Your Older Sister: On Finding Happiness during Depressive Episodes

I have always had depression all my life–this ever-growing hollow feeling in my core. It’s like being punched in the boob, which, if you don’t know, is the worst. The key is to experience a full range of emotions, and accept them. Here are some tips to find things to be happy about. (Worst sentence structure ever. Yo, I studied and taught English composition and reading. Woo!)

1. Reasons to Be Alive

On a very basic primal level, it is important to have reasons to be alive. Maybe it’s the pleasure of going to the beach, lay in the sun, read books that stimulate you mentally. You can look forward to seeing small kittens learn to eat Big Cat food™. Watching sunsets and taking goofy pictures of yourself are another reason for me, personally, to stick around.

Still stuck? Check out this video for some ideas.

2. Mission Statement

If you are feeling up to it, think of a bigger picture, beyond the basic sensations you want to experience, the things you want to see, the people you want to meet, and so on. It helps to be working towards something.

If you don’t have goals, set them up! It’s never too late. The goals can be lofty and epic. On the flip side, they can also be simple.

The idea is to break down your life into areas you can control, like: relationship to yourself and to the world around you. How do you want to carry yourself? What kind of impact do you want to make on community, your country, your continent, the planet?

3. Things that Serve You

So, you should try to be of service to the Universe, but also, consider releasing things that do not bring you peace in the long run. This comes with a warning, though, because some things are uncomfortable since they tap into lessons you could work on. Sometimes, discomfort is not “bad.” It’s often necessary for growth.

However, sometimes, the pain is doing damage with little value. In that case, it helps to release these ideas, memories, people, relationships, habits, whatever they may be. You can read up more on that here.

4. Capture the Happy

Sometimes, it helps to have a little reserve of happiness. For me, that means saved pictures, and music that brings me peace. Create playlists, go all Pinterest-y and make mood-boards, vision boards, whatever can bring you a smile.

The key is to remember that things were once okay, and that they can be okay once more. Remember Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” I interpret this as not “instant happiness.” It’s more of a remembering that happiness is possible. When depression hits, it is very hard to recall happy moments.

Having them pre-prepared (try saying that 10 times fast. Go!) releases the pressure of forcing them out when you’re unwell.

5. Framing

Remember, framing matters. Think deeply of how you perceive the world and others. It is important to remember that the people you’re comparing yourself to are edited and framed portrayals of themselves.

Check out this video on framing, by my favorite author, John Green.

I want to add that perception regarding  your life is not the only truth out there. It feels like it is, and the challenge is to question the narrative. Are there abundant joyful blessings in your world that you are not seeing? I am not saying you guilt yourself into feeling happy. No, but try to frame the depression as a factor in your life. It’s not all that is in your world. Again, it may feel that way in the moment.

6. Start Small

Take the day off. Let yourself feel the sadness. In the meantime, try to do gentle things for yourself. A nice cup of tea, watching fun movies, cuddle with teddy bears and/or fur babies. Here are some ideas of how to do that.

 

One of the most prominent voices you'll ever hear is your own. Self talk plays
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try
I want to expand on the idea of self care. In addition, I'd like to
I have been in therapy since mid 2012. I remember the fear and anxiety of
I wish therapy was discussed more in media, In doing so, it can be approached

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Unlikable Protagonists that I Actually Love

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! For information regarding topics and such, I am including a link to the Goodreads Group right here. This week’s topic is our top 5 unlikable protagonists we like. Let’s go!

5. Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield is a jerk. I didn’t realize it when I read the book in high school, but my goodness, he is such a pretentious, entitled, guy. He is not empathetic toward people around him (at all). Yet, I will always cherish this guy because he taps into this angry and misunderstood part of a person’s life.

4. Wuthering Heights

Cathy and Heathcliff have a lot of issues. When I read this book in college, I was one of the very few people who loved it. The push and pull of an intense relationship felt so familiar to the mood swings I had. What is strange is that I didn’t have the words to describe these events in my life, but I saw Heathcliff with his inability to process loss of his love–I just felt less alone.

