MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2019 – What I’ve Learnt From CBT

Hello and welcome to my final thoughts for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Sorry I forgot to post yesterday, but it’s given me a bit of extra time to think about what I’d like to talk about today.

So, as you may or may not know, I’ve had a few rounds of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) now. Initially I was undergoing treatment for OCD a few years ago, and at the time I didn’t think it was helpful. Looking back, it was! A lot of my behaviours have slowly changed over the years since then and my OCD is now under very good control. I also had high intensity CBT last year into this year for anxiety and depression. It’s very weird how therapy works; in the moment it doesn’t seem as though it’s doing a lot. I’d go along every week, tick numbers on a sheet and talk about my feelings and what I’d like to achieve in the next week whilst learning different techniques to help with this. Some were far from useful – I don’t like mindfulness and find that my brain is always far too busy to effectively get it! For pretty much all the mindfulness exercises I didn’t take a lot away. However, there are some things that were very useful, and it’s these that I’d like to talk about a little bit more today!

Linking into the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week which is Body Image, my therapist and I found that low self esteem was a big trigger which would then become a bit of a circle as I’d then feel worse. Over the years with various counsellors we’ve got to the bottom of a lot of why I feel so negatively about myself, but that’s half of the solution. I still needed to learn how to deal with those negative thoughts. One of my pieces of homework was to write down all my positive qualities and what other people saw that was good in me. It’s a pretty challenging task, thinking positively about yourself, and it seemed quite big headed at times saying “I’m good at my job!” or “my boyfriend thinks I’m beautiful!” because I really don’t see it that way! But, as I was told, in the future if I’m feeling low about myself, I can go back to that and see that okay, maybe I’m not so bad! 

Another piece of homework was to take time for me. I didn’t realise quite how important this is, and it doesn’t have to be anything big. I was down about the fact that I didn’t seem to enjoy anything I used to and just couldn’t get motivated. We decided that my weekly task from then on would be to make time for myself, even if it was only ten minutes, and combining two of the things that I used to love was a good way to start. My homework was bliss; it was to have a bath and do some reading to relax and make sure that I take that little bit of time for me! I found this to be achievable and it really helped with getting me back into reading.

The final thing that I took away was monitoring my moods. I found it so useful throughout my course to see how my moods were fluctuating through the depression and anxiety scale that’s used (for anyone who’s never filled one out before, you’re given about 7-8 statements and have to circle how often it’s affected you in the past week and it ranges from very mild symptoms such as lack of motivation to the most severe). Because I found that so useful, we decided that I would try to keep a mood diary and we tried out a few different ones. I found the smiley face system to be the easiest – it took just a few seconds out of my day where I would draw a smiley face to show my mood! If I wanted to I could write a little bit about why and it was interesting at the next appointment to see how something that had made me really upset in the week was actually forgotten within days and wasn’t actually a big deal!

I know that CBT isn’t for everyone, but for anyone that’s struggling with mental health I would highly recommend trying it if it’s something that’s offered to you. I was signed up when I was at a low point, but my appointment took a few months. By then I was feeling a lot better but on the encouragement of my doctor I still went; sometimes it’s easier to learn the techniques when you’re not necessarily suffering too much. Time will tell whether the skills I learnt will work if I dip majorly again, but I’m hopeful that I’m a lot stronger and have a good knowledge about my moods to be able to handle them a little bit better!

kayleigh

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MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2019 – Where Am I Now?

A year goes so quickly! It seems like no time at all since last May, and Mental Health Awareness Week 2018.

As you may or may not know, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week and I like to share a few of my thoughts over the week about various topics to do with mental health. Today I thought I’d just give a bit of an update on how I’m doing with my mental health. If you’ve followed my blog or Twitter for a while, you’ll have read about or seen how my moods and conditions fluctuate. However, I’ve actually been fairly stable for about six months now! So much so that I completed my course of CBT and am currently in the process of reducing my Sertraline tablets (admittedly that’s been spurred on by anxiety, thank you Daily Mail!) and my melt downs are much less frequent!

