just tell us what they think we want to hear. Therefore, it is sometimes better to talk to a stranger than to talk to a loved one.

 

Journaling 101

Writing in a journal has been around for hundreds of years. People have been writing their feelings down for centuries so you know there must be a good reason. It is helpful to get your feelings down on paper, not just to express your emotions but to look back at your emotions over a period of time. For example, this feeling of emptiness may be able to be figured out by looking at what has been triggering the feeling in the past. When you find the triggers, you should be able to figure out how to avoid them. You can write down your:

  • Concerns
  • Ideas
  • Feelings
  • Thoughts
  • Interactions with other people
  • Disappointments
  • Accomplishments
  • Pictures
  • Drawings
  • Whatever you want

 

Online Therapy

Talking to a therapist or psychologist online is an excellent way to figure out what is making you feel empty. There are different options for online therapy such as Skype, Facetime, chatting, or instant messenger. Either way, you are able to record these conversations and play them back at a later time to see what may be going on with you. Of course, the therapists are experienced in these situations and many are licensed to treat your specific issues. They can help you determine what you can do to make this empty feeling go away. Many of these websites offer their availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can write down your thoughts and feelings as soon as you feel them. So, what are you waiting for? Take a chance and you can feel better today.

 

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Guest Post – Cat Davis – Four Quotes to Help You And Me Understand Bi-Polar

 

Hello Marje’s fans! My name is Cat, and I am a 20 year old diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder. Writing is one of my main coping mechanisms for accepting my diagnosis, so I am thrilled to share a part of me with you today.

Bipolar sounds like a terrifying, debilitating, life-changing disorder…and it definitely is. At times. When I was locked in my 2nd hospital, after getting out of my 1st one only 41 days earlier, I thought I had gone absolutely insane. And in a way, I had. I was misdiagnosed with depression and misprescribed an antidepressant that ended up making matters worse. Hospital-worthy worse.

But my 5th psychiatrist listened to me and changed my meds, and my 12th therapist listened to me and believed what I said, and I stabilized in six months. And here I am!

I write when I’m depressed. I write when I’m manic. Okay…I mostly write when I’m manic. And I write when I’m stable. When I sit down and open my laptop, I have no idea what to expect from my brain. I have no idea which me will come out. But today I have a theme in mind, thanks to Marje’s suggestion, and that theme is using quotes to explain what bipolar is and what it means to me. I hope you enjoy!

 

Four Quotes to Help You (and Me) Understand Bipolar Disorder:

 

“I have traveled through madness to find me.” –Danny Alexander

 

I started experiencing my first symptoms of bipolar disorder when I was 14 years old. Before long, I self-diagnosed myself as depressed. When I wasn’t depressed, I thought I was back to normal.

I didn’t know that when I felt normal, I was actually feeling manic.

It started with hypomania, which is a less intense form of mania. A patient who only experiences hypomania is by definition a patient who is never hospitalized for mania. Patients without full-blown manic episodes are diagnosed with Bipolar 2.

My hypomania didn’t detract from my life. Sometimes I was impulsive, but that was written off as a teenage rebellious phase. Sometimes I talked really fast and bounced off the walls with energy, but I was just labeled an extrovert, maybe with a little bit of ADHD thrown in. My experience mimics many other patients who do not get diagnosed properly, if they get diagnosed at all. Hypomania often looks like normal.

I don’t know if it was growing up or going off to boarding school or college or what else, but the full-on mania came. I was hospitalized. Twice. This was partly due to my misdiagnosis of unipolar depression and subsequent treatment with antidepressants. Antidepressants like Prozac close the mechanisms in the brain that essentially “suck up” serotonin, leaving more happy neurotransmitters for the depressed person. But more serotonin in a person with bipolar can induce a manic episode. And it did.

So when I was correctly diagnosed, I felt a wave of relief wash over me, softly pulling me into the comfort of the sand bar and telling me that the storm was over. My psychiatrist, the first person other than myself, did not only acknowledge my madness, but he accepted it. And he helped me. I figured out who I am; I understood why I felt the things I felt and did the things I did for the first time.

