Mental Illness: The Full Time Job

I contemplated writing this for a long time. Not because I am ashamed,no none of that, but because I didn’t want to sound ungrateful or whiney. My anxiety told me an excessive amount of times that this might not be a bright idea. Clearly though, I am not the only one who struggles with mental illness, and I figured if my words can help one person, then that’s good enough for me.

davide-ragusa-349106

 

The Struggle is All Too Real

I struggled a really long time without medication. I listened to a lot of people who assumed a little bit of yoga and a good night’s sleep would get me on the road to recovery. All the lavender/chamomile tea in the fucking world couldn’t calm me down. I was stuck in this cycle where I panicked, I didn’t sleep, I snapped at everyone the next day, drank coffee to stay awake, went home, and hit reset on the WORST video game in the world: MY MIND. It was awful. Ever had a panic attack and cried in the middle of the street? It’s not a good time.

Anxiety also has this friend, Depression, and he can sense your brain’s vulnerability from 1,000 miles away. A super villain worse than Voldemort, and let’s face it, that guy is a DICK. When depression would hit me, the only place I wanted to be was in my bed with the blinds completely shut, and just let myself dissolve into pure darkness. I am not saying that to sound artsy, it’s the complete truth. There were many days where my boyfriend would come home to a completely dark apartment, and I would be sobbing in bed. Simple tasks like taking out the trash or taking the laundry downstairs to dry would feel like grand journeys. I would say “I don’t want to run into any neighbors.” The idea of seeing or having to speak to people terrified me. It was quite isolating and while I knew that, it didn’t do anything to get rid of that fear inside. 

ivan-karasev-46115

Gotta Get to Work

So you’re probably wondering how in the hell did I make money? For a long while I worked as a freelance writer. I worked from home, so I could schedule my tasks around my panic or my really shitty days. It was when I lost this opportunity that I hit rock bottom. I could no longer function properly. I cried and panicked practically everywhere I went. I had an extremely hard time dealing with simple tasks. I can’t really explain it. My brain just felt jumbled. You know when you put your headphones neatly into your bag, but the minute you go grab them they’re a tangled mess? That was my brain. I’d go to make breakfast and I would crumble. I would try to grasp onto any rational thought, but my brain was busy trying to untangle itself.

I finally went to the doctor. I have been on medication for almost a year now. Have things gotten easier? Definitely. Am I magically cured? Absolutely not. I have bad days, the problem with those bad days is the fact that I now work full time, and not from home. That freedom I once had to hit pause and nap for a bit because my brain couldn’t take it anymore? That’s gone. Sure it’s easier now that I am treating it, but I have bad days, and I have some rough days. The rough days are incredibly difficult for me. When you’re in an office environment, you don’t want people to see you with makeup stained tears streaking down your face. The Alice Cooper look works for one person…Alice Cooper.

alicecooper.gif

 

I currently work with some of the kindest and most understanding people I have encountered. One boss in particular is really good at listening when I am basically panicking and in tears. At this point hiding it when I feel anxious would mean hiding away in the bathroom for long stretches of time, and I am not ashamed of my mental illness. It is what it is. I am not weak because of it. I am much stronger for it. Yea I have days where I am plagued with crippling self doubt. I want to do the best I can at work, but anxiety will constantly whisper that my best isn’t good enough. 

How Do I Handle It?

Honestly, I am still trying to figure that out. I come home some days really mentally drained. I can’t lie and say it’s easy for me because it certainly isn’t. I always have the thought in the back of my mind that maybe people just think I am being dramatic, and that I don’t feel all that bad. But when my chest begins to feel like it is caving in and I want to scream or cry, I know what I feel is valid. How I deal with it shouldn’t be questioned, and I think every work place should be trained and informed on how to handle those of us who struggle on a daily basis. Maybe handle is the wrong word, all most of us really want is for people to just understand that this isn’t really under our control. So that’s why I am open about my mental illness with my employer. Understanding goes a long way, and can ease some of that anxiety we feel.

When I get home I just try to wind down as best as I can. For me it can be a nice bath, a good book, or just snuggling and watching tv. But I haven’t gotten to a point just yet where I have a good balance. I know that, and I am working towards bettering that. I know I can be too hard on myself, and that can spark a really awful cycle for me.

So maybe I’ve cried at work, and maybe I’ve had a panic attack, but I am moving forward every single day. Life is precious, I am aware of that now, and I have to keep it going.

