Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's Been Three Years...

Three years ago today, I started this blog. 

That's pretty mind-boggling.

I had high expectations. I'm not going to lie. I didn't meet many of them, and I'm slowly becoming okay with that. My life has changed so much in these last three years, in huge part because of this blog. But, it's also changed a lot outside of it.

I'm going to talk a bit about that last part today. 

Because February is a weird month for me. It's a month that marks three different pivotal moments in my life. One, is this blog. The second is the three year anniversary of my childhood best friend and I parting ways (not amicably). It also, and most importantly, marks a promise I made to myself, and one I've kept to this day. 

So, for this three year blog anniversary, I'm going to do a bit of talking. Just a bit though. You see, talking isn't really my thing. I know, there's some people who just read that line and started laughing out loud. "CIARA!" They're saying, "you talk ALL THE TIME." That's true. I can be a bit of a chatterbox. I can be loud. I have a lot to say. I just have a lot of trouble saying it, sometimes.

My mom once said that I "over-compensate." I talk a lot and loudly so no one will ask me actual questions. I don't know if she even remembers saying that, but it's always stuck with me because it is so accurate. I don't like talking about my feelings. I don't like talking about things that upset me. The words get stuck between my teeth and my lips and I never have the courage or will to push them past there.

I've opened up a little bit over the last few years here. The most in my post in November about depression and important books. And, I'm not going to do much more than that today. The hardest thing in the world is to talk when something is wrong. It's something I've struggled with my whole life. Asking questions, admitting I don't know the answer, makes me feel ill. It has since childhood. But I know it's important. I know talking helps. I know talking is the only way to break a stigma I've been dealing with for almost nine years. But I'm not ready. Not just yet. 

So today, on my three year blog anniversary, I'm going to be talking about books on mental health. It's a subject I think is so so important and I champion these books as much as I can. But, and I just realized this recently, I don't read a lot of them. I always get excited to read them, buy them when they come out, but then they sit on my shelf because I'm too scared to pick them up. I don't know if I can handle seeing myself reflected in them. I don't know how I'll react to them.  I used to read them all the time without worry, back when I was way worse off than now. But, there's something that's stopping me this time. Something I need to overcome.

Because, they're important. They're impacting and powerful and heart-breaking and real. So, I'm going to make it a goal this year to read all those books about mental health I have sitting on my shelf. I'm going to see if they help me again, like they did years ago. And maybe one day, I'll be able to talk about my struggles. I hope one day I can. But, for now, I'll talk about one of the most important things in my life: books.

Here are a couple of my favourites, and even more on my TBR:

(My Review of This is Not a Test)
- I'll champion these books (and all of Courtney's books) until everyone I know has read them, because they are so important. They are honest and real and unflinching. They are the kind of books that help people. 

Saving Francesca/The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
- If we're talking about books that have impacted me the most, Saving Francesca is incredibly high on that list. It broke my heart because it so closely reflected the hardships people with mental illness (and people with family struggling with mental illness) face. One of the most beautiful books I've ever read, and The Piper's Son was a stunning follow-up.
- Tackles the issue of depression with grace and heart. This book is so underrated, in my opinion. It really is amazing.
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
- My favourite read last year, and one that handled the complexities of mental illness with skill and unflinching honesty. This book was not pretty, but messy and hard and realistic. Also beautifully written.
The Program/The Treatment by Suzanne Young
(My review of The Program)
- Heart-breaking in every way, this duology was stunning.

Mind Games/Perfect Lies by Kiersten White
(My review of Mind Games)
- This beautiful, stunning, heart-breaking series tackles depression and PTSD and by God, does Kiersten White do it well. 
Incarnate/Asunder/Infinite by Jodi Meadows
(My review of Incarnate, Asunder)
- Although not completely focused on this, the Newsoul trilogy addresses the affects of abuse and it is as heart-breaking as it is powerful. 

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
- We read this for book club and you could tell how deeply it affected everyone. It was an intense read.
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
- I had to feature Crash Into You because it hits so close to home for me. Rachel, the main character, suffers from severe anxiety. At the time I was reading this, my anxiety had manifested itself in a stomach illness, much like Rachel in this novel. Anxiety isn't one of those mental illness topics I read about a lot, and I loved the way it was handled in this novel.

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
- This was one of the first books I read about mental illness and it has stayed with me for almost seven years. Ellen Hopkins is brutal, but in such a good way. 

And here is a list of just a few of the books I have on my TBR:

Books I Own 
Riders of the Apocalypse Series by Jackie Morse Kessler
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Books To Be Released
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella 
Not After Everything by Michelle Levy

Books I Plan To Borrow/Buy/Read
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Pointe by Brandi Colbert
Charm & Strange/Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

I may have trouble talking about THINGS but these authors don't. Here are some moving and important posts by authors and bloggers about mental illness.

Do you guys have some suggestions? Any books I really need to add to my list? Let me know!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)


  1. We don't really read the same kinds of fiction and I've never sought books about depression et al via fiction specifically. That being said, I've found solace in some of the non-fiction I've read--specifically about authors I admire and their struggles (primarily H. P. Lovecraft, but also Robert E. Howard and others--most writers have issues).

  2. Great post Ciara. I am forever grateful for you getting me to read Courtney Summers. Her books are so amazing and so emotional.

    I suffer from anxiety myself and like you I always want to read books that deal with mental illness but I probably don't read as many as I should. That being said, I highly recommend all of Matthew Quick's books. They all deal with mental illness in one way or another and they're just so good. The Impossible Knife of Memory is also really good (again another author who is always fantastic).

  3. Congratulations on three years of blogging!!


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