 

It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so very deeply.” –David Jones

(more…)

My interview with Shadow – A Black Cat Character with A Past

 

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Cat model Lily via Samantha – https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com

Welcome to Kyrosmagica, Shadow – the black cat who features in my book – The Curse of Time: The Bloodstone.  I’m so glad you agreed to this interview opportunity today to help me promote my book which I hope to release this summer. You are such a handsome fellow and quite the gent I hear. Today, we’re going to discuss all manner of things and we will also have a #mentalhealthawarenessweek discussion about anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders.

Tell me about yourself…

Purrrrr.… Thanks for being so welcoming Marje not everyone is so kind to cats. Luckily, I have a lovely owner Amelina who cares for me. I discovered her one day when I was playing in her garden; I peered in the window and I knew she was a special person so I stayed. I’m persuasive that way, one purr, and a stroke of my sleek black fur and humans can’t resist me!

When you say not everyone is so kind to cats does that mean you have had a rough life?

Oh, to answer this question I have to think back in time. The strangest thing happened to me one day. I felt this abundant change in my spirit. One minute I was chasing birds, playing with the mice in a field and then kapow, it hit me. I felt this overwhelming feeling of change. I felt different, overcome with these overwhelming feelings of goodness. But, the goodness felt alien, like it belonged to an earwig or something! The weird thing is in rare moments I feel like I’m someone else entirely and that someone else isn’t nice at all. One day, I experienced this intense moment of evil flooding my poor furry body, it only lasted a second but it shook me up real bad. I’m still trying to recover, my fur is all matted and ruffled.  Shadow shivers…

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Oh, my goodness that sounds horrible!Perhaps we better change the subject. Could you tell me why you’re called Shadow?

That is a very perceptive question. Shadow twitches his whiskers while considering it. I think it’s because I arrived in the Scott’s house when something good happened that revealed something bad. I represent yin, (shady side,) and yang, (the sunny side,) light and dark, but I am more yang – of sunny disposition – than ying. My tiny moments of ying disturb me…

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That’s deep…

Yes, life can be full of perplexities and this story is a fine example of that. I prefer the simple things in life… exploring, enjoying the sunshine, lying on the grass, hanging out in my garden, chilling, eating, playing, cuddling, purring, and looking adorable!

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What is it like living in the Scott’s household?

Challengingggggg! They are such a strange family. The dad is half dead; the mum is stroppy and Amelina has this sister called Esme whose not a sister but behaves like one. Esme always seems to be up and down in her emotions. Her ying and yang are out of control.  She is one confused girl and behaves like a prisoner to her own reflection. I listen to them nattering on… They all have a tragic story and mum, dad and Esme inadvertently tell me their individual stories. More about that in the book…. no spoilers! I know all of their secrets. I’m a snoop! Oh, and I nearly forgot to say Amelina has an aunt Karissa who owns a dog… UGH… a critter called Toby – most unfortunate. The bloody thing comes to stay, breaks things, eats all the time and causes havoc. The aunt drinks, tea, and alcohol too, and eats a lot, mainly chocolate unless she’s dieting. She’s always losing her glasses. Toby and her are quite a pairing!

My goodness sounds like you have to put up with a lot. Getting back to the stories – they sound shocking. Did one confession shock you more than the rest?

The dad’s and Esme’s are the worst. The dad because something has happened to him that is out of his control, (and seems to have impacted upon the whole family,) and I relate to that (after my weird overload of goodness episode,) and Esme because she self harms or did.

Self harm… that and other mental illnesses like anxiety, and depression, are a rising problem in our young people. What’s your opinion about it?

Kids nowadays have a lot of problems and it’s not their fault. I sympathise, I really do. The word pressure sums it up. Pressure to succeed, pressure to look good, (on Instagram, and other social media,) pressure to be thin, pressure to be popular, pressure to have the best-looking boyfriend/girlfriend, pressure to have money, pressure to get to the best Universities… the list just goes on and on.