 

Advertisements
Posted in Coffee & Rant | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stalking Jack the Ripper – Book Review

StalkingJacktheRipper

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Review: When this book first came out there was A LOT of hype around it. Sometimes this makes me a little skeptical because I’ve had some bad experiences with overhyped books. Stalking Jack the Ripper just worked! It’s not perfection, but it was such a fun and entertaining read. It was extremely gruesome, bloody, and insane–everything you would expect from a story that features Jack the Ripper.

The writing was imaginative and taking bits of history to make this story made it that more interesting to read. It wasn’t a five star read for me because the big reveal wasn’t that big for me. I guessed it pretty much at the beginning of the book. I also found the main character a little dumb for someone who’s supposed to be quite intelligent she seemed bitterly clueless until the end.

Still, I loved the fact that she was going against the norm, and what of what was expected of her as a lady at that time. Mind, this takes place in 1800’s London. A lady of somewhat high birth shouldn’t be sneaking around learning about dead bodies, but she did it anyway. Her curiosity was contagious.

I think this is a well written fun YA novel, and if you’re looking for a somewhat creepy and thrilling read for the fall or halloween season, then this could very well be it.

I gave it 4 out of 5 metal horns!

ratefour

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warcross – Book Review

Warcross

This book was sent to me by the publisher for Review. This in no way had an impact on my opinion. 

Spoiler Free Review

Warcross by Marie Lu was a fun ride for me. I kept hearing a few people comparing it to Ready Player One, and honestly that almost turned me off from ever reading it, because * UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME* I found Ready Player One extremely obnoxious. THIS is better in my opinion in so many ways.

In Warcross you follow Emika Chen who isn’t exactly having the greatest time in life right now. Her rent is way past due, she’s a Bounty Hunter who tracks down illegal betting in the world and game called Warcross, but her luck seems to be running out with that as well. When she’s finally had enough and feels frustrated to the point of no return she takes a risk and hacks her way into the International Championship of Warcross, as she does so she actually glitches herself into the game. And away the adventure goes.

I loved this book. It was the first Marie Lu book I’ve read and now I want to read all of her books. It’s entertaining and gripping. Emika Chen is such a great and intelligent character. Other than the video game environment, I am not sure why this is being compared to other books, because Warcross can stand on its own. There’s twists and turns, and I read this book so quickly because I just absolutely needed to know what happens next.

I know this book is being really hyped up right now, but in my honest opinion, it is well deserving of it. It’s fun, it’s quick, and it has non-stop action. I took a star away because for me it was a little predictable towards the end, and the bits of love story I could have done without those, but that’s personal preference. I think many people will thoroughly enjoy those aspects.

I actually enjoyed this book so much I gave it away to someone else right after I finished reading it, I Felt it needed to go entertain someone else as much as it entertained me.

This book will be released September 12, 2017

I gave this four out of five metal horns!

ratefour

 

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sleepless Again – 24 Hour Readathon

phone-1052023_640

Everyone in the book community lately has been taking part in these really great read-a-thons. Whether they take a week, or the really crazy 24 hour ones, the book community has been thoroughly enjoying these. For me it’s been fun watching the vlogs and updates but I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in any of these lately. I am just looking out at all the kids playing and having fun.

window

Then I realized I can just have my own personal readathon! I mean why not? I’ve been a little stressed out lately and even got really damn sick there for two weeks, and I want a chunk of time where I can sit down and read without interruptions. Reading has always helped me stay calm, and I think something like this would be great for me. So that is exactly what I am going to do! I will be holding my very own 24 hour readathon.

But Joana, what does that even mean? Well hold onto your balls or your books I guess…

The Sleepless Again Readathon (name inspired by my fave band In Flames) will be starting Saturday August 5th at 10:00am and finishing on Sunday the 6th at 10:00am. In that 24 hour time period I will be reading as much as I possibly can.

coffeeWhat about sleep? Well sleep is optional. Depending how I feel I may sleep, or I may be a champ of irresponsibility and marathon the shit out of this. Plus that’s why I will be drinking tons of coffee. I know, I make healthy decisions, but why else was coffee invented?

 

Can I join the Sleepless Again 24 Hour Readathon?