But, in a way, the story still reminds me that obsessing over lost relationships can turn a person into a cruel individual. I live by that awareness.

 

3. Othello

I mean, Othello is the first person of color I have encountered in a classic (aside from Heathcliff). But, I did not really like Othello as much as I loved Iago. Some people dislike him because he is sneaky. Incidentally, this is exactly why I like him. Clever dude.

The ultimate Slytherin. OG status.

Back to Othello, though. I love his passion, his gullible nature, his insecurities. It all feels so close and dear to me.

2. The Great Gatsby

Look, I’ll be honest. When I read this book in high school, I just disliked everyone. But, in college and even now…I sympathize. All of it clicks for me. Even Daisy is someone I understand and can relate to. American Dream and trying to prove oneself is

1. Romeo and Juliet

Hold on while I sigh wearily. People give these character such a hard time. And, like, dude, weren’t you ever fourteen? Fourteen and emotional, with cultural expectations to marry pressing down on you. It’s just an honest portrayal of love and hate, and tragedy.

UGH. I feel so many things.

It's another Wednesday around here. So, it's time for a Top 5 Wednesday (T5W). Here's
Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday. Before I begin, here is a link to the
Today is Wednesday, which means it's time for another top five Wednesday (T5W). I will
It's another top 5 Wednesday (T5W)! Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that you
For this week's Top Five Wednesday (T5W), the discussion will be on the top 5

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Series I Need to Start, But Haven’t (Yet)

Today is a lovely Tuesday, which means that it is time for another Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a feature on The Broke and the Bookish site, where bloggers share their top tens in relation to prompts. This week, the prompt is to discuss our top ten series that we need to start (but haven’t…yet). Let’s begin.

10. The Study Series (Poison Study onward) by Marie V. Snyder

Chiara loves this series, and it has such good reviews on Goodreads. It’s on my to buy list for the next few months. I don’t know a whole lot about it. Yet, I am interested in it. Girl is on death row, and then she is offered a position as a poison tester.

9. The Falconer Series by Elizabeth May

I already have the first book, and I just need to start reading it. Hoping to collect the next two books over the next few months. The reviews are awesome for this, too. It’s definitely something up my alley, and I’m interested in it.

8. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Whenever I go on Tumblr, I see so many GIFs and mood boards of the characters in this series. I have the series on my shelves, so it’s not like I have to wait till my copies get here or anything like that.

7. The Sin Eater’s Daughter series by

I saw the first book in a book store, and I was just so fascinated by the cover. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but I did get the first two books. The last one comes out in the Fall. So…I need to get to it. Shannon and Aly talk about it on Goodreads.

6. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

A lot of people hate these books. I, for one, felt the pressure to give them away a couple of years back. Then, I decided to get them used without focusing on what people say about them. For sure, it’s a series that is nothing like many books I have read. I want to get to it, because I think it could help me as a writer, too.

5. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Criminals and dream walking-type-deal sounds fascinating, especially now that I have finished the Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater. I’d like to see how Samantha Shannon interprets this concept of dream walking.

4. The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness

This is another series that I gave away, and then bought used later. Some booktubers commented on something terrible happening in the first book. I can handle heartbreak. The reason I picked up these books is because the premise sounds epic. A world where people can hear each other’s thoughts. And, there’re no girls? Then one day, boy meets girl? SIGN ME UP!

(Also: there’s a dog in this. I hope nothing bad happens to the dog. That better not be the horrible thing that happens in the first book).

 

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I have had these books for YEARS. Still have not read them. I want to read them just to experience Laini Taylor’s lyrical writing (because GOALS!). And, I want to see how the story progresses. I only read like a chapter or so? Many years ago, I checked out the first few chapters of the first book. I have to read these books.

2. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

It’s a fourteen book series and it has a lot of interesting characters. Brandon Sanderson said he loved these books long before he was asked to write the last couple of books in the series. I’m just really curious about it, and I want to see which characters I like in this series.

 1. Cinda Williams Chima Books

I keep putting off reading her books, even though I have them all. But, I’m intimidated, I guess? I follow her Facebook page, and she has such a sweet following. I admire her already. And, I just want to get to her work, and learn from and observe her style.

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. This is a meme that was created by The
Hello Tuesday! You know what this means: another Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is
Here is another Tuesday, and so it is time for the Broke and the Bookish's
Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. As always, I will link the Top Ten Tuesday
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: a) late, and b) a freebie, so I had

End of June TBR

I have not been reading that well, as my time management was difficult to maintain. So, I am creating an End of June TBR for this last week of the month. It’s going to be ambitious, because I want different options to pick from.

Let’s go!

1. The Selection by Kiera Cass

I have passively read the first 20 or so pages of this book. I haven’t given it a fair chance. It seems like a quick read, though, so I am hoping to finish it up quickly and move on to the next books.

2. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Frightening series for me, because I am still heartbroken because of the first book. It’ll take me a couple of deep breaths and a lot of courage to plunge back into this world.

3. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

It’s time, isn’t it?

 

Other Options

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
I loved Vampire Academy and Bloodlines; I’m quite interested in how Mead is going to manage telling the same story three different times in this series. Also, the cover makes me happy.

Legend by Marie Lu

So I had tried this book before and then got scared of anything bad happening (which is a common occurrence for me. My anxiety shoots through the roof when the stakes are high in a book).

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This is supposedly another quick read. Very curious to meet the characters in this series. SPACE!

This week, May ends. Time is passing rather quickly, and I have been in a
It's time for May Week 2 TBR and a bunch of goals, while balancing mental
After disappearing for a while there, I am hoping to pick up the pace around
I am going to be participating in Tom Topple this month (over the next two
Ah, April week 1 TBR Goals is here! For this week, I am not going

CW: Poetry–Barbwire

Wishes I wish you'd disappear when this happens to her. When madness becomes her. When
So She Thought She lived in a shoe-box thinking it a mansion. In her head,

T5W: Top 5 Side Ships

It’s another Wednesday around here. So, it’s time for a Top 5 Wednesday (T5W). Here’s a link to the Goodreads group for information and such. Thi week’s topic is our top 5 side ships.

5. Lord of Shadows/Dark Artifices

Diana and Gwyn are adorable and I love their story arc thus far. Gwyn, this huge leader of the Hunt, is in fact a teddy bear. And that’s awesome, because he is so infatuated with Diana; it’s terribly cute and fills me with joy.

 

4.Paper Towns

Radar and Angela are precious babies. I wish there was more information about them in canon. Angela is sweet and kind while Radar is hilariously anxious about his family’s great secret.

 

3. The Grisha Trilogy

Tamar Kir Bataar and freaking Nadia are the cutest! I love Tamar and her brother. They are fierce sweethearts. I cannot get over their protective nature toward Alina. Obviously, I wish there was more of these characters, especially since I did not like Mal. We could’ve had cute interactions instead of this dude.

Ahem.

Moving on.

 

2. Harry Potter

Dean and Seamus were up there in terms of OTPs. I was certain that JK Rowling would announce their status as a couple. But, she didn’t, which is sad. Still, I believe they were meant to be together.

 

  1. The Hunger Games

Finnick and Annie are a couple I wished had more “screen time.” I will forever be fascinated by what happened to Annie, and its connections to how mental illness/trauma work in real life. I wish they had a happier ending. Alas. It’s a rough world in Panem.

 

 

 

Your Turn:

What are your favorite side couples? Share them in the comments!

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! For information regarding topics and such, I am including
Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday. Before I begin, here is a link to the
Today is Wednesday, which means it's time for another top five Wednesday (T5W). I will
It's another top 5 Wednesday (T5W)! Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that you
For this week's Top Five Wednesday (T5W), the discussion will be on the top 5

Top Ten Literary Dads Who Made an Impression on Me

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. This is a meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish. I am leaving a link so you can check out topics and information.

10. Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Bennett left quite the impression on me. I still think about him often. His relationship with Elizabeth was sweet. Yet, his lack of interest in his daughters’ lives was upsetting for me. To an extent, I understand that there was a disconnect between men and women back then. Even now, unfortunately, there is too much emphasis on gender as a whole rather than focusing on people individually.

 

9. To Kill a Mockingbird

Atticus Finch pretty much blew my mind away in high school. I was in awe of his decency, his kindness, and his understanding of people. The way he carried himself throughout the novel was inspiring. Purposefully, I avoided the “sequel” to this novel, because I knew that upon a revisit, perhaps the author would alter the image I had of this man. So, let’s not talk about that book.

 

8. Fangirl

Arthur Avery. I remember that his life mental illness hit home for me. He had the highs and lows which are so familiar to me. Besides, he was a supportive father, a single dad, and a loving figure in his daughters’ lives. I just love that he was the constant in his kids’ lives, which is something rare in YA.

 

7. Harry Potter

Sirius Black is very problematic and I love him so dearly. But, even more, I think of Albus Dumbledore so frequently. I think of how much he protected Harry, how he guided him, and how he was a frustrating dude. He was a real person, and there’s so little of him truly in the books. And, I kind of like that we don’t know Sirius and Dumbledore very well, because they have the potential of being incredible human beings, but there’s also a hidden mystery to who they were.

I could talk about these guys all day.

 

6. Castor Chronicles

Macon Ravenwood is one of the most tragic figures I have ever encountered. He reminds me of Boo Radley, in that he is a shut in and there are plenty of rumors about him. His strange nature makes me love him so much. Yet, he has so much pain in his past and present, and I cannot even explain how much hope this man gives to Lena and to me, as a reader.

Oh, and obviously he reminds me of Atticus Finch.

5. Dark Artifices

Arthur Blackthorn has mental illness caused by fairies. And, he is unable to stay in the present. I can relate to him so much, and his actions in Lord of Shadows make my heart just swell with love. What a dude!

 

4. Mistborn

Kelsier is the best dad ever. I mean, he is not Vin’s biological dad or anything, but he takes her away from her awful life, and helps her come into her powers as a Mistborn. How can I not love this guy?

 

3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

The dads in this book are wildly different, and yet they both support their sons in beautiful ways. I wasn’t a fan of this book, and yet I fully admit that these two dads were anchors for their children.

 

 

2. The Fault in Our Stars

The parents in this book are fantastic. They support Hazel through a really difficult situation that no parent is ever fully prepared for. Cancer and terminal illnesses like it are just so hard to process for everyone involved. And, Hazel’s parents handle it with grace, kindness, and understanding.

 1. Lord of the Rings

You thought I’d forget about the awesome dads in this trilogy? Come on! Never! The two figures who stand out in this series to me are Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf. Bilbo took in young Frodo and raised him to be just as strange and adventurous.

Gandalf took care of the Hobbits, and maintained political relations between so many races in this series. He’s the best!

 

Your Turn

Any favorite father figures in fiction? Share them in the comments!

 

Today is a lovely Tuesday, which means that it is time for another Top Ten
Hello Tuesday! You know what this means: another Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is
Here is another Tuesday, and so it is time for the Broke and the Bookish's
Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. As always, I will link the Top Ten Tuesday
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: a) late, and b) a freebie, so I had

BR: Crooked Kingdom

I admit it. I hesitated to read Crooked Kingdom for a long time out of fear. The character are so precious to me, and I was scared they’d die. But, I finished the book today (two days reading in total). Here are some of my thoughts.