There’s bullying too, and it isn’t just face to face like it used to be now its via social media too. It’s like there’s no escaping meanness, and rudeness. It’s so immediate, one little tweet, or nasty message via an Instagram shot can go to masses of your ‘friends’ in a mere second. So it’s not surprising that our young people often have mental health issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, depression and self-harm. In the worst case scenario some resort to suicide and that makes me so sad. No one should ever feel that way, there is always help out there. Talk to your mum, dad, a close friend you can trust, a sibling, a counsellor, an aunt, anyone who loves you. Just don’t bottle it up that’s the worst thing you can do.

I’d recommend this excellent site if you are experiencing mental health issues: https://www.betterhelp.com/start/

All youngsters should  own cats, Meowwww, cats are good for you. We have superpowers. Truly, we lower your heart rate, boost your immunity, help you relax – we release a calming chemical called oxytocin into your body, and that helps induce love and trust and make you smile. We increase your sociability, yes having  cats makes you more sociable, and stops you feeling lonely. Purrrrr. We have a stack load of medical health benefits too: we reduce the risk of heart disease, and heart attacks. We lower your triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Hey, we even reduce your chances of having a stroke. See we cats are superheros! Oh, and top of all that we reduce the carbon footprint, not like doggies like Toby who eat a ton. We eat small morsels, fish, and catch our own prey.

Shadow picks up his paw and licks it.

If you don’t believe me it’s all here: http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-health-benefits-owning-cat/

Is there anyone in Amelina’s life who has an eating disorder?

Yes, there’s this girl called Emily, who struggles with her desire to be thin, and to be loved. I don’t have that problem – I know that Amelina loves me. Also, I take a lot of exercise to keep fit and trim.  But, I have a huge heart so I cry real cat tears when I think about poor Emily and others like her.

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Does Amelina have a lot of friends?

No, not loads, she’s smart that way, she knows it’s not the number of friends but the quality of friends. Though, not all of them are to my liking… Except me, of course… (I’m her best friend.) She has three close human friends: Jade, Joselyn, and Ilaria. Jade is Amelina’s best human friend. She is arguably the prettiest but the most spoilt. She has this huge house, owns horses, and gets everything she wants. Joselyn is the worrier, (this girl needs a cat!) and Ilaria is the joker, but I sense the jokes hide something deeper. My favourite is Ilaria because I like a laugh. The four of them play in a band and write their own music. It’s pretty cool.

What about guys, does she have a regular boyfriend?

There is nothing regular about Amelina! She stumbled upon this guy called Ryder down a scary river pathway. I tried to follow her, but she shooed me away. The guy’s dangerous I don’t know why I know but I do. He has too much ying in his soul. I don’t trust him. He dresses all in black and has one green eye and one black. But sometimes that green eye looks red to me, like it is bleeding. Creepyyyyyyy. But, Amelina thinks he saved her, from what I can’t imagine, some prank probably.

Is there anyone else you’ve met through Amelina that has left a lasting impression on you?

Oh, yes, Kyle. Love him, he is Ryder’s best friend. He’s so snuggly and nice, I love to sit on his lap and purrrrr. Ohhh….

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If you could sum your owner Amelina in words what would you say?

She’s poetic, artistic, musical, kind-hearted, magical and brave but makes mistakes. She is a flawed human, poor thing! Miaowwww. 

Thank you so much Shadow for coming on to my blog today and telling us all about my forthcoming new book, The Curse of Time: The Bloodstone. I really appreciate it. 

It is my pleasure my dear. Any time…  Oh, before I go can I be cheeky and ask one question?

Yes of course you can Shadow.

It’s about Lily who models for me, can you set me up with a date? She looks real cute!

