No Exit by Taylor Adams
Uncategorized / April 22, 2019

No Exit by Taylor Adams is a thriller set in the Colorado Rockies. It is 333 pages, but as a disclaimer, I read all 333 of them in about three or four hours. I received No Exit through Book of the Month Club, and it was released in December of 2018. Before we start, let me provide some background. No Exit revolves around Darby, a college student who is racing through a snow storm in order to see her dying mother. She gets stranded at a remote rest stop without any cell reception. There are four strangers inside, and at first Darby believes that this will just be an annoying night, until she goes outside and finds a child locked in a cage in one of the vehicles. One of the strangers is a kidnapper…but which one? No Exit has sat on my shelf since I received it the first week of December. I was in the middle of other books at the time, and then was gifted 12 books for Christmas, so I had a bit of other reading that was more important. At this point I’ve read every book I own besides No Exit and Lost and Wanted…

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I was not planning on writing a blog post on books today, I really wasn’t. I had a fun mental health post planned (look for that later in the week!). However, last night, I had my life changed. At about 7:00 PM, I opened The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. At 11:10, I walked out of my bedroom, all 323 pages complete, and exploded to my husband about how this was the best debut novel I have ever read (Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is probably a close second). I just had to write a review on this book, I couldn’t go to bed tonight in good conscience without sharing how amazing it was with all of you guys. So this is what I thought of The Silent Patient, and why it blew me away. The Synopsis Alicia Berenson lives an incredible life. She is a famous painter with her own studio in her backyard, married to the handsome fashion photographer Gabriel, who she is madly in love with. A large house in London overlooking a beautiful park, everything seems perfect. Until August 25th, when Gabriel returns home late from a photo shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in…

A Review of Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Book Recommendations , Books , Uncategorized / February 27, 2019

Normally I do not do book reviews, as it falls a bit outside of my realm of mental health awareness. However, I think that I may start doing a “Wednesday Book of the Week”, because reading is so important to me. Books have changed my life, and they are one of the objects I rely on the most when I am anxious or depressed. The most recent book I finished absolutely blew me away. I have made a list of my favorite books before, which you can read here. Gillian Flynn made it on that list twice. Well, she now gets an entire post. What I Expected Reading Dark Places If I have learned one thing from reading Flynn in the past, it is that she enjoys suspense as well as topics that are on the darker side. I have not once been able to guess the ending of a novel. Gone Girl literally changed my life and left me with my mouth hanging open. Sharp Objects disturbed me as well as confused me down to the last page. Therefore, when I came into Dark Places I expected the same treatment. Disturbing topics are just a part of life for…

The Day We Got Married
Uncategorized / February 20, 2019

Yesterday marked six months since I married the love of my life. We also got our wedding pictures back about a week ago. What better time to take you on a ride through our day and the happiest I have been in a very long time? I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into our day! This was when I was originally getting ready for our day. I was so nervous this entire time, but our photographer, Captured Moments by Jennifer, did such an incredible job making sure I still looked put together! Obviously, this is the exact moment that we became husband and wife. This picture means so much to me because it was the end of months of stress and doubt. Up until two days before our wedding, I was not sure if my anxiety was going to stop me from being able to go and get legally married, so this moment was sweet. Here we are entering the reception. This is one of my favorite pictures because it accurately captures my excitement and joy at not only seeing our gorgeous indoor/outdoor reception tent for the first time, but also all of the people who came to support…

Where I Got My Name
Anxiety , Books , Uncategorized / January 5, 2019

I have received many questions since I started my blog as to where my name came from. It seems so disconnected from my goal. “The Honest Reader”: what does that have to do with mental health? So I thought I would do a fun post that would explain my name and let you know a bit more about me. I call myself The Honest Reader because I am obsessed with reading and writing. I started writing short stories in elementary school, and was always an avid reader. I was home schooled, which meant that every few years I needed to undergo state testing in order to prove that my parents were teaching me necessary skills. We were tested in reading comprehension, spelling, math, and writing. In 5th grade, my spelling and reading comprehension was scored on a college level scale. I have read hundreds of books in my life (another fun part about home schooling, you have to track all of the books that you read in a school year to make sure that you are getting enough materials. I read over 1500 books between 1st and 12th grade). It is a passion that has never gone away. There are…

A Letter to My Anxiety
Anxiety , Mental Health , Uncategorized / December 10, 2018

Dear Anxiety,  Since you happen to be around for 99% of my day, I figured it was time that I addressed you directly. I used to hate you with a burning passion. You stole my life. You took me from a fiesty, independent woman with great opportunities ahead of me, and turned me into a dependent, suffering shell of myself. You took my career, my degree, my relationships, and my freedom. At night after a panic attack you left me crying alone in the bathroom, wondering why you had chosen me, what I had done to deserve such a cruel fate.  I stayed in that state for months. Apathetic, loathing you and loathing myself. I didn’t try to change. You had me beat, convinced that I didn’t deserve a better life, and that even if I did, I wasn’t strong enough to beat you.  But you know what, anxiety? Something changed. I don’t hate you anymore. I don’t hate myself anymore. I am not weak, and I can beat you. There are parts of you that actually help me in life. You let me know when I am getting too in over my head, which was a skill I never…

Words of Freedom
Uncategorized / December 8, 2018

Over a year ago, when I first began having issues with anxiety at work, I wrote a poem. I have always been a writer, and have a certain soft spot for poetry. In that moment, I really wanted to capture what an anxiety attack felt like through writing. I jotted it down on a piece of scrap paper and shoved it into the pocket of my uniform. I forgot about that poem for the most part until months later when I was working for my college’s fine arts magazine. We were doing an open mic, and the head of the magazine wanted me to perform. I knew that I had the piece, but I did not feel comfortable sharing it with my friends from school. At this point no one besides a few close friends knew that I had issues with anxiety. I overcame my nerves and recited the poem to the mostly silent crowd of peers. It was such an empowering moment for me, and one that will stay with me for a very long time. It is so hard to be vulnerable with those who know you, and worries of criticism and hate abound. Yet, once those fears…

My Husband Is My Rational Mind
Uncategorized / December 6, 2018

Most of the time, I deal with my anxiety by myself. My husband works a 9-5 job, he has obligations, he has friends to see. I try as much as possible not to keep him from doing what he loves, even though I cannot participate. Therefore, I have an average of 9-12 hours a day where I am completely alone at our apartment. For that portion of the day, I handle my anxiety. Yet, it is always a relief when I see my husbands headlights turning into the driveway (darn you winter with your darkness at 4:45). The reason I am so relieved is because my anxiety is handled differently when my husband is home. When I am alone, I use survival techniques the majority of the time. I do yoga, take a shower, get fresh air, distract myself. When I am anxious, I am not normally in the state of mind to “self-talk”, and therefore cannot convince myself that the anxious thoughts that I am having are not rooted in reality. I just use another method ot get through the panic. This is okay on a surface level basis, because I am able to cope on my own and…

I'm Not Failing, I'm Growing
Uncategorized / December 2, 2018

Throughout anxiety, I have been struggling with a large misconception about the way that recovery is viewed. I also have had problems with using unhealthy language to guage my “outings”. In order to overcome my agoraphobia, it is extremely important to push myself and leave the house. My therapist and I have talked extensively about how to go about improving myself and my life. Let me be honest: leaving my house is not easy for me. When I try to go out places it is not always sunshine and glaring success. Therefore, in the eyes of my therapist, progress is not immediately fleeing from the situation I am feeling anxious in. Progress is working through the feelings, and practicing overcoming my anxiety. However, I have an issue with that system. I have always been an “over-achiever”, and I get extremely impatient when a situation does not resolve as quickly as I would have wanted it to. While a year may not seem to be an extended period of time, when you are stuck in your house, or within ten minutes of your house, it becomes a very long time. I always fall into a bad habit when I am working…

Alternate Anxiety Relief Methods
Uncategorized / November 30, 2018

Over my experience with anxiety, I have come across many different alternate ways to combat anxiety. I do not like anxiety medication, nor do I believe in utilizing it most of the time (more on that in a later post!). Therefore, I have gotten a lot of advice from various people and mental health professionals on how to handle anxiety on the daily. Now, before I dig into all of the tools I use, I want to provide one disclaimer. While I do use some of these methods in my day to day life, these are not supposed to replace regular sessions with a mental health professional. I am seeing a therapist weekly in order to make long term progress. I hope that one day I will not need to use any alternate methods, and that I will be able to thrive on my own. However, that is a long road, and for while I am improving myself in the big picture, it is necessary for me to have techniques in place to function. Methods That Did Not Work: *Note: this does not mean that these methods will not work for other people-these are just the ones that did not…

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