Of course! The more the merrier I would say! Make sure to follow me on Twitter where I will be posting about my misadventures and possibly some reading sprints! This isn’t about reading as many books as possible, it’s about having a chunk of time for yourself to read something you’ve been meaning to read. Of course you can sleep in between, and just read as much as you can. Not everyone is a speed reader not everyone has a history of insomnia (raises hand) and can stay awake for 24 hours straight. This is about you and that book you’ve been eyeing on your shelf, it’s about relaxing and enjoying some peace of mind.

Also I live in Germany and will be starting it 10am my time, but you will just start it 10am your time. Don’t get up at 4am to start reading, I don’t think that will end well.

Things you might want to have around:

  • Obviously, the book(s) you plan to read
  • WATER!
  • Snacks
  • Coffee or Tea
  • WATER!
  • Comfortable pillow or blanket if it’s not too hot where you are.

NOTE: Make sure you eat and have plenty of water. DO NOT FORCE yourself to stay awake if you cannot handle it. I take no responsibility for your tiredness or headaches the next day. I know what my body can handle. Know what yours can handle too and don’t go beyond that.

Other than that I am really excited to be doing this for myself! Join me. Comment down below if you’d like to take part!!

read

 

 

 

Posted in Books | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

One More Light – RIP Chester Bennington

worried-girl-413690_640

It’s a strange feeling to hear that another musician has taken his own life. Stranger still because for my generation Linkin Park helped so many of us through so many rough patches in our own lives. Hearing about Chester Bennington’s death struck me quite hard. As a teen, the words he sang helped me so much. I was a quiet and awkward teenager. I didn’t quite stand out or fit in. I had my small group of trustworthy friends, but always felt like I was battling myself mentally to stay afloat. His voice and his words made me feel less alone, and isn’t that what we are all looking for?

“Because I can’t hold on when I’m stretched so thin
I make the right moves but I’m lost within”

As a teen these and so many other words comforted me. I don’t find it poetic that the musicians that seem to make us feel better, have a lot of demons within. The darkness in the words has to come from somewhere. It’s sad to think that while his band and his voice brought forth a light for all of us, that the same light couldn’t seem to find a place to shine within himself.

“I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there,
Become so tired, so much more aware.
I’m becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.”

I know the struggles with depression and anxiety well. Linkin Park and many other bands entered my life when I was beginning to show these signs. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I know these different bands not only helped me through, but they toughened me up. Granted many lyrics may seem dark, but they mirror so many feelings within. When you hear it, and sing along to it, you lose some of what’s weighing down your soul. I know I am not alone in this.

Sadly I haven’t been able to listen to Linkin Park since yesterday, and I haven’t been able to listen to anything by Chris Cornell since he passed away either. It’s hard. Those voices are silenced forever, and we all know they had so much left to give.

I know many people who are broken because of Chester taking his own life, and losing that battle he helped us fight, but we must stand strong and help one another. Use his music to keep moving. Life is precious and while it seems hard some days, we have to keep going. If you are having a hard time, please talk to someone. I know my readers are from all over the world so please find your country’s suicide hotline here: http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

You matter, you are loved, and you have so much to live for. We all hope that Chester found peace. He may have lost his battle, but you don’t have to. Talk to someone. Save yourself.

This was hard to write, and even harder to write down the correct words. I hope you can understand where I am coming from. I won’t go on the subject of people calling him coward or making jokes, because those people are scum, and don’t need any more attention.

RIP Chester Bennington.

 

Posted in Metal | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts I Had While Playing Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy

maxresdefault

When the first Crash Bandicoot game was released I was 10 years old. HEY! Wait don’t go googling how old I am!! Anyway, My older brother and I shared the PS1. Well I say shared but by that I mean he played it all the time, and I had to bug him into insanity to let me play. Crash Bandicoot was my game!! I loved it like I loved Super Mario and Donkey Kong Country which really coming from me is high praise. It was fun, and worthy of praise.

So when the news was released that they would be remastering the three Crash Bandicoot games I loved as a kid, my heart fluttered just like all the butterflies in my stomach. I was so excited. Excitement took over even on release day where I decided to run to Gamestop at my lunch break to exchange some crappy games I never play to get the N.Sane Trilogy. I couldn’t wait, because my inner child was just screaming “run like the wind and get the game” Which was good that I went at lunch time because I was also able to preorder a SNES CLASSIC MINI–a story for another time.

giphy2

I get home after work, mind you it’s a Friday so TGIF and all that shit. I put the game in…and here we go!! The intro starts and it shows old style crates and crash. Then they go through a little machine and BOOM remastered. A jumble of thoughts took over “look at my baby, he’s so cute. Is he cross eyed?! never noticed, doesn’t matter still a cutie! This is going to be fun! So easy but fun!”