Of course I can Shadow, will do! I chuckle… imagine a date between yourself, (Shadow,) a fictional cat and a non-fictional cat, (Lily,) it could only happen in a writer’s life. Next time, (as long as Lily is willing,) we’ll have the date on Kyrosmagica… and she can tell us all about herself!

Shadow purrs a rich note of contentment in reply. 

All above photos of Lily (our black cat model,) courtesy of my lovely blogging friend Samantha Murdoch – photography credit her son Alex Marlowe.

Please visit Samantha’s blog to see her lovely cats and stunning crystals: https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com.

Samantha has recently started an Instagram account so please do click the link to see her lovely cats, (they are all supermodels,) and her crystals : Samantha’s IG account

She also twitters on here: Sam Crystal Cats – Twitter

 

Bye for now,

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#SoCS: Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Break/Brake

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Today I’m joining in a new link up for me – Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. In her words: ‘Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “brake/break.” Use one, use them both, but whatever you do, enjoy!’ Here’s the link to join in: Linda Hill

Ritu from But I Smile Anyway and I were having a blogging chat about our kids exam nerves so that got me thinking that I’d like to write a post and a poem about that…The prompt words sounded pretty relevant to how I’m feeling at the moment. My youngest is going through her GCSE’s and this is such a trying time for her (and me!) as she suffers from exam anxiety. This dates back to her doing her SAT’s. She works so hard, and often I have to tell her to have a break! Well the upshot of this is she is well and truly exhausted and been pretty ill this morning at 6 am. So she needs to press on the brake a bit, slow down, focus less on the exam emotions regarding the exam she has just sat, and concentrate on getting ready and rested for the next one.

So with her in mind and all students taking exams at the moment here is a little GOOD LUCK poem with a crazy touch of humour to cheer you all up:

 

The Poor Invigilator Needs A Defibrilator

 

Factor in a break, a well-earned rest,

Press that brake pedal,

Breathe….. It helps to..

Fill your lungs as you count,

Whatever you do don’t vomit it out!

 

Can you imagine the mess you’d make?

The half-filled exam paper covered in puke,

Poor invigilator’s face turning stony,

Pulse weak, he’s having a bald-headed fit,

‘At least no one’s died,’ whispers some bright git.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Don’t rip the exam paper to shreds,

Heads turning as you run out for meds.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Don’t turn as white as a sheet,

Tip over your chair, and fall at the invigi’s feet.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Don’t pick that juicy zit,

Splattering blood all over your exam script.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Whatever you do don’t run out the door.

The poor invigilator might need a defibrillator.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Pray for the invigilator!! It’s time to believe,

Breathe, Break, Brake, Blast that paper….ACHIEVE!

 

Show those teachers at school,

Your mum and your dad,

That pesky invigilator,

Your kitty, your dog, the stuffed bear,

Those wonky exam tables and chairs.

 

Show ‘em a thing or two…

Shuffle those D’s to C’s, C’s to B’s,

B’s to A’s A’s to A* s, shuffle them all.

The good and the bad and the ugly too!

Breathe, break, brake… you can do it! ATISHOO!!

 

© Marjorie Mallon 2016 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

 

GOOD LUCK in your exams.

Do feel free to comment in the link below. Do you suffer with exam anxiety? If you do are there any things you find helpful to cope? I’d love to hear your tips..

 

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

 

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Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge #54 Free and Think

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RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #54 Free&Think

This week’s prompt words for Ron’s Weekly Haiku Challenge are Free and Think.

Here’s the link to Ronovan’s blog to join in the challenge: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/ronovanwrites-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-54-free-think/

Both of my Haiku this week are more serious in nature, this is a bit unusual for me but somehow the prompt words seemed to lead me down a more thoughtful path. Of the two Haiku the second one is more light-hearted.

The following Haiku are especially for anyone who is or has ever experienced the overpowering symptoms of anxiety. This is much more common than you would ever believe possible, it seems that this fast paced world that we now live in is the perfect breeding grown for anxiety symptoms.

