Awake by Natasha Preston (No Spoilers)

“My dad always said that you know you are in love when someone comes along that makes you question everything.” -Noah, Awake

As I’ve said in another post, I recently bought a ton of stuff during Black Friday. Two of those things happened to be books, Awake by Natasha Preston and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Unfortunately, my mom made me pick one of the books to read now, which happened to be Awake, and the other one my mom is making me wait until Christmas to get. :/ This made me extra sad because I didn’t count of finishing Awake in two days, which has only happened twice before.

Now, I’ll be honest, I was kind of hesitant to purchase this book since I read her previous book The Cellar, and although the book had what I thought was a really creative and Criminal Mind-y plot line, there were a lot of flaws I found (including the character development) that made me at least a little hesitant to try out another one (If you would like to know more about exactly I had problems with the first book, I actually did a book review on that one as well which you can find here.). In the end, though, I’m really glad I gave Natasha Preston a second chance. Despite the fact that it seems like most people do not agree with me on this, I thought you could really see improvement in her writing style and story development in this book versus her previous one, and I’m personally hoping that she comes out with a sequel which I would definitely try hard to get my hands on.

Short Overview

This is going to be a bit hard trying not to give too much away, but I shall try my best. Basically, Awake is about a girl named Scarlett who is not able to remember anything before the age of four, supposedly due to a fire that happened at that time. She has long since accepted the fact that she will never be able to regain these memories until she meets this handsome new guy named Noah. They almost instantly fall in love (or so it would seem), and Noah begins to make her rethink her decision to leave those memories in the past. That is until Scarlett and her family get into a car crash suddenly bringing pieces of those memories back, which sends her on a mission to remember everything. In the process, she discovers more than she ever wanted to know about her childhood, family, and, eventually, her new boyfriend and finds herself fighting for her life because of it.

What I Enjoyed

  • The plot line. I think above anything else, Natasha Preston does a great job a coming up with plot lines. Even though I’ve only read two of her books, I just find her stories to be so unique and interesting. Almost like I’m reading something that came right out of Criminal Minds (and we all know how much I love Criminal Minds 😉 ).
  • It deals with cults. I really haven’t read many books that dive into the world of cults, and I happen to find cults fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Because it’s a fiction book, it makes you feel like something of this nature couldn’t actually happen when, in all honesty, it’s definitely out there. It’s seems impossible that someone could brainwash an entire group of people, but history has shown that when people seclude themselves from the rest of the world, it makes it that much easier for them to fall for lies coming from an authority figure within the group, especially when those people are already hurting and vulnerable. Like I said before, to me, this is a really scary thought.
  • I found myself feeling the same things as the characters. When the book spent a lot of time focusing on Scarlett getting frustrated at the fact that she couldn’t remember, my immediate thought the book was moving too slowly, but then I realized that I was really just feeling the same type of frustration in her not being able to remember faster that she was feeling herself.
  • The ending. I don’t really want to talk about too much of this because I don’t want there to be a lot of spoilers, but I like how she ended the book with another mystery waiting to be discovered. If she decides to write another book, then she’s already set up another interesting plot line, and if she doesn’t, it just shows you that we don’t always get to learn everything about what happened.

What I Didn’t Like So Much

  • She couldn’t remember anything before the age of four, and that was supposed to be a really big deal. Maybe I’m just crazy, but there’s not much I remember before the age of four either. She even made the comment at one point that she “lost four years of her life.” I haven’t met anyone who can remember stuff from when they were born to age two, so at most, she only missed like maybe two years of very fragmented memories.
  • The romance. At some points, it was just really cheesy. The romance seemed to be  written for middle school kids and the rest of the plot line was more for high school to college students which I was kind of disappointed about.
  • The grammar mistakes!! This is something that really got to me with The Cellar, so I was really disappointed that they showed up again in Awake. I realize that she wrote the book on Wattpad to begin with, and most people probably didn’t care about the mistakes on there. In my opinion, though, a published book should have little to no (bordering on no) mistakes, and someone just isn’t doing the best job proofreading it.

Basically, I thought the story line was on point and everything else was not so much. As I said with her first book, I think high school students and anyone looking to kill some time would enjoy this book. In the end, I’d give it about three stars out of five.