The one thing I will say is that it’s not all been plain sailing. I still have down days, and I still struggle with anxiety fairly often. But I know better how to manage it and how to recognise the signs. I also have a really good support network at work and at home which really does make a difference; my boyfriend especially knows all the signs that I’m dipping and is there waiting with a big hug!

I’m really proud of how far I’ve come; I genuinely can’t remember how it feels to feel so low like I did before. When I first started my CBT, I was answering a very high score for depression and feelings of wanting to harm myself, but by the time I’d been going to sessions for a few months, I noticed it gradually start to decrease and get to a very low score by the time I completed the course. Even now I still think my answers would be pretty low! I really hope I can continue this trend, but, even if I do dip, I know that I can pull myself back up.kayleigh

Check out my posts from last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week:

My Mental Health and Social Media
Book Recommendations
Meds…good or bad?
Mental Health and the Workplace
Stress

UK vs US Book Covers – Middle Grade Edition!

Hello! I’m here today with a post that’s inspired by one of my favourite Booktubers – Hailey in Bookland. I love watching her UK vs US book cover videos and so wanted to have a go myself! I’ve tried to go for the earliest covers that I’m aware of the book having. First up, middle grade…

Image result for murder is bad manners

US

Image result for murder most unladylike

UK

Murder Most Unladylike/Murder Is Bad Manners – Robin Stevens

I find the US edition a little bit dated compared to the gorgeous and bold UK cover! Plus, the title change…Murder Most Unladylike is much better!

 

 

 

The Goldfish Boy

US

The Goldfish Boy

UK

The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson

I actually really like both of these covers in their own way! The UK one uses colour really well and stands out, but the US one catches the emotion of the story more. Overall though, I’d be more likely to pick up the UK cover.

 

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

US

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

UK

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

UK wins. Title is better, cover is better. It’s just iconic really!

 

 

 

The Eye of the North

US

The Eye of the North

UK

The Eye of the North – Sinéad O’Hart

I definitely prefer the UK edition; it’s absolutely gorgeous and makes you want the book and want to read the book whereas the US one is a bit dated.

 

 

 

The Diamond of Drury Lane (A Cat Royal Adventure)

US

Image result for the diamond of drury lane

UK

The Diamond of Drury Lane – Julia Golding

Photos don’t do the UK edition justice; it’s the most gorgeous little hardback! I think the US edition looks a bit too much like a TV tie-in edition for my liking.

 

 

Children of the Red King #1: Midnight for Charlie Bone

US

Image result for midnight for charlie bone

UK

Midnight for Charlie Bone – Jenny Nimmo

SHINY! The UK edition is lovely and has this magical shimmer to it…the US edition, however, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, looks very dated! UK wins.

 

 

 

Reflection: A Twisted Tale

US

Mulan: Reflection (Twisted Tales 416 Disney)

UK

Reflection – Elizabeth Lim

Whilst I do love the UK covers for the Twisted Tales series, I’m actually going to give the US their first win for this post; I love their covers even more!

 

 

 

BadBeginning.jpg

US

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

UK

The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket

And we’re back to chosing UK covers to win; the bright contrast of the colours against the black for A Series of Unfortunate Events looks amazing, whereas the US covers are just a bit dull and old-fashioned.

 

 

The Great Good Thing

US

The Great Good Thing

UK

The Great Good Thing – Roderick Townley

What is that US cover? It’s AWFUL! The UK one, whilst not as inviting as it could be, is beautiful and at least makes you want to read the book!

 

 

 

And that concludes my first UK vs US post! It was really fun to do – I’d definitely say that UK publishers make their books more appealing to me! Would you agree or disagree with my winners?

kayleigh

Books I’ve Unhauled

I own a lot of books.

However, that number has decreased a fair amount over the past month or so as I’ve had several book unhauls! I started off small, just removing titles that were duplicates or proofs I’d never read, then I started to go through books with a bit more thought – would I ever actually read it? Did I dislike it when I read it? I’m so proud of how many I’ve got rid of so far; if you’ve read my previous post on unhauling, you’ll know how difficult and at one point inconcevable this was for me! Whilst I can’t remember every book that I’ve unhauled (which probably says something…), there are some that stand out. Linking in to some thoughts I’ve enjoyed reading about on other blogs (Jenn‘s springs to mind!) on negative reviews, the two seem to go hand in hand for me.

First up, one of my least favourite books in the world:

Image result for paper butterflies lisaPaper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield. I received this book back in 2016 when I was a longlist reader for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Whilst Lisa’s writing style is lovely, and probably is the only reason I made it through this book, the story is horrendous. It’s the first and only book where my mum has even noticed how much I was hating reading it and told me to stop. It was traumatic. I know the topic is supposed to be hard hitting, but it was uncomfortable and I just didn’t get it. When it was shortlisted, I was gutted; there was no way I could recommend this book to anyone! So yeah, unhauled.

Image result for optimists die first

Next, Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen. This book, I did give three stars; it made me laugh and it was entertaining. However, the anxiety representation in it let it down so so badly; it was awful! Who knew that anxiety could be totally cured by romance?

Image result for the journey picture book

I also got rid of a fair few picture books which I either disliked the illustrations or the story of. These included The Journey by Francesca Sanna (just wasn’t for me; whilst it’s beautiful, I found the story tedious and not really the kind of thing I’d read at storytime), Little Red by Bethan Woollvin (simple but bright illustrations with a weird retelling of Little Red Riding Hood going alongside it…not good) and Nara and the Island by Dan Ungureanu (dull illustrations, dull story).

Have you read any of these? Would you agree with me unhauling them?

kayleigh

 

That Never-Ending NetGalley TBR – April 2019

It’s April, which means it’s time for my bi-annual NetGalley TBR post! I’ve tried to cool it down over on NetGalley and focus more on catching up on books I’ve already got or physical proofs, and that shows because since October there are only three titles that I’ve not got around to reading! Two of them are already out and have moved onto my physical TBR too since I have copies, but hopefully I’ll get around to the first book before it’s published!

51922999_615934295504129_242882673275597505_nCall It What You Want – Brigid Kemmerer

  • 27th June
  • Bloomsbury

I Owe You One – Sophie Kinsella

  • 7th February
  • Transworld

the colour of shadowsThe Colour of Shadows – Phyllida Shrimpton

  • 7th February
  • Hot Key

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

kayleigh

 

What A Month!

March is coming to an end, and I am aware that I’ve been fairly quiet on here for which I can only apologise. If you’ve read some of my previous posts or on Twitter, you may know that I’m in the process of buying my first home – WHICH IS SO STRESSFUL! I’m so excited and pleased with how I’m coping with it all though; I’m trying to take everything in my stride and just be organised and keep things going smoothly. So yeah, that’s taking up a fair amount of my time at the minute!

That aside, I’m also working hard on my mental health. Work has thrown up a few challenges in recent weeks and is likely to get a bit tricky soon as we have a crossover of maternity leaves in the room, but I’m coping okay and venting when I need to which really helps. I can’t work out whether I’m just more agitated than usual because of hormones, the situation or…

I’m finally coming off my antidepressants!

I’ve been on Sertraline on and off since the end of 2012, so it’s a long time to have depended on it, and for the past year I’ve been on the maximum dose of 200mg. Coming off it is making me feel a bit more tired than usual, but other than that I feel like I’m doing really well! On the advice of my pharmacist at work, I am alternating doses each day so that I come off it in 25mg doses rather than jumping down 50mg each time, so it will take a little while but I’m really hoping that soon I’ll be tablet free because once I stop that I’ll also stop taking Aripiprazole which I’ve already halved.