Trauma and Coping

The world Bardugo creates is mean, to put it gently. These characters have endured trauma and loss so much, and it affects their behaviors. They have coping mechanisms that may make them seem “bad.”

When I had read the first book, I distanced myself from Kaz quite a bit. As someone who had gone through abuse, I see a lot of my struggle in him and Inej.

This book just brought him to life for me. I understand him better. Jordie, his shock after what happened to him and Jordie, feels so painful and real, valid, and honestly I don’t know how Pekka Rollins lived for long. Revenge is such a driving force for Kaz, but a lot of it is based on the fear he inflicts on people. It’s not so much that he is a monster.

In fact, he often emphasizes this to Inej and the rest of the group. It’s almost a defense mechanism. The world is cruel, so Kaz has to be equally terrifying to survive it.

I think of him, gloved hands because touch is too overwhelming, his cane, his shock of losing Jordie, and I think that he is a good example of how one copes to survive in a given environment.

Romances

I could write a whole blog just about how Inej and Kaz’s relationship is complex, given they are both abuse survivors. It is such a beautifully intricate romance to watch unfold.

There is a death in this book, and I am trying not to cry. Wylan and Jesper’s relationship, gorgeously wobbly as they admit their insecurities, their wounds, and their fears, it is truly astounding.

Nina and Matthias have also come along way. I mean, there is MAKE OUT SCENES IN THIS! And, that was great, especially when Matthias notices his old beliefs in contrast with how he sees Nina.

I wish there were more books about these characters. But also, not? It leaves space for us fans to explore and imagine.

 

Symmetry

Oh, how there are so many shadows in this book. Dunyasha, for one, being Inej’s shadow is just amazing. What happens when one ponders their disposable nature? Truly, the idea a person is replaceable is a haunting one, but it’s not really that much of a stretch.

So, Inej has someone to fight in this book. Kaz is against Rollins. Wylan and his father are locked in a fight, and then, it is mirrored with Jesper’s relationship with his father. Matthias and his fellow Fjordians face one another. And, Nina is again put in the place of a pupil when she meets up with Genya and Zoya.

This mirroring allows Bardugo to delve into the cruxes of these characters’ insecurities and fears.

Overall

It’s definitely a five star read for me. So good, and kind of a shock in some ways, because, I did not expect a death in this. In fact, I keep checking my book to see if it’s real. It hurts.

But, I would recommend this duology, way more than the Grisha trilogy.

Hope you give it a read! If you have read it, please, let’s talk in the comments!

So, I spent the past few days reading Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Lord of Shadows is the
It took me a while to read Six of Crows,  I admit it. However, throughout my
Today, I will be discussing Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This book makes
Make way for the Raven King, the Raven King!  I finished reading the final book
The School of Good and Evil is a fairly popular middle grade story. At first,

T5W: My Top 5 Slytherin-y Books on My Shelves

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday. Before I begin, here is a link to the group for topics and information. Today’s topic is top 5 books representing our Hogwarts house. As a Slytherin, I will be focusing on my own house.

Let’s begin.

5. Vicious by VE Schwab

Actually, I haven’t read this one yet, but I am so sure that it’ll be a good representation of Slytherin. From what I have gathered, this book is an exploration of villainy and morality. To me, these are questions that I tend to posit for myself often. Am I good? Am I bad? what motivates me?

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

This is a story of 4 boys (5? Do I count Henry or not? Crisis!) and a girl as they search for a dead Welsh king. It is all about ambition at its core. Gansey and his obsession with the Welsh king is an example of this. Also another example to consider is Adam and his struggle to find his place in the world. What about Ronan and the dream thieving? This is a Slytherin book through and through.

3. And I Darken by Kiersten White

Haven’t read this one yet, but I am also sure that I will love it. Like, really sure. We follow a Vlad the Impaler, who happen to be a woman. Come on, power, I assume, would be a part of the story. This is just my gut feeling about this book.

2. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Um. You may have noticed that this book made quite the impression on me. If this is your assumption, you’d be totally right. Listen, heists are really cool to read about it. But, this is not just a heist. This is overthrowing a ruler. It’s fight scenes with using rare elements to fuel Vin and her homie Kelsier. I adore this book so much. This is ambition.

 1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Okay, don’t be fooled into thinking that this crew is a bunch of people with no qualms about their morals and ethics. They’re not. They are some of the most morally grey people I have encountered in literature. Kaz may have his reasons for stealing and scheming (“scheming face?” “definitely”). All of them have valid reasons for their actions, though, and this is what makes them truly remarkable. They do “bad” things, and they are often driven by sheer ambition. They are all misfits and they all have some pretty dark backstories. I love them!

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! For information regarding topics and such, I am including
It's another Wednesday around here. So, it's time for a Top 5 Wednesday (T5W). Here's
Today is Wednesday, which means it's time for another top five Wednesday (T5W). I will
It's another top 5 Wednesday (T5W)! Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that you
For this week's Top Five Wednesday (T5W), the discussion will be on the top 5

Top 10 Fantasy Books On My TBR

Hello Tuesday! You know what this means: another Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a feature on The Broke and the Bookish with topic ideas to discuss. This week’s topic is to share our top 10 books on our TBR from a particular genre in mind. I chose fantasy, because that’s my jam. I have a lot on my TBR (and TBR is just books that I already own).

10. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

My copy of this book is not here yet, but my buddy Chiara loves this trilogy. It is steampunk and involves killing fairies. I don’t know about you, but this sounds perfect. Set in Scotland during the regency period, this book is a dream come true. Plus, I heard the main character is kind of a haunted figure. YES.

 

9. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

I have had this trilogy in mind for a while, but these days I have been needing more stories with a focus on strong women. What I have gathered about this book series is that there is a different protagonist per book, which is something I am curious to see in a fantasy setting.

8. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Last week, I realized that Sarah Rees Brennan has a new book coming out this year. While I was not entirely in love with her Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, I find that her humor, and her characters are memorable. So, I want to read more of her books. I have this trilogy and her standalone novel inspired by A Tale of Two Cities. 

 

7. Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

From what I have heard, Goodman’s Eon/Eona duology has a lot of problems. So, I am not into reading those, but I want to read this series by her. Regency era with supernatural creature-fighting is right up my alley.

 

6. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Zombies are not my favorite creatures. In fact, I dislike them a lot, but this author’s work interests me because: a) this is steampunk, and b) has badassery. Part of me is kind of scared of these books, because I don’t like zombies at all. So…I will read it when I am feeling a bit brave.

 

5. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Political intrigue, from what I have noticed in The Winner’s Curse, is something I enjoy reading about. This story about a royal figure and her quest for the throne sounds so cool. I like that it is a dystopian tale with magic in it. Really excited to read this one.

 

4.  Cinda Williams Chima books

I would like to get a start on her books already! If you have not noticed, Mistborn changed my priorities a bit (A LOT).

 

3. Laini Taylor’s work

Okay, look, I am intimidated by Laini Taylor. I remember reading some of her first book, and just being blown away by her writing style. I have her books. And, throughout the past months, I have been seeing graphics inspired by her work and I just love it.

 

2. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

It’s time for me to read these books before the finale comes out. I want to see if I’ll hate Lucia or not! (My priorities are set).

1.  Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Now that I have read the first book of the Mistborn trilogy, I want to read all the things by Sanderson. So, that is part of this series’ charm. However, my friend Emily used to read these books as a young person, and from what she had told me, the books are epic! Also, um, Sanderson himself was a fan of these books before he was asked to write the last few books (the author had passed away).

Today is a lovely Tuesday, which means that it is time for another Top Ten
Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. This is a meme that was created by The
Here is another Tuesday, and so it is time for the Broke and the Bookish's
Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. As always, I will link the Top Ten Tuesday
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: a) late, and b) a freebie, so I had