Hints, Tips, and Things to Try: November

This month has been one of the craziest and rewarding months of the year, I believe. It started out absolutely horribly with losing a group of friends that I had known since elementary school. Some of them also happened to be the people I was living with, so I was somewhat forced to move back home and find a new apartment to live in with someone I do not know. Definitely thought that I was done with the whole living-with-someone-you-don’t-know thing Freshman year, but sometimes things just do not work out the way you planned them.

Because of all that, however, I have been able to form really great relationships with my family who has been absolutely amazing through all of this. I really can’t thank them enough for supporting me through all of this. On top of that, I got back to my blog which I am incredibly happy about. Shout out to you guys for really giving me some encouragement through a really hard time. It may not seem like it, but every view, like, comment, or follow makes me feel so very happy and encouraged. It really does mean a lot!

Things I Like/Think You Should Try

1. Christmas decorations! After Thanksgiving (notice the after part….) I broke out all the Christmas decorations I have for my room. There’s not a whole lot of them, but there’s really something about sitting on my room with a lit Christmas tree beside me that never fails to lighten my mood. I just love Christmas! 🙂

2. Pentatonix’s (that sound weird, but I think it still needs the apostrophe s….) Christmas CD. In particular, I really like their versions of “Mary Did You Know” and “Hallelujah”. They’re really just beyond beautiful, and if you haven’t heard them, you really need to. I really wish I could sing like them….*sigh*

3. Spiced Apple Toddy candle from Bath and Body Works. I actually got this candle a few weeks before Black Friday, so if you’ve read that post, this one will not be on there. This was my first ever Bath and Body Works candle, and I have been burning almost every night since I got it. I absolutely love that it smells like apples and cinnamon since that’s my absolute favorite scent combination (does that make any sense?). It literally smells exactly like apple cider which makes me really happy because I love drinking hot apple cider during the winter months, especially when I’m starting to get a cold or some other nasty bug. My mom also has the gingerbread smelling one (not sure of the exact name at the moment) down in our living room, and although I really didn’t think I would like it, I actually love it where it’s at. It’s definitely not as strong as the Spiced Apple Toddy one. It’s just like a hint of gingerbread every now and then which gets me all excited for Christmas! Plus, like all Bath and Body Works products, the packaging is beautiful.

4. Beating my boyfriend at games. Seriously, I have the high score on literally all the online games we’ve played together, and it is quite entertaining to watch him try his best to beat me. Yes, we’re both more than a little competitive. 🙂

5. Too Faced, Born This Way foundation. I’ve heard so much about this, and then when my friend bought it and let me try it, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I’ve tried a lot of foundations because I really like medium to full coverage, but I don’t like to feel the foundation on my face. This foundation does a really great job of covering up my imperfections, especially the really red spots near my nose, that I almost feel like I don’t even need to wear concealer. On top of that, it really does look perfectly natural and it doesn’t feel thick on your skin at all. It’s definitely the best foundation I’ve found so far.

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Random Things I Learned This Month

  1. Sometimes it’s best to cut people out of your life, especially if those people are damaging in any way to you. It’s not mean; it’s just necessary.
  2. The bird called Turkey in America is also called an India in Turkey and a Peru in Portuguese.
  3. Winter months can cause you to become depressed. There’s actually a specific name for it, Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  4. Apathy is sometimes a precursor to depression.
  5. The platypus used to be a myth. Sadly, no one believed in the duck puppy. 😦

Bullet Journal

I have been seeing a lot of bloggers (and just random people) talk about something called a bullet journal. I am obsessed with all things journal related, so obviously this peaked my interest. There’s just something about being able to go back and read your most intimate thoughts and feelings from a point in your life that I think is incredibly special. I have a journal I started my freshman year of college, and (especially recently) I love going back and reading through my first battle with depression. It gives me hope that I’ll be able to get through it again.

Anyway, I’m getting off track….back to bullet journals.