The only thing that’s not going so well at the minute is my reading! I’m just struggling to find the time and concentration needed to read, but I’m loving audiobooks at the minute as a way of still immersing myself in stories but without as much focus needed. I’m going to start trying to manage my time better though from April to see if I can start to catch up on some long overdue reads and reviews! I want to start working on my blog a bit more this month and am really excited to get back into it. I think one of the things that’s really spurred me on is some exciting news I got over on Twitter on Friday:

I’ve been longlisted for Best Newcomer Blogger for the UKYA Blogger Awards!

I never ever expected to get a single nomination, so to have been longlisted with nine other wonderful bloggers, many of whom I’ve looked up to, is amazing! If you happen to be reading this and nominated me, I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to you; I’m truly grateful and so happy! This is such a strong longlist, making it a difficult decision to make! If you do enjoy my content though, and would like to vote, please head across to http://www.ukyaba.co.uk!

So yeah, that’s March! I’m going to spend this evening rewatching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before…for the sixth time this weekend…and preparing some posts for April!

I hope you’re all doing well, and thank you for sticking with me during my slight quietness!

kayleigh

My Final (for now) Feelings About Bookshops

A while ago, I did a rambly post about my feelings about bookshops, and in some of my mental health posts I’ve mentioned my experience as a bookseller. I’m now in a much better place with my mental health, and I’ve been thinking about how I feel about Waterstones, both at a local level and as a whole.

I can’t keep on cutting off my nose to spite my face; just because two managers were vindictive and malicious, and the member of HR that I was referred to refused to give a satisfactory response, doesn’t mean that I should be denied the simple pleasure of going to a bookshop.

This has been made slightly easier by having the knowledge that one of those managers is now at a shop that’s not particularly local to me, and the other has been transferred to another shop (although it’s a branch that I always liked, I can deal with not going in there; it’s not my local one) and, again, whilst I can be a bit annoyed that although she’s no longer a manager she gets paid the same for doing less work (a bizarre thing is that Waterstones can remove your position to a lower one but can’t deduct your pay), I can now easily avoid having to encounter her.

I’ve decided to let go of the fact that HR didn’t do anything. Sure, bullying and unfair dismissal are things that should be investigated, but I have to accept that, for the person who received my letter, they’re not issues that the company takes seriously.

So, what next?

My local branch now has a new manager, and by all accounts she’s lovely! I’m excited to be able to go into this shop and see it thrive, and in all honesty, I’ll be happy to support it again. I think that if I’d had a manager who actually knew how to manage people and get the best out of people, I’d’ve progressed a lot more. I had ambitions and managers from other branches saw that, and it’s just a shame that I had the misfortune of working under someone who resented anyone who thought for themselves and wanted to progress. I hope to see the booksellers in my local shop fall back in love with bookselling and the company.

Whilst I resent the fact that I never got to demonstrate my full potential as a bookseller and it makes me feel sad, in the end it all worked out for the better. My mental health has improved tenfold, I’ve got my confidence back, I’m in a job that I LOVE and I’ve discovered the world of book blogging, bookish Twitter and bookstagram! I get to talk books with like-minded people, essentially be a bookseller on the internet and read for the love of it.

kayleigh

My Year of NetGalley 2018

This year has been the first year that I’ve been properly using NetGalley, and what a year it’s been! I’ve been approved for 86 titles, and have provided feedback for …%. I did go a bit crazy at the beginning; I’d never really used NetGalley before December 2017 and so at first I was requesting titles that, whilst I did have an interest in reading, I wasn’t overly desperate to read. As the year’s gone on, I’ve really learnt how to use NetGalley properly to get the best out of my experience both for myself and for the publishers who so kindly approve my requests. I do still have quite a few books from earlier in the year that are outstanding, and are on my NetGalley TBR, but I am really proud of how many books I’ve been able to read and review!

I’m particularly proud this year of some of my achievements; I’ve been auto-approved by two imprints which I am now on the blogger list for, I’ve had invites to blogger events from another publisher (I think I’m sort of on their mailing list; I get requests every so often!) and I’ve been involved in a blog tour through NetGalley! Through submitting my review of Sunflowers in February on NetGalley, I also gained my highest number of views on a single post on here!