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Anxiety

Free my racing pulse

No thought but relentless fear

Anxiety bites

 

My second Haiku is inspired by AAT, whatever could that be?

Read all about it after this haiku, a much needed hug for all sufferers getting through another day, living with the crippling effects of anxiety.

 

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Pet Hugs

Cruel thought assailant

Anxiety wires your brain

Pet hugs free event

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© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

Words good or bad, are my very own!

At my daughter’s University, they had this special event, dogs where brought into  campus for students to help counter stress relief. A hug a dog day or something like that! The official term is Animal Assisted Therapy or AAT for short. Which also happens to be the abbreviation for Accounting technicians, I know which of the two I prefer!

What a great idea, not the accounting I hasten to add. I’d rather hug a cat or dog than add up a row of figures any day of the week, and I should know I used to be a book-keeper many years ago!

Here’s a link to find out more about Animal Assisted Therapy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal-assisted_therapy

Let’s not go without mentioning a new development regarding our cat friends, CAT CAFE’S!

I’ve just found out there’s one in Edinburgh, which I must go and visit.

It’s called Maison de Moggy and it’s in Stockbridge: http://catcafes.co.uk/uk-cat-cafes/maison-de-moggy/

I’m planning to go up in August, but the trip will be a stressful one as my mum is going into hospital for an operation. She loves cats so maybe when she’s feeling up to it, I’ll take her for a bit of R & R to the cat café.

For more cat cafés in the UK and abroad visit: http://catcafes.co.uk/

There’s a shed load of benefits attributed to owning a cat or a dog. Here’s the ones that spring readily to mind: great for reducing your blood pressure, making you more active (taking your dog for a walk,) widening your social network with other dog/cat owners, staving of loneliness, and reducing stress!

No wonder so many writers have a dog or a cat. I’m missing out…… My pet free way of unwinding is going to Tai Chi or doing a bit of Yoga, and having a bubble bath and a glass of wine does wonders for me too….

So whether it’s hugging a human friend or a dog or cat, it’s all so very good for you.

Check out Val Boyko’s wonderful blog which is full of tips to nourish and restore you: http://findyourmiddleground.com/2015/06/22/stressed-quick-tips-to-nourish-and-restore/

 

 

Please do comment, I love to hear from you. Have you a dog or a cat? Or an unusual pet? Have you any tips about reducing stress?

 

 

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

My Kyrosmagica Review of FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Review:

Well, somehow I’ve ended up writing a mega long review so stick with me, I hope you find it interesting and I’m not just wittering on. Why the long review? Rainbow Rowell is an awesome writer that’s why, so here goes:

For me Fan Girl really took off at the point when Levi kisses Cath. Why? Well because those kisses are just so delicious: And nobody had ever kissed Cath like this before. Only Abel had kissed her before, and that was like getting pushed squarely on the mouth and pushing back. 177

Levi’s kisses were all taking. Like he was drawing something out of her with soft little jabs of his chin.

Aren’t these great?  Don’t these kisses just want to make you smile?

What about characters?

Rainbow Rowell has this wonderful knack of creating great, believable characters, take Cath’s room mate Reagen:

Cath looked at Reagen. Even without her makeup and hair, the girl was terrifying. There was just no fear in her. No hesitation. Talking to Reagen was like standing in front of an oncoming train. 183

In just a few words Reagen is summed up to a tee. Classic. Whether her characters are male or female Rainbow Rowell manages to get them spot on, she doesn’t use complexities, she just goes about it in a simple but perfect way.

Levi makes everything look easy, even the act of standing up: You didn’t realize how much work everyone else put into holding themselves upright until you saw Levi leaning against a wall. He looked like he was leaning on something even when he wasn’t. He made standing look like vertical lying down. 187

Or Levi Smiling: : ” She (Cath) hated the way he passed out smiles to everyone he met like it didn’t cost him anything, like he’d never run out. He made everything look so easy….”187

Even if he’s kissing girls that he shouldn’t he still makes it looks easy, the devil! : “He made it looks so easy.”  192.

I liked how we see how potent a kiss can be!  Oh………

When Levi tells her it was not just a kiss: “Inside, her internal organs were grinding themselves into nervous pulp. Her intestines were gone. Her kidneys were disintegrating. Her stomach was wringing itself out, yanking on her trachea. “267

And how nice it is to make up:

She heard the beginning of a smile in his voice – a fetal smile – and it very nearly killed her. 268.

I loved the little touches of humour that Rainbow Rowell uses too:

She motioned for Cath to sit down, so Cath did. (Apparently, Professoe Piper could control Cath with simple hand gestures. Like the Dog whisperer. 260

If Levi were a dog, he’d be a golden retriever. If he were a game, he’d be Ping-Pong, incessant and bouncing and light. 308

When Levi sees Cath’s room at her dads: Levi says “No seriously. I feel like this room should be preserved so that people of the future know what it was like to be a teenage girl in the twenty-first century.” 321

This one’s a bit of a *****Spoiler***** so look away if you’d like:

After Reagen finds Cath and Levi asleep on the bed together. Cath talks to Reagon voicing her fears that going out with Levi “would be like interspecies dating.” He’s older. He smokes. And he drinks. And he’s probably had sex. I mean, he looks like he has.”183

What else did I like about Fan Girl?

Cath obviously, she’s such a great character. Well I liked the idea that not everyone is super confident, some of us are the exact opposite. Levi is the opposite of Cath. Levi is relaxed, more sure of himself whereas Cath is a bundle of uncertainty, and socialising and parties aren’t exactly an easy option for her. She’s happiest when she’s writing flash fiction, when she’s chatting to her fans on-line, rather than in person. I kind of relate to this! Sometimes on-line you can be somebody else, you can be this super confident person whereas in real life you might not measure up to your on-line persona! Huh, now you know the real me!

Cath’s twin Wren might be super confident but Cath isn’t. Rainbow Rowell tackles the issue of anxiety so well. It is such an important topic so many people are suffering with or have suffered from anxiety issues in the past.

I just love the following line in the book:

Cath talking to Reagen, “you’re not scared of anything. I’m scared of everything And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg.” 184

The other refreshing thing about Fan Girl is Levi’s looks, he’s not your typical male model, but nevertheless Cath finds him so sexy!

Levi’s not exactly a male model in fact Cath’s ex Abel is better looking:  Levi was thin and weedy, and his hair – well, his hair – but everything about him made Cath feel loose and immoral. 302

“Levi’s eyebrows were pornographic.” 302

Parents huh, they ain’t all perfect

Not every parent is there for you one hundred percent, some sadly are downright lacking, or stressed, or have all sorts of issues themselves. I’m so glad that Rainbow tackled this parent problem in both Cath’s dad (who is a sympathetic character – no more on that don’t want to spoil the book for you) and Cath’s mum (who is not an appealing character – not to me anyway!) :

Cath’s mum, Laura, bails as soon as she can when Cath’s twin Wren is brought into the hospital for overdrinking.

And then she walked away. Shoulders back, hips swaying. 339.

“I don’t belong here,” she said again. “I won’t intrude like this.” 339

What about the Simon Snow Fan Writing etc

It was ambitious to include these in and amongst the story, some within the chapters themselves and also at the end of chapters. There was a risk that these would possibly distract but on the whole Rainbow Rowell did a great job, and these served a purpose, incorporating these into the story gave you a picture of Cath’s obsession,  how she found it so much easier to be at ease with Levi, to relax, if she was reading her Simon Snow fan fic to him. Though, I have to admit I went back over and read them again after I’d finished reading the book taking them in greater detail a second time. So there’s a tip for you unless your brain cells are more fired up than mine which is more than likely I guess, I’m getting a bit more older in the tooth!

So would I recommend Fangirl? I reckon by now you’ll know the answer to that!

