First of all I’d like to say a big “Thank you” to the people following my blog, there are 20 of you at the moment (and not all of you are people I know personally) which makes it feel like an even better achievement. I’ll try to keep the content coming and read your blogs also. So thank you random internet people for reading my ramblings!
Have you heard of William Gibson? He wrote the cult science fiction book Neuromancer, countless other pieces of fiction and non-fiction and is also responsible for the following fantastic quote: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with assholes.”
Are you surrounded by assholes? Take my quiz and find out (kidding, no quizzes here my friend!). Gibson’s quote resonates with me when I consider my own struggles with low mood and low self-esteem. When I feel low it’s easier to take things personally. Comments from poorly informed people: “You don’t look bipolar.” Sitting in all day for a package that never shows up. Having to chase after people who haven’t delivered on a promise (psych team, I’m eye balling you here). Comments that because I’m off with depression I should be sitting inside in a dark room instead of (heaven forbid) having a coffee with a friend or daring to visit the supermarket to buy food.
When you’re low, these small and rather insignificant events feel like a battle in a raging war. Why is this happening to me? What have I done to be such a terrible person that things never seem to work out? How can I stop being such an idiot so I no longer make mistakes?
The negative self talk goes on. The spiral begins and before you know it, you’ve thought your way from an okay 5/10 mood day to a terrible 2/10 day all because sometimes we are surrounded by people who are insensitive, ignorant and sometimes, just plain assholes.
So what do we do? Do we keep talking negatively to ourselves? No. No we do not. We recognise the assholes and we put their contribution right where it needs to be: the mental trash can.
In part 2 of this article (which I am aiming to release on Sunday only it’s not written yet), I will introduce some concepts around how to manage the assholes and bolster your self-esteem. Until then, please feel free to share your experiences of people acting like assholes in the comments below.
(Edit: I nearly wrote share your experience of assholes then realised that actually had an entirely different meaning and may attract a different readership entirely)
I’ve been slacking a bit with my blog lately. Actually, I’ve been slacking in many aspects of my life as my energy levels are pretty low at the moment.
Moving swiftly on, you probably know that World Book Day is soon to be upon us (at least you’re probably thinking of what sort of character costumes you can dress your kids in for school with minimal money and effort!). I like to think of reading as my first love and I fully believe that if new book smell was a perfume, it’d be a best seller. So what better was to honour the day than by sharing with you the 5 books that have changed my life (and my mental health)?
- Counselling for Toads (Robert de Board): The classic childhood tale “The Wind In The Willows” is brought to life by author Robert de Board as we follow Toads’ journey through depressive illness and his therapeutic journey with a counsellor. This book is a staple on the reading list for many counselling courses (but designed for people like me with no knowledge of psychoanalysis) and was recommended to me by a close friend. To call it a self-help booklet doesn’t do it justice and the concepts of transactional analysis explored in the book are insightful and at times, unnerving when you apply them to your own inner workings. I’ve scribbled pencil notes in the margins of my copy and referred to it many times. A short read that delivers food for thought.
- Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy): Hardy is like marmite thanks to his long descriptive paragraphs, you’ll either love him or hate him. Far from the Madding Crowd isn’t as dark as Hardy’s other novels but follows his ongoing themes of love, tragedy and farming set in the fictional county of Wessex. I read it in 3 days and it’s one of the few books I’ve read since. Hardy was visionary in his portrayal of strong female lead characters (oh and if I have another girl, I might consider calling her Bathsheba).
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies (Rob Willson and Rena Branch): There’s a huge wealth of evidence behind the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for treating a wide variety of mental health issues- from anxiety to anger. This book provides a toolkit which introduces the concepts of CBT and helps the reader work through various activities to challenge negative modes of thinking. I found the sections helping you to identify the causes you really care about very helpful when wandering out of that intense period of parenting that is the toddler years.
- The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey): Save for emergencies, pay off your debt and have enough cash to give generously to the people and causes you care about. Ramsey’s approach to financial management uses a 7 step approach he calls the “Baby Steps” and has kick started my journey to responsible financial management (including getting rid of all my credit cards so I can’t spend recklessly during a hypomanic spree!). Look him up on YouTube to hear some of his epic rants or check out his website.
- The White Queen (Phillipa Gregory): Coming from Scotland, my knowledge of English history is incredibly limited. Gregory’s Tudor Court novels awakened a strong interest in history for me and shone light on the original strong women who tried to control their own destinies in a male dominated world. I’ve since read many (non-fiction) books on Tudor history and feel incredibly lucky to live close to many of the locations referenced by Gregory in her novels.
Which books would be in your top 5 life-changing reads? Have you read any of the books I’ve listed above? Please feel free to comment below.
Disclaimer: There are way more than 5 books that have changed my life but I assume you don’t have all night to read my thoughts about them!