Reviews Published80%25 Book Reviews

Do you use NetGalley? How has your year been?

kayleigh

My Favourite Book to Film Adaptations

This is a post that I’ve wanted to do for a while, since so many amazing adaptations have been coming out. With some, I’ve read the book before the adaptation for the big/little screen, but others I’ve discovered the book before the film. I’d like to share a few of my favourites with you today!

Image result for to all the boys i loved beforeTo All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han (Netflix)

Image result for to all the boys i loved beforeOkay, so I haven’t actually read this book yet…but it’s imminent! However, I couldn’t not include it in this list because the Netflix adaptation is SO GOOD! I became addicted to the story of Lara Jean as soon as I watched it for the first time, and I have now lost count of how many times I’ve watched it! From what I’ve heard, the book is just as good!

Image result for the kissing booth netflix posterThe Kissing Booth – Beth Reekles (Netflix)

Image result for the kissing boothAnother Netflix adaptation that I’ve been obsessed with this year is The Kissing Booth. I’d never even heard of the book, but as soon as I discovered that it was based on a book I just had to get a copy! I really enjoyed the book, and the adaptation is very true to the book which is good, but I will say that in this case I prefer the film!

Image result for a series of unfortunate events netflix posterA Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket (Netflix)

Image result for a series of unfortunate events the bad beginningOne of my favourite series as a child was A Series of Unfortunate Events, and, whilst I kind of liked the film adaptation starring Jim Carey, the first film condensing books one to three into the one film just didn’t do the books justice and cut out so many brilliant parts and messed up the whole timeline. So, I was so excited to see that Netflix were doing a serial adaptation starring Neil Patrick Harris. And WOW! It’s such a good version with just the right amount of darkness and humour, keeping true to the books and just doing them justice that the first film did not!

Image result for love simon posterSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli (Love, Simon)

Image result for simon vs the homosapien agendaAnother title that I’ve not actually read yet, despite owning the book for years, is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

 

 

Image result for love rosie coverWhere Rainbows End – Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)

Image result for where rainbows endOne of the first books to ever make me cry, Where Rainbows End is just perfect and is one of the most underrated books. As a bookseller, I was shocked to see that this wasn’t a staple book on the shelves and so would order copies in and be delighted to see that they’d always sell! The film adaptation Love, Rosie is just as good and is easily one of my favourite rom coms.

Image result for thirteen reasons why netflix posterThirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher (Netflix)

Image result for thirteen reasons why bookI was a bit hesistant about including this title on this list; I like the Netflix series, but as a separate thing because I don’t think it takes the strengths from one of my favourite books of all time. Thirteen Reasons Why is an incredible book that I think everyone should read, and so I was so excited for the adaptation. I did enjoy it, but I think that the book was more suited to a film rather than a series.

The Fundamentals of Caring poster.jpgThe Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving – Jonathan Evison (Netflix – The Fundamentals of Caring)

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving-ExLibraryThis is a hidden gem on Netflix; this film is so warm and funny and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Again, I haven’t actually read the book yet, but it is one that I want to read because the film adaptation is so good!

Related imageHow To Train Your Dragon – Cressida Cowell

Image result for how to train your dragon book oneThis series is just brilliant for fans of adventure and mythical creatures, and it’s written in such an engaging manner! The film, rightly so, has become a family favourite that people adore. The characters are just adorable with a story that is very touching.

Image result for me before youMe Before You – Jojo Moyes

Image result for me before you jo joOne of my favourite films and books of all time, Me Before You touches upon the serious topic of euthanasia whilst being a funny and heartwarming story. I can’t fault the adaptation, and love the film and book in equal measures. I did feel a bit bad laughing out loud as I read this book that is a guaranteed tear-jerker, but Will is just such a funny character!

Image result for harry potter and the philosopher's stoneHarry Potter – JK Rowling

Image result for harry potter and the philosopher's stoneOf course this book and film series made it on to this list! Harry Potter is a global phenomenon. Whilst the films aren’t as good as the books, as a separate series they are incredible. I do find that some of the humour is lost in the films, but that’s only natural.

Image result for a monster callsA Monster Calls – Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd

Image result for a monster callsA sob-fest for both the film and book, A Monster Calls filled a massive gap in children’s/young adult literature. It’s so rare to have a boy as a main character in such an emotion driven story. I think Siobhan Dowd would be so proud of the story that Patrick Ness crafted from her ideas, and of the film that subsequently was made.

The Illustrated Mum – Jacqueline Wilson

Image result for the illustrated mum posterSo you may have noticed the lack of film cover for this one – and that’s because I couldn’t find one! It was a TV film on Channel 4 back in 2003, and is one that I loved! I remember filming it on VHS and watching it over and over. It’s such a good adaptation of a book that I’ve realised as I’ve got older is so important. The Illustrated Mum is one of Jacqueline Wilson’s best books, and focuses on depression and bipolar disorder but in a way that’s perfect for younger readers.

Image result for me earl and the dying girl posterMe and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Image result for me earl and the dying girl jesse andrewsAnother film that, whilst it did get some recognition, didn’t get nearly enough hype as it deserved. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is such a good book that focuses on friendship and cancer, but in a way that’s accessible and humorous. The film was also a very good adaptation that was just as enjoyable to watch as the book was to read.

Image result for the fault in our stars movieThe Fault In Our Stars – John Green

Image result for the fault in our starsI remember sobbing when I read The Fault in Our Stars, and, whilst I knew what was going to happen, I sobbed at the film too! That said, I absolutely love both the book and the film, and it’s definitely worth all the hype. Out of all of John Green’s books, this one is the stand out title, and is one that I would pick up again and again. The film is a beautiful adaptation.

 

So there we go! A long list of my favourite book to film adaptations – have you read or watched any of these? Have I missed off any of your favourites?

 

Octavia’s Bookshop and the Importance of Children’s Books

43040787_936035309933128_6894985969526591029_nLast week, I had the pleasure of discovering Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester. This beautiful little independent is primarily a children’s bookshop which meant that gasps were heard all around upon stumbling across this hidden gem! Octavia’s is a stunning little shop that’s all cosy and welcoming, and full to the brim with wonderful children’s books. We also were able to have a chat with Octavia and get excited over books with her, as well as having a discussion about the importance of children’s books.

the goldfish boyThis is something that I’m sure many people encounter – book snobbery. When I first started at Waterstones, a colleague turned around and commented on how I read “rubbish”, also known as books from the children’s section, and I’ve come across this frequently. Particularly with YA, there seems to be this total disregard for its value and importance from individuals right up to the big companies. There is no investment, and yet children’s books and YA are arguably the most important books out there. You’ll notice that the first section to be downsized in most bookshops is the children’s and YA, despite the fact that those sections can often be taking a high proportion of the business. Children need books to be physical – an electronic picture book just isn’t the same as a print version, and there are a lot of children from less affluent backgrounds who don’t have access to an eBook in the same way that they would a physical copy.

that's not my unicornYou see, without these sections, where do the readers of “grown up” literature and non-fiction start? We have to develop that love of reading from children, which means we need books catering towards children. And no, that doesn’t mean that children should only read classics. In my opinion, although there is still something to be loved about them, the classics are often dated and usually irrelevant to the lives of children and young people today. I used to see parents come in and turn their noses up at all the wonderful books that today’s authors are bringing to the table, books that nurture a love of reading and books that I’ve seen make children into bookworms. Without these books, who is going to grow up and read all the books aimed at adults? If a child doesn’t develop a love of reading from a young age, what’s the likelihood of them developing it in adulthood?

words in deep blueAll of that said, children’s books are incredible for adults too; they provide escapism, reminiscence and life lessons. I’m finding that as I grow up, my brain still thinks I’m a teenager at times and so of course I’m going to relate to the angst of a young adult in teen fiction! There is so much that we can learn from children’s books, and especially empathy and respect for children.

 

What’s your opinion? I’d love to know!

kayleigh