Recently, I finally decided to jump in and try the whole bullet journal thing out. When I first started researching it, though, I almost gave up because there didn’t seem to be a clear description of what a bullet journal is supposed to be or how to set one up. Later, I found out that this was because bullet journals are largely what you make of them. They’re somewhere in between a journal and a planner. They’re a place where you can let your creativity run wild while also staying on top of your daily/monthly/yearly tasks. It’s something that you can spend lots of time on to make it just right, or it can be something you only take out a for a few minutes each day. Regardless, just from the little experience I’ve had with them, I think they are very useful and at least worth a try. In case you want to try it out, here’s the basics of how to set up your own bullet journal and some examples of how I did mine.
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One of the unique things about this type of journal is that it starts off with an Index, which is basically just showing you what is on what page. Going off of that, you will also need to number each page that you use so you can add it to the Index.

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Next, you need a Key. This doesn’t necessarily have to be right after the Index. It can be before it, after it, or even on the last page. Regardless, I think it’s important to have at least until you get comfortable using it. For the symbols, you can also change those up. I decided to use the ones used on the Bullet Journal website. The key is to use some type of symbol that you can build off of when it’s either completed, migrated, or scheduled. I’ve seen people use triangles and fill them in when the project is completed or draw lines in it when it’s scheduled. It’s just whatever works for you.

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After that comes the Future Log. This is where you can get a glance at the entire year and generally what you have to do each month. To me, this would be a good place to put events like birthdays, holidays, and breaks so you can start planning for them ahead of time. You’re also supposed to put the dates before the event name so you can easily scan down and see about when each event is taking place during the month…..I kind of screwed that up lol. Using a pencil for the events is probably best for first timers like me. 🙂

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Next comes an overview for each month and then the weekly planner for that month. I actually really like this about Bullet Journals. They start off with an overview of what you have to get done that year and then keep getting more and more specific. It’s almost like using a camera lens to zoom in and out on your life, big picture to small details. One thing I didn’t do to begin with but I’m going to do when I start planning out 2017 is make a section right after the future log where I list my goals for the year, then another section for monthly goals, and another for weekly ones.

So that’s the basics! Keep in mind that this is the bare basics to a bullet journal. There are so many other pages you can add to it. I’m going to add a mental health check in page, a Christmas gift planning page, one for books I want to read, and some others. Pinterest has some really great ideas if you’re interested. Also, going along with the journal aspect of it, if you have an event you want to write in depth about, you can just write it out like a journal entry right after the weekly planner pages. Like I said before, it’s all what you make of it.

*If you want more information about the basics, these sites really helped me out:

http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/

http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/how-to-bullet-journal

 

 

Black Friday Haul

*Sorry this is a bit longer than I had intended. Also, this is the first time I’ve ever done a post like this, so bear with me 🙂 *

So, I went a tiny bit crazy with my Black Friday shopping. For those of you who do not know, Black Friday is the day right after Thanksgiving (and Thanksgiving night) where all stores are supposed to have amazing sales and most places are open until way after midnight. It’s incredibly crowded, the traffic is terrible, and the check out lines are so long you begin to wonder if the deal is really all that worth it, but it is also one of the highlights of my year. I always go with my mom, my aunt, and my cousins, and we always have an absolutely amazing time and come back home with some really funny stories and even some pretty good deals.

This year, we went headed out to one of the major malls in our area right after we finished eating Thanksgiving dinner (it was about an hour drive), and the first store that we hit was Bath and Body Works. They were having a really awesome “buy three, get three” free sale which all of us definitely took advantage of. They’ve already brought out their Christmas collection, so everything I bought came out of that.

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For me, the thing that makes Bath and Body Works so great is the way that they can get a scent so right. If it says it’s going to smell like a pumpkin cupcake, it is going to smell like a pumpkin cupcake (my mom has that candle, and it always makes me want a cupcake). Another thing that always gets me about this brand is the packaging. It is always so cute and festive, especially the candles. They just do such a great job with it.

On top of the packaging and scents, their products are really great quality. I’ve been using their shower gels, lotions, and hand creams since middle school, and I’ve never been disappointed. I have very dry skin for most of the year, especially during winter, and their lotions always leave my skin feeling 10x better than before. I just recently started using candles a lot more as well, and I’ve noticed that Bath and Body Work’s candles last a lot longer than most other brands. Plus, they smell amazing.

Back to what I bought, I’m a huge fan on apple, peppermint, and cinnamon, so I absolutely love fall and Christmas scents. To me, they’re the best of the year. Because of that, I obviously went for the Twisted Peppermint shower gel and lotion again this year. I also have really bad sinuses problems (seriously, it’s terrible), and I’ve found that using peppermint scented things while taking a really hot shower really helps with that.