First level. I am excited. So Iconic. Such nice graphics–because they really did a great job at cleaning up the game. Then we move along. The new graphics are throwing my perspective a little off. “OH THAT’S A GIANT HOLE, miscalculated that shit.” Continue on. “Haha rolling rocks, this is a piece of cake.” frustration begins to build. “Okay…slow and steady wins the race Joana.” SPLAT, Crash dies again. While slightly frustrated I still felt pretty happy, and still having fun. Then came the Native Fortress level.

mistake

Do any of you remember this level? Where you have wooden platforms you need to spin to climb upwards towards your goal? Then you need to jump on a single box mid air to make it up top, but one wrong move and SPLAT you’re at the bottom again, having to spin and jump on these evil fucking platforms. Then you think okay those are enough obstacles. NAH. Here’s some slippery algae, some totem poles with spikes, and bowls with fire that you have to bounce on to get to the other side, but you better time that properly or you will get a spike in your ass and a burn on your face while sliding down a disgusting version of a slip n slide.

I died so many times!! I kept losing. I kept getting close with my very last life only to be burned to a crisp. I was getting so frustrated that I went online. I was not alone. Hundreds of people on twitter were yelling into the void about this level. Native Fortress is the video equivalent of a horrible fucking Monday. I HATE that level. I finally beat it, and then immediately turned the game off. Now it’s not to say that I won’t be playing it again. I will, but currently I don’t have much time for it. Still I was so frustrated with that level that I thought maybe I was remembering my love for this game incorrectly. Nostalgia and the hardcore trend of it at the moment is warping my brain into remembering things differently. I AM CRAZY, if I thought this was fun as a child.

Anyway. I am happy this is in my collection, and If I play again and have more horrible experiences I will update you on how I almost threw my remote at my tv. Till then, tell me, Have you played Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy? Did you break anything around you while playing? Let me know below!

Posted in Games | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life & Blog Update

eric-rothermel-23788

Hellooooooo my precious geeks!

I know it’s been awhile since I have updated this blog and I have reasons so let’s jump right into those.

LIFE:  In February I was working an internship for a mobile games company that shall remain nameless. They screwed me over a couple of times mainly the fact that I went in for a full time contract( interview process was all about full time ) but they only offered me an internship in the end paying me peanuts for 40 hours per week. (they did this to a few people) I ignored my gut instinct and took it anyway. In a way I am glad I did because I met some lovely people, and 3 out of the 5 co founders were professional and cool. Then they told me my work was great but that I was too straightforward. Yet they let my coworker go because she was too shy and quiet.

huh

Needless to say it aggravated me. Aggravation tends to push my anxiety sky high. I am glad that is over but felt the need to put it here because it needed to be said. The aggravation they made me feel exhausted my brain completely. I barely read any books during that time. It’s a company that I feel has a lot of potential, but only if they start to learn from their mistakes.

To the present:  I found such a wonderful company to work for. Not only have they been kind and understanding, they are not afraid to take criticism. I feel for companies to move forward, you need to listen to your employees, and have them listen to you. Mutual respect and Real genuine communication is what will allow everyone to succeed. I enjoy the work I am doing, and am looking forward to helping them move forward. My gut instinct says this is a good lot of people. I have been reading more, and I genuinely feel happy.

Writing: I changed some aspects of the novel I am writing so it’s been consuming quite a bit of my time. If you think writing a book is hard, wait till you have to edit it.

This Blog: For a while now, I have been a little unhappy with the way I do things here. I also feel I have outgrown the process of using WordPress.com and will be moving it over to .ORG. I want more control over my blog in many aspects that this WordPress doesn’t quite allow. It’s a good starting point for anyone who’s new to blogging, but I am confident now that I can move it. SO this means for the next couple of weeks you may once again not see much happening here. My apologies in advance, but my idea is to better this for myself and for everyone! So don’t go anywhere and please stay tuned!

NOTE: to those of you who are waiting for me to review your books, those reviews are coming, I PROMISE!!

See you soon GEEKS!!

 

Posted in Coffee & Rant | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments