Hello everyone! I wanted to share a guest post I did with one of my all-time favorite people Andrew @GroovyGlasses. He asked me some questions about my mental health experience. Check it out!

Hey guys, welcome back to “Groovy Glasses”! I could not be more excited about today, because today I have a very special post, with a very special guest. (Although to be perfectly honest, I feel like the guest here!) As you all know, the mental illness community is something I actively work to contribute to. […]

via Fireside Talks #1 Interviewing Tiana, The Book Raven — Groovy Glasses

The Temptation Not to do Anything at All

See I had a couple of different posts I wanted to or really could have written today, but I have not truly felt like getting myself to write any of them. In fact, all I feel right now is tired and all I want to do is watch I Zombie 🧟‍♀️ and relax until tomorrow comes. This is the temptation that follows me everywhere I go at all times. You don’t have to write anything today. You can do it tomorrow just blissfully think about nothing.

For a long time I thought this was normal. Wanting not to think about nothing. Not wanting to write not just out of fear, but something that feels akin to laziness. The truth is my brain isn’t the normal brain I thought I had. I have depression. I have always had depression and as far as I understand it I probably always will. How surreal is this?

The thing is this is the one thing that I have been afraid to share. It’s so new to me (well the idea that I have depression is) and I can’t help but feel odd about it. A few weeks ago I was sitting at my kitchen table eating breakfast. I was feeling kind of dejected and to be honest I wasn’t really think of anything at all. My sister told me out of the blue “Tiana I think you have depression.” When the word hit me tears came immediately to my eyes and I hated that I was crying. “You know I said, I want to deny it and I want to say I don’t have depression, but I am already crying.”

I felt like I was a mind in another body. I had always had an interest in mental illness and my short time of hosting a mental health book club reading ya books that talk about mental illness are a test to that. The one thing I kept mentioning in those posts however was that I didn’t have a mental illness. It felt odd to me to actually come to realize that I did.

Ever since I was a little girl I was a crier and yeah I knew at times I was depressed, but I always attributed everything to the things that were happening to me. Moving away, getting yelled at constantly by my grandmother, going through her emotional abuse, losing my one true home, going into financial trouble. With all these things of course I cried.

But when I was crying it wasn’t just about the things that were happening. It was a self-pity and a almost hatred for myself that I could taste. I was always not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough. The things that I still tell myself. I denied myself friendships. Through myself into reading and YouTube. And yet still there were times I would go in a rage crying. Sometimes I cry for no reason at all and that’s the worst. I cry and then I get angry at myself for crying and especially in my teens till now it was because I said something wrong to my mom or my sister. During these episodes the one thing that sticks with me is the hollow emptiness in my chest. The hopelessness mixed with pain and sorrow and my mind telling me that I will never be any better of a person then my grandmother was.

But the worst part is, I thought the bitter self awareness and self pity was somehow normal. I thought that my brain was working fine. I thought that in my situation of course I was crying every single night when I was in my first three years of high school. I thought I was normal because I could still laugh, because I was always so engaged in learning and because I have a love for dancing and getting lost in music. I thought it was normal because I was so good at hiding it in plane sight. I knew I was sad, but I also knew that it never stopped me from being happy. It’s when I’m alone or when I say something I thought was ok, but really wasn’t, when I do something wrong and should of known better is when I start my thought spirals. Something as simple as my sister gettin mad at me for not wanting to do the dishes has set it off before.

So when I say that I have the temptation not to do anything at all living inside me I mean that in a sad sense of apathy. It’s so easy for me to be mindless because not only does it chase the dejected thoughts away, but because I get exhausted when I put too much energy into something. Not too long ago I had to stop the habit of sleeping for 10-12 hours every night. In sleep is oblivion no thought no over analyzing and getting angry at myself for not doing things right.

I have depression and I think I have finally truly accepted it.

Suddenly, I am afraid of posting this, but I’m going to anyway. I wrote this because it’s finally stop hiding. Especially hiding from myself. I have spent so long in the dark thinking that there was nothing wrong with me at all. I had thought this way for so long with an almost sadistic thought process towards myself that I had an identity crisis when I was first coming to terms with depression. Because I wanted to know who I would be without it and I ached for a girl who was free of these kinds of thoughts with all of my heart. All I know is that this knowledge gives me something to step forward into the future and that is all I want.

Thanks for reading! Usually I put a I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below, but now I’m at a loss for words. It feels wrong to put something so happy in a post like this but I guess I’ll do it anyway.

Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! I look forward to hearing from you. (Actually I’m kinda terrified but curious about what you have to say)

-Till next time!

Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks: Discussion

I decided to do a discussion of Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks instead of a review because of the contiversial nature of this book. 


The Synopsis

Alice

COULD BE ANYONE. 

Alice

COULD BE SOMEONE YOU KNOW. 

Alice

USES DRUGS. 

With over a million copies in print, Go Ask Alice has become a classic of our time. This powerful real-life diary of a teenager’s struggle with the seductive — often fatal — world of drugs and addiction tells the truth about drugs in strong and authentic voice. Tough and uncompromising, honest and disturbing — and even more poignant today — Go Ask Alice is page-turning and provocative reading.

This fiction piece is controversial not only for the subject it deals with, but also because for years it has been advertised as a real diary when in actuality it was written soely by a woman named Beatrice Sparks in 1971. The book was also banned at many schools shortly after it was published all the way into the early 2000s for its content. 

When I first heard that Go Ask Alice was not actually a real diary I was angry and disappointed. I had such high hopes for this book to be a great insight into the mind of a teenager as she experiences various drugs until eventually everything sprirals out of control, but what I got was a woman’s interpretation of what a teenagers mind would be like going through the stages of addiction. Which would have been fine if I would have known from the beginning that it was not actually a true account. 

I have always loved to read novels that educate others about metal illness and addiction. I have read many fiction novels about these type of topics because they have always been intriguing for me, but at the end of the day I always knew that it was a story backed up by research and that never bothered me. In fact, those are some of my favorite novels to read. 

Go Ask Alice was hard for me to continue to read after obtaining the knowledge of its inauthenticity. So, I took a short break from it, cleared my head, and changed my mindset before I continued on. 

In the end I came up with these reasons to continue on reading: 

  • The 1970’s was a time where drugs were severely feared. This book was written to warn teens of the dangers of drugs and I wanted to continue to read to discover more about the mindset of the 1970’s. 
  • While I was upset about the turn of events I was also incredibly curious to see how the story would turn out. 
  • Alice was a character that I may not have particularly like, but the drama of her life intrigued me. The way she bounced back and forth between saying that while she was on drugs the experience was beautiful and being disgusted with herself for wanting them drew me in. 
  • I had read many reviews on Goodreads that say how terrible the book is and I wanted to formulate an opinion on my own, keeping in mind both sides. I wanted to read the book for its merits. 
  • This book is simply an interesting read and I wanted to finish it. 

The Actual Content

It was interesting to read a book in the form of diary entries, but in some ways it gives off a distant feeling from the characters and plot. I grew to like some characters and I to dislike other characters, but a lot of things felt a little bit easier for me to stomach, because the diary entry is the aftermath and not ‘in the action’. Plus, it also lacked suspense, because she only seemed to write when something she believed to be interesting was happening. There is also a lot of gaps in the days so it feels like your getting a snipet of who a person is and not the whole. 

Alice as a character felt like she wanted to do some good, but she was a victim of circumstance. However, after her accidental first dose of drugs it felt like she was dazzled by them and as she continued to use it slowly warped her brain just ever so slightly. 

There was a lot of back and forth between her using and not using. Between thinking drugs were the most beautiful thing in the world and being the most terrible. This internal struggle is the heart of what this book is about. As well as showing the reader on of the worst case examples of what could happen if you try drugs and get into the wrong crowd of friends. 

There was also the fear factor and feeling of hopelessness you get when you realize no matter how much she wants to she can never quite leave the drug world no matter how much she may want to. That her addicted ‘friends’ would mistreat her so terribly for leaving. 

What I didn’t like was that there was no getting better, but maybe that’s what makes this story more ‘true’. Sometimes, for many people, there is no getting better and that’s the sucky, unfair, unjust, and downright depressing part of life, but I am not one to be cool with feeling this negatively about things so I leave you with the following note. 

If your reading this be good to those you love. Be good to those you don’t. Spread some joy. Smile often and live happily, because life is what you make of it and if you want it to be good you can make it so. Don’t worry about things too much, because years from now you will wonder why you were worried at all. 

Spread some love! Stay wonderful!
Let me know what you think. Have you read this book? If you did, what were your thoughts on it? 

Thank you for reading!

-Till next time!


A Tragic Kind of Wonderful: Arc Review 

I was lucky enough to win the arc of this book in a giveaway this month. Once I recieved it I devoured it in just a few days. This book is its title “A Tragic Kind of Wonderful”

In the vein of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.

For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.
As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?
In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are

Before I even went into the book I was taken by the cover and how much it fits. The glittering mania paired with the sinking blue of depression. A wonderful pairing that perfectly encaptures what this novel is like. 

I fell in love with the characters of this book. I found myself encaptured as much by the minor characters as the main one. Hurricane Joan, an aunt to Mel Hannigan, adds a controlled sort of chaos to the story that makes me smile. Mr. Terrance Knight, an older man who won’t sing unless Mel sings with him. (Mel is a horrible singer) Even Conner, a boy who tends not to make eye contact with anyone. Each character adds their own flavor to the story that makes it feel so tangible and real. 

I love the good moments, the scary moments, the joyous moments, and the sad moments. I love how everything flows into everything else and how warm this book made me feel. 

In the strangest of ways, I truly identified with Mel. Her thoughts as she went through all she went through felt like my own. Her struggles felt like my struggles. What made her smile made me smile. I had never felt so close to a character before. 

This book is so important. Important because it takes bipolar disorder and humanizes it. Makes it real. Makes it understandable. That’s one of the biggest things I love about this story. 

I also love how this book was written chapter by chapter to encompass Mel’s moods: her mixed feelings, ups, and crashes. It was so intriguing to see how she handled different situations differently because of her various cycles. It made me think of how I often am the same…

This book comes out January 17th. Be sure to check it out!

-Till next time!

The Weight of Zero: Review 

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, almost triumphed once; that was her first suicide attempt. 

Being bipolar is forever. It never goes away. The med du jour might work right now, but Zero will be back for her. It’s only a matter of time.

And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list. 

The bucket list, the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment all begin to lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. The problem is, her plan is already in place, and has been for so long that she might not be able to see a future beyond it. 

This is a story of loss and grief and hope, and how some of the many shapes of love—maternal, romantic, and platonic—affect a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and the stigma of treatment.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars! 

From the very first words of this novel I was entranced. The writting was absolutely beautiful and uniquely honest throughout. 

There were so many times when Catherine’s thoughts broke my heart. I wanted so much for her to feel good about herself. Every time she had a moment of happiness it was clouded by her impending plan of suicide. The amount of guilt she felt for things that were not her fault made me want to give her a hug and just speak to her. I wanted to tell Cathrine that everything would be aliright. That her illness would not hinder her from having a wonderful life in the future. 

With every moment of hope there was a thought of darkness tainting the moment, yet, it felt so true to her illness. The stark reality of her disorder being chronic and the talk of zero breathing down her neck telling her that she will never be good enough felt so true to life and so very tragic. Yet this book was so hopeful. It focused on real friendships with real people that felt so authentically formed that I felt I was right there with the characters.  

This novel made me smile and it also broke my heart, but it made me want to go out and be kind, to do good, to act. I don’t remember the last time a novel had inspired me as much as this one has, and the best part was after I finished and read the authors note I felt a true kinship with the author. 

There was a part where Karen writes about ordering a pair of silver snowflake earrings the same as the ones she uses in the novel. She had lost them in her house shortly after, but didn’t oreder new ones because she believed that their reappearance was linked to the publishing of this novel. Two months later she had found them again and within 20 minute she recieved an email on her phone from an agent telling her that she would love to represent her and her story. 

It felt so right to me that this story had a sort of fate to be published. Especially with the weird circumstance in which this book happened to come into my own life. 

This novel was one born out of love and hope and the result is absolutely brilliant. I will be holding this novel close to my heart for years to come. 

-Till Next Time!