Yes, absolutely. Highly recommended, for readers of YA, Contemporary, Teen, Romance Fiction, Mental Health.

My rating:

4.5 stars.

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****Spoiler below, so look away if you need to! ****:

Fangirl’s last entry is the story Cath wrote as winner of the underclassmen prize. She wrote it even though it looked as if she wouldn’t. Levi’s encouragement spurred her on.  It’s an analogy of playing hard and seek with her sister, with the final line “Here I come, ready or not.” So in the end Fangirl has a positive message the geeky girl finally finds her confidence. Go girl!

Thanks for coming by and reading my review, really appreciate it. Please comment, I’d love to hear your opinions too,

Bye for now!

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica x

Hope – A Story in Words and Photography

 

This week I am taking part in Jamie’s Week 17 Photo Challenge: Hope

Here’s the link to her blog: https://bluedaisyz.wordpress.com/

I found out about the weekly photo challenge via Melissa’s lovely blog The Aran Artisan: http://thearanartisan.com/

 

 

 

The photos are all taken by me in my local Country park which is looking particularly lovely at the moment, hope you enjoy them. Here’s the entrance that I use quite often, and below the photo is the beginning of my little story HOPE, inspired by these thought provoking images.

 

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The open gateway a welcome or a mockery? https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com

 

HOPE

The open gateway beckons like a warm welcome yet it sits in dappled shadows as if mocking me. My troubled thoughts are silent, yet the voice of my heart pounds, a flurry of quiet spasms grips my chest, tightening with each breath that I take. The lunchtime joggers run past, hard and fast, unaware that my breathing is competing with the pace of their laboured breaths in an unacknowledged contest.

 

 

I reach the first tiny viewing platform. The fluffy clouds float by on a gentle breeze as if trying to reassure me, doing their best to alleviate my earlier anxiety. The reflection of their inverted shapes slip into the water, a childlike candy floss creation, of delicate hope lifting my rising fear.

 

 

 

Then as I progress further, a darkened branch lays in wait for the unsuspecting visitor, threatening the tranquil scene. It claws reach out, a trap ready to close around its poor, unfortunate, next victim. It refuses to touch the man-made lake, nor does it rest, or disturb the seamless surface of the water. It is as if the trap-like branch is independent of any control.

 

 

 

The fluffy clouds now look like iceberg reflections, but even this does not seem likely, as lush green pond vegetation escape the water’s surface near them, promising a possibility, the likelihood of fresh hope. To my left I see a fragile, flowering branch.

 

 

 

I turn a corner and the cloud all but disappears, the sky so blue, and the scene so tranquil that I gasp in surprise.

 

 

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I walk on by and find that I had been too hasty, I have been tricked, the clouds refuse to let me go. The dark approaching shadow clings to the right of my viewpoint, joining in with the clouds refusal, a reminder that all has not yet been spoken.

 

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It stretches its shadowy fingers into my pathway creating a dappled carpet to guide me but I stand back, hesitating.

 

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Clouds like frightened suggestions https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com

 

The clouds begin to spill into the water once again, their substance lost in their liquid home, they disperse like frightened suggestions. I stare at my phone as if it is an enemy. For a moment I am tempted to drop the phone into the water, to let it sink, so I do not have to confront this moment, but instead I clutch the phone to me and continue on my way.

 

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The sensory garden’s blue handkerchief. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com

 

 

I catch the sweet smell of flowers drifting from the sensory garden.  Their aroma is light, almost imperceptible. Snatches of blue sky peek out amongst the blooms, like stolen handkerchiefs, waving, waiting for a conclusion. I continue to the Visitor’s centre, a haven full of thirsty, hungry strangers, unconcerned, and unaware, of my rising anxiety.

 

 

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the noughts and crosses of uncertain shadows https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com

 

The stairs leading up to the viewing point are marred with the noughts and crosses of uncertain shadows, but no matter they are only playing a game to confuse me.

 

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The pink and white clouds of hope https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com

Then and only then do I become aware of the full view of the lake. It comes to greet me with a panorama of endless hope. Its pink and white fluffy clouds smile, reassuring me that I am not to worry, all will be well. At last, I have the courage to type in the number. It rings, and rings, and then at last my mother answers. She is not expecting me to ring right now. She tells me about her hospital appointment, “Yes, it is not the worst news, but it is not the best, I will need an operation, but thankfully my bloods do not suggest cancer.” The relief floods through me, like a thunderous waterfall, tempered by my disquiet at the word, surgery. I relax a little as I hear her next words. “The doctor asked me if I would mind having students present at the operation.”  I hear a faint smile in her voice as she says, “How was I to mind when I wouldn’t even know they are there?”

Bye for now!
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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica.
Words and photos, good or bad, are my very own!

My Kyrosmagica Review of It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

Author Biography:

Vizzini grew up primarily in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. He attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, graduating in 1999. While still a teenager, he began to write articles for the New York Press, an alternative newspaper.

After he wrote an essay that got published by the New York Times Magazine, several of his essays about his young adult life ended up being combined into his first book, Teen Angst? Naaah…. Vizzini attended Hunter College, also located in Manhattan. Ned Vizzini lived in New York City. Vizzini’s characters and situations are said be based upon his time spent at Stuyvesant.

Sadly Ned Vizzini Died December 19, 2013.

My review:

I wasn’t sure about beginning It’s Kind Of A Funny Story particularly in light of Ned Vizzini’s suicide aged 32. It seems to me that comics, writers, poets, and creative individuals have a dark side to them which is often masked by a humorous persona. Obviously  the unexpected suicide of Robin Williams, on 11th August, instantly comes to mind, the funny relatable guy, that had us all in stitches. In light of this I wondered how I would respond to reading Ned Vizzini’s novel about a young, teenage boy on the brink of suicide. The title suggested that it would be a light-hearted read. Well only a person who had experienced depression first hand could have written a book that tackled the subject so well, managing to make it a true reflection on the awful tragedy of depression and mental illness, and the stigma that comes hand in hand. There were times when the sheer humanity of life made me laugh, particularly when Craig makes the decision to check himself into hospital and found himself admitted to an adult mental health ward. Ned Vizzini achieves this by making his characters so believable, and engaging. To begin with Craig is freaked out but it doesn’t take long for all his “Cycling,” his relentless thoughts, and his “Tentacles,” his pressures to fall away. The hospital routine is oddly therapeutic. He begins to relax, eat, make friends, starts to understands girls, and grows up. There is hope, and hope is a powerful word.  Sadly, even though there is this  glimmer of hope there is also a sense of Craig’s vulnerability, he could slip back , the depression is and always will be a part of him. Though, if he holds on to his “Anchors,” those things that keeps him steady, he might just be ok.

I loved the idea of Craig’s “Cycling,” “Tentacles” and his “Anchor,” you will have to read the book to find out what his Anchor  is. I don’t want to spoil it for you. But his “Anchor” is just so Craig. We all need an “Anchor!”

So, a wonderful book. The characters are great. The dialogue is spot on. Can’t really find anything to say but positive, positive. Everyone should read it. Every parent, so they don’t push their child into doing something that isn’t right for them.  Help, encourage and guide them but don’t pressurise them into doing something that is alien to them. If only every person suffering from anxiety, depression, and mental illness could find their “Anchors” the things that keep them happy, and hold on to them for dear life maybe then they will never have to slip away as Ned Vizzini did. That is the sad truth. So much talent wasted. This is my tribute to Ned Vizzini, sadly,  I only discovered his writing now.

My Rating:

A Whopping, Deserved 5 Stars.
Highly Recommended to Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health, Humour, Psychology, and Coming of Age Readers.
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If you are experiencing mental health issues I’d thoroughly recommend this site:
Have you read It’s Kind of A Funny Story? Do comment I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
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