I also decided to go a bit out of my comfort zone and try the Frosted Coconut Snowball shower gel and lotion as well. Because of the Coconut, it somewhat reminds me a bit of spring. Since it also has vanilla and some other traditional winter scents mixed in with it, though, it’s still definitely more of a winter-y kind of smell. I’ll probably be using it a lot come February/March since I’ll be looking forward to spring and it kind of has a hint of spring to it.

With the hand creams, which I grabbed last minute because I have really dry hands, I already had six items for the sale, but I really wanted the Frosted Cranberry candle. A few weeks ago my mom and I were in a Bath and Body Works closer to where I live (I know, I have an obsession….), and I was debating between getting that candle or the one I ended up buying (Spiced Apple Toddy). I went for the other one because I love cinnamon, and the Spiced Apple Toddy definitely had more of a strong cinnamon/apple scent. After I started burning it, though, I found it a bit too strong, and I wanted something a bit lighter and sweeter which the Frosted Cranberry definitely is.

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Another sale they had going on along with the buy three, get three free was that if you spent $30 you were able to buy a tote bag full of stuff for $25 (or maybe it was $20….somewhere in the twenties). Obviously because of my obsession, I couldn’t pass this up, so I bought the bag. Inside it came the new Christmas signature scent Magic in the Air in the shower gel, lotion, and body mist. Even though it’s supposed to be a Christmas scent, I definitely feel like it’s better for more early spring since it has a very light and floral fragrance to it. It actually almost reminds me of Sweet Pea if you’ve ever smelled that. It also came with a foaming hand soap and hand sanitizer in A Thousand Wishes and a candle called Champagne Toast. The candle alone payed for the bag since they are normally $22.50.

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After we left the mall, we headed over to Target which is probably one of my favorite stores. They have pretty much everything, and they always have really great Black Friday deals, especially on books and movies. I’m currently working on my Disney DVD collection, so I bought Beauty and the Beast which I’m not sure why it wasn’t already in my collection. Regardless, it’s fixed now. 🙂 On a side note, I can’t begin to describe how excited I am for the live action version with Emma Watson. It’s going to be amazing!

Back to the stuff, I also got two books that were 20% off each. The first one is The Girl on the Train which I have been wanting to read ever since I finished reading Gone Girl since apparently they are similar in the fact that they both have unreliable narrators. Plus, there’s a movie about it now, so I want to read the book before I go see it. The second one is by the same author who wrote The Cellar which I actually did a book review on, and even though I thought her last book had some flaws, I think she does a really great job at coming up with plot lines, and the back sounded really interesting, so I thought I would give her another try.

Anyway, that’s all of it. Sorry again that it was so long. I just got really excited about everything lol.

Quote of the week

“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” -Unknown

I actually first saw this quote in my counselor’s office, and it has stuck with me ever since. I think that this concept is so important, especially when it comes to everything that I’ve been struggling with lately. If you stay focused on your past (especially if that past happens to be very painful), you will never be able to enjoy what is happening in the present. Holding grudges and being unforgiving will only end up hurting you in the end, not the other person. It can also cause you to miss out on some really great opportunities if you tell yourself that you can’t do something because of your past. No matter how hard it is, you just have to keep moving and looking forward.

25 Things I’m Thankful For

In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to do a post where I list just a few things I’m incredibly thankful for. Now, I know that pretty much everyone does posts like this around this time of the year, but I think that it’s important to keep remembering everything that we have to be thankful for, especially with all of the crazy stuff that has been happening around the world. I encourage you to sit down and do the same. It really puts things in perspective and always makes me feel better. So, here we go!

  1. My family: Despite all the ups and downs we face, they’re always for me no matter what, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that.
  2. The close relationship that I have with my family: I know a lot of people who, for whatever reason, does not like or have much to do with their family. I’m lucky enough to have a good relationship with most everyone in my family, and it means a lot to me.
  3. My boyfriend: I really don’t know what I would do without him. Just like my family, he’s always there for me when I need him, and I know he would do absolutely anything for me. I’m very lucky to have someone like him in my life.
  4. My boyfriend’s family: They’ve been very supportive of our relationship, and I’m so happy that he is able to enjoy the same close relationships with his family that I have with mine.
  5. My faith: Probably more than anything else, I am eternally grateful for my faith. It was the reason I was able to get through depression the first time around, and I know it won’t let me down this time.
  6. My friends: Through losing certain friends, I have come to realize how incredibly special and important true friends are. They are a really amazing blessing.
  7. My blog: I love it 🙂 I’m forever grateful that I have a place to go when I’m feeling particularly stressed, happy, anxious, excited, sad, etc.. It has made a huge difference in my life lately.
  8. Every person who has visited my blog: Seriously, thank you so much! It really means so much to me, and I would gladly do absolutely anything I can for you guys.
  9. My health: This is something I think so many people, especially me, take for granted, but it really is a blessing to have good health.
  10. My family’s health: Kind of going off of that, I know some people who are spending the holidays in the hospital with their sick mom, dad, grandmother, etc., and I really can’t imagine how hard that must be. I’m very grateful that everyone in my family is healthy and home, and I hope that those that are not have a speedy recovery.
  11. My counselor who has helped me through some really rough times: My counselor is an absolutely amazing lady. I’m not sure where I would be today if it wasn’t for her.
  12. My ability to go to college: Sometimes it’s easy to forget with all the homework and studying just what a privilege it is to go to college. Many people never get that opportunity, and I really am grateful for it (even though I don’t show it as much as I should).
  13. I have a place to live: This is something else I definitely take for granted, but there are so many people that don’t have a home to spend the holiday season in.
  14. Safety over Thanksgiving
  15. My dogs: Love my puppies 🙂
  16. The support I’ve received from my family: Over Thanksgiving, I had a conversation with my aunt who offered me so much support and love when it comes to me and my boyfriend. I really can’t describe how much it meant to me.
  17. The volunteer program I recently got accepted into at the local aquarium
  18. The amount of free time I’ve had recently to pursue different interests
  19. The college group I’ve started attending and the way they have made me feel welcome and included
  20. My country: Even though it can be a little crazy at times, I’m forever grateful that this country is still my home.
  21. The soldiers putting their lives on the line and being away from their families in order to defend my country: I know multiple new wives (I don’t know any husbands, but I’m definitely sure there are some) who are not spending their first Thanksgiving as a married couple with their significant other because they are off defending the country. I’m very grateful for their sacrifice.
  22. The public service people who keep us safe: All of them put their lives on the line as well to protect us, and I’m thankful for all they do.
  23. I have enough money to provide for my needs and then some
  24. The chance to start over in a new apartment in the Spring
  25. My relatively good grades this semester: Definitely needed some good grades to boost my GPA a little.

And that’s my 25! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!

Moving On

These last few months have been incredibly hard on me, and although I felt like writing would help, I just couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything, much less write about it. It literally has just been one thing after another. My great grandmother got into a really bad car accident and had to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks. Then she got moved into a nursing home for rehab on her leg which has been hard on the entire family. Then, I started having really bad stomach problems which led to a trip to the ER and eventually the gastroenterologist. They ran a bunch of tests and are still trying to figure out what’s wrong. (My mom thinks part of it is all the stress I’ve been under.)

To top it all off, though, after coming back to my college apartment after staying home due to health problems, I was told some incredibly hurtful news by one of my roommates. First, I should explain that I live with three other girls. The first one, I’ve been friends with since I was three (we’ll call her Caroline). The second, is my ex-best friend (we’ll call her Allison), and the third just moved into the apartment this semester (she’ll be Kennedy).

Anyway, when I got back to the apartment, Caroline asked me to go to coffee with her, so I did the next day. At that point I knew something was up because she always gives me bad news over coffee (I happen to love coffee). When we finally sat down and got through the small talk, she told me that Allison had been telling her and Kennedy some incredibly bad things about me. The lies were so bad, that she couldn’t even bring herself to tell me exactly what she had said. She only told me generally what it was about.

Now, this really shouldn’t have come as such a shock to me because I’d seen Allison do this to other ex best friends before (seriously, the girl goes through best friends like bags of chips), but I thought that I would be different. She always seemed to care about me and want to help me in any way she could. She makes you feel good about yourself, and then when you have no one else but her….she drops you. She’s very good at it. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t.

At the beginning of the semester, Kennedy and Allison got to be really good friends (like in the first week they were doing everything together). Ever since then, Kennedy has been avoiding me, and I never knew why until now. Unfortunately, not only did Allison tell these lies to Kennedy and Caroline, she also told them to their parents. The night Caroline told me what had been going on, her mom called my mom and told her that she wouldn’t stand for me doing the things she was told I was doing in the same apartment as her daughter. The crazy part is, Caroline’s family and my family are really close. They chose to believe the lies about me Allison had told them instead of defending me. All of them did.

After my mom set her straight, they tried to apologize, but the damage had been done. Kennedy still thinks Allison is right and won’t listen to anything else. My parents and I decided it would be best to move to a different apartment, but I won’t be able to move until January, so I’m back at home now. I’m still incredibly hurt that people who used to be your friends could turn their backs on you so easily. They were the ones I did everything with, so now I don’t have anyone.

Honestly, I thought that I would be sad moving out of the apartment where I had been living for the last two years. I had come to view it as home. When I went to move out, though, despite my intense fear of change, I just felt this incredible amount of relief. I’m ready to start this new chapter of my life, and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

Implementing Depression Plan

Today I realized yet again why I haven’t gotten much of anything done over the past few months. When I got up this morning (after sleeping the right amount of time but staying in bed for an extra three hours….baby steps 😉 ), I brought up my Depression Plan to make sure that I started working toward the goals I set out in it yesterday, and to be quite honest, I didn’t feel like doing any of it. Even the thought of doing the first one (texting someone other than my boyfriend/parents) made me feel like crawling back into bed, much less getting outside in the sun and exercising.

Another problem I ran into was that I have other obligations, like studying for my anatomy test tomorrow, that makes finding time for everything difficult. That definitely made me want to give the whole thing up. However, the more I decided to make the plan a priority, the easier it became to fit everything in. I just had start thinking about the plan as another obligation not an option. One thing that helped with that was combining points. For example, I need to get 15 minutes of exercise per day, and I also need to get 15 minutes of sunlight each day. If I did my exercise outside, that would knock out two tasks. Also, splitting things up helped. An hour straight of doing something may seem like too much, but splitting it up into fifteen minute segments during study breaks helped me get it done.

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For my exercise, I took my own advice and went for a walk outside while stopping to take some pictures on the way. I live on a road with a lake at the end of it, so it’s incredibly beautiful this time of year with the leaves changing. The only problem was that you have to walk through a path filled with trees, pine needles, and fallen leaves to get to the lake. Since it is an unusually warm day for November, I was afraid that I would meet a snake, so I ended up just walking up and down the street. I’m absolutely terrified of snakes, and I’ve already had to deal with one this year that decided to rest for a couple of hours in front of the back porch steps. That’s one too many for me…. After the walk, though, I felt so great. I felt like I had more energy, and I was just happier over all. It’s crazy how just a little bit of fresh air and exercise will do you a world of good. It just takes you forcing yourself to get out and do it.

As far as spending an hour doing something I used to enjoy, I wrote this entry and spent some time fixing some things that had been neglected on my blog. I also texted a girl from my church who has been trying to reach out to me ever since I got home from college this semester. She’s been having a really hard time the last few days, so I texted her to tell her that I was thinking about her.

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Overall, it was definitely hard to get started, but when I finally made myself get outside and go for a walk, it made me feel so good that I wanted to do everything else on the plan to keep the high going. I feel like it’s still going to be a long road ahead, and I’m still going to have to try and get up the motivation each day to continue moving forward. I’m so encouraged by the way I’m feeling right now, though, that I want to fight again.

My Plan for Fighting Depression

I’m the queen of thinking about things I want to get done and never actually getting them done….I have an incredibly hard time going to sleep, so usually this happens during that time each night where I’m tossing and turning for an hour (or three) thinking of things to do the next day. When the next day actually comes around, however, I would rather do more productive things, like watch Sponge Bob for four hours straight, than do what I had planned the night before. This is why I’ve decided to actually make a plan for fighting my slide back into depression. Some of the things in my plan may seem easy to some of you (like getting out of the house for at least 15 minutes each day), but when you’re struggling just to get out of bed in the morning and change out of your pajamas, you have to start small.

  • Text one person (other than my boyfriend and parents) everyday. If someone texts me, reply to them within two hours.

The problem with depression is that it makes you want to isolate yourself from everyone. Most of the time, it’s not even intentional. There have been a lot of times where someone has texted me, and even though I want to text them back, I don’t because I’m either too afraid of saying the wrong thing or I just don’t have the energy to start a conversation. Because of this, I’ve let a lot of really great relationships fall apart.

  • Spend an hour a day crocheting, writing, taking pictures, baking, coloring, or doing other things I used to enjoy.

One of the worst things about depression is that the things that used to make you happy either aren’t pleasurable or don’t make you as happy as they once did. Continuing to do them despite not feeling like doing anything, though, could help make you feel a little better.

  • Don’t sleep more than nine hours a day.

I’ve found myself sleeping 11-13 hours a day which may seem like the best thing ever, but when I wake up, I feel even more tired than before. I also feel like I’ve wasted the entire day, and I get upset with myself for sleeping too much.

  • Exercise for at least fifteen minutes a day.

Exercise is a really great stress reliever, and I always feel so much better about myself even if I’ve only worked out for five minutes.

  • Eat three meals a day, and eat at least one fruit a day.

Lately, I’ve only been eating dinner because I either don’t feel like getting up to get something to eat or just don’t feel like eating. Even then, my food usually consists of something I picked up at a fast food restaurant unless my mom cooked that night.

  • Get at least fifteen minutes of sunlight.

Being outside always lifts my mood. There have been times where I was too afraid to go outside, and my house felt more like a prison than a home.

  • Be gentle with myself.

I am a major perfectionist. If something does not go exactly like I want it to, I can be very harsh with myself. That also applies to this plan. I want to make an effort to celebrate my accomplishments (however small), and spend less time thinking about where I’ve fallen short.

  • Write down negative thoughts.

I’ve found that when I write out all of the negative thoughts floating around in my head, they seem so much less true. When they’re on paper, I can see clearly that it’s a lie and change it around to be more positive.

Battling Depression

Very recently I realized that I am starting to fall back into, if not have already fallen back into the pit of depression. I definitely should have caught on sooner, and maybe I did and just did not want to believe it. I fought VERY hard to get out of that pit the last time, and I think the idea of having to go through it all over again just caused me to ignore what I knew to be true. Over the last couple of days, though, I realized that it’s gotten to the point where I really can’t ignore it anymore.

Over the last semester (year, really) I’ve been dealing with some incredibly difficult situations that all just happened to explode about two weeks ago. For one, it is incredibly difficult being in a relationship where your bf/gf is not the same race/culture as you (at least where I live it isn’t). Add to that the fact that it’s also a long distance relationship, and you have to ask yourself if you just enjoy making your life more difficult than it needs to be. To be honest, though, it really wasn’t a huge problem until more people started finding out about us and family started getting involved. Most people acted like they were just worried about me when they not-so-subtly told me I should break up with him because it wasn’t worth the difficulties we would face being together. Others came right out and told me that I was hurting my family and would “ruin Christmas” if I brought him with me. For a people pleaser and someone who loves her family more than anything, this has absolutely crushed me.

On top of all that, I decided to end a friendship before the semester started because it was doing more damage to me and my health than it was beneficial to them. Since then, it has royally blown up in my face. I was just told about a week ago that this same friend has been spreading lies about me to our mutual friends and their families. It got so bad that my family and I decided it would be best to move out of the apartment I was sharing with some of those mutual friends and move to another one where I won’t know anyone. This has been a major source of stress for me since I am an incredibly awkward and shy person.

Anyway, because of these things (and some others) I have slid back into the person that I used to be, and quite frankly, it terrifies me. I have become apathetic about pretty much everything including my career, my school work, my blog, etc.. I’m afraid to get out of bed in the morning. I spend my days laying around the house watching TV and eating (which sounds fun until it actually becomes your daily routine). In short, I have become the exact opposite of who I worked so hard to be.

In a way, it’s almost like once I got over it the first time I felt like it could never happen to me again, so instead of recognizing the signs and stopping it, I let myself fall right back into depression. That’s the scary part about depression. It’s a war. You always have to be aware of yourself to make sure it doesn’t sneak back in and take control of your life, and it’s a battle I have to start fighting again.