October 2015 Review

Photo of the month: pumpkin selfie

Wow. This was quite the month. Most of it is fuzzy due to my bipolar mixed state which gobbled up most of my conscious activity. But I’m starting to emerge, thankfully.

At some point, I decided to choose this crying piggy bank as my monthly topper – probably because I spent a huge chunk of money on my new contact lenses, but it may also have been because the picture’s really darned cute. I’ve decided to include it now, even though it doesn’t summarize the month as well as I’d expected at one foggy moment in a long foggy month.



I’d say more about my month, but I’m a bit foggy. 🙂 So I’ll let the posts and pictures say the rest:

I’m currently reading or listening to:





Abnormal Psychology Posts

Clinical Mental Health Diagnosis: Biological Assessment
Clinical Mental Health Diagnosis: Psychological Assessment
Does the DSM-5 Encourage Overmedication?
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome – the Basics
Panic Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Hoarding and Body Dysmorphic Disorders


Book & Movie Reviews


Already started this series. Thought it would be a nice addition to A More Diverse Universe, The Halloween Reading Challenge, and R. I. P. X
This has been collecting virtual dust in my Audible library. Thought it would be a nice addition to The Halloween Reading Challenge, and R. I. P. X
I started this a long time ago for my bookclub and wasn’t able to finish it on time. Figured now was a good time since the review would fit in well with A More Diverse UniverseThe Halloween Reading Challenge, and R. I. P. X


Read this so that I could discuss it with my Abnormal Psychology Prof


Read this classic vampire story for 
The Halloween Reading Challenge, and R. I. P. X and The Classics Club
I read this to supplement my study of The Epic of Gilgamesh.
This is a classic text discussing the theories about the relationship of the flood myths in Gilgamesh Epic and the Old Testament.
I was supposed to finish this 12-part series for my bookclub a while back, but I only got through 7. I’m slowly trying to finish the series because it is rather interesting. 


This book has been hanging out in my Audible library for quite a long time.
In my efforts to decrease my TBR pile, I read it. Thought it would fit in nicely with
The Halloween Reading Challenge, and R. I. P. X
How could I resist? 
Thought it would fit in nicely with The Halloween Reading Challenge, and R. I. P. X
This is my RL book club pick for November
I actually didn’t finish this one. I got about 3 hours into the 14 hour book.
I was interested in what Greenberg had to say about the problems with the DSM classification system (for there are many)…and he had some good ones
But with his bashing of psychiatry he promotes stigma and ignorance of mental health by encouraging the people who believe that mental illness either doesn’t exist (“it’s all in their heads”) or is caused by a weakness of character.
Although interested in what he had to say, the book made me so angry that I couldn’t listen anymore.
Picked this up off the Audible New Release section.
Figured it’d be one last hoorah for the Halloween season.

Movies/Shows watched:

Watched this with my boyfriend. Thought it would be a nice addition to The Halloween Reading Challenge, and R. I. P. X

Watched this horror flick with my boyfriend, but since I only gave it 3 snowflakes, I decided not to review it. 


Thought it would be fun to watch the movies after reading the book.
This is the original Swedish version of the movie
This is the American remake of the Swedish film.
I expected it to be a remake of the Swedish book, but it wasn’t.
Watched it after reading the book.
I like to compare different adaptations.
Watched this while I was giving platelets. Wow. It was pretty amazing. 
Went to this in the theater with my sister and her son.
While not as hilarious as the first, it was a fantastic sequel. 



Next Month’s Blogging Activities Include

Sci-Fi Month 2015 @Rinn Reads


The Classics Club (My List)

I’m participating in Nonfiction November hosted  by Doing Dewey, Sophisticated Dorkiness, I’m Lost in Books, and Regular Rumination.  I will also be participating in the I am Malala readalong in the last week of November. I’m hoping to take this theme to heart and catch up on my non-fiction reviews in November. 🙂



This post is linked up to the Facebook Group The Sunday Salon. “The Salon is open to anyone who’d like to discuss books of a Sunday (or, frankly, any other day of the week). … Discuss what you’re reading here, or link to relevant blog posts, or comment on one anothers posts. Enjoy.”
This post is also linked up to the Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. “The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.”

My Bipolar Mixed State


Hi All! My plan is to give a monthly update rather than a weekly (or biweekly in this case) update, but I had some interesting developments in my life over the last couple of weeks and thought it was a good idea to share – since one of the goals of this blog is to decrease stigma of mental illness, I should share my own experiences. 

I got a bit burnt out on all the activities I’ve been participating in as described in my September updateQuick summary, I’d been working full time, volunteering 4 hours a week at a crisis hotline, taking a 3 credit Abnormal Psychology class as well as a 7 credit EMT class. When I first signed up for the EMT class, I hadn’t realized it was 7 credits (that wasn’t mentioned on the class description), so I didn’t realize how hard it would be. After a few weeks of it, I got so burnt out that I got really sick – this was last week. 

I decided to drop the EMT class, and they were kind enough to let my tuition transfer to next semester. I will NOT sign up for another class – so I’ll be able to focus on the EMT class in January.

Then on Monday, I had a 3 hour anxiety attack. I’m not sure how many of you have had anxiety attacks before, but they aren’t supposed to last that long. It’s sort of like running a marathon for 3 hours. This happened at work, and because I’m the manager, I can’t call my boss and be like: “oh, gotta go home.” I simply had to finish the work. It was an exhausting day. 

The next day, I freaked out on my boyfriend for no reason (other than our political differences), and then when I was trying to sleep I felt like a screaming monster was trying to claw its way out of my brain. That’s when I realized I was in a bipolar mixed state.

Bipolar mixed states have characteristics of both depression and mania. They’re very dangerous because they have suicidal ideation mixed with impulsivity, motivation, and energy. Mixed state people are much more likely to commit suicide than a depressed person, because depressed people often lack the energy and impulsivity, motivation, and energy to commit suicide. 

Yesterday, I called my psychiatrist but I got stuck in the labyrinthine maze of monsters that is the Park Nicollet phone reception system. One of the monsters even hung up on me, and I had to proceed to “Go” without collecting my $200. By the time I got through to the nurse (an hour later), I was rather worked up. She calmly told me that this is not a crisis line, and I should call Crisis Connection (where, by the way, I volunteer). I practically yelled at her that I didn’t want a crisis hotline, I wanted to talk to my psychiatrist. She made an appointment for me to see her later that afternoon. I also made an emergency appointment with my therapist, who I haven’t seen since March. 

In the end, my psychiatrist tweaked my mood stabilizer and gave me a prescription to Klonopin, which is a benzodiazepine – an addictive sedative. I’m a little worried since addiction runs in my family, and when I start getting symptoms of mania (or apparently mixed symptoms) I start craving alcohol, pain meds, and other such things. I’m not much of drinker, and I’m not in the habit of taking unprescribed pain meds, but I crave them all the same. So getting permission to take a benzodiazepine is a little troubling to me. However, I recognize that I need it in situations like those described earlier in my post. 

On a happier note, I was able to go to the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College on Tuesday and Wednesday. The theme was addiction, and my Abnormal Psychology prof took a bunch of his students. There were 6 speakers and they were all really interesting. 

One of the speakers was Marc Lewis, the author of The Biology of Desire, which I just finished. It turns out Marc Lewis is a bit annoying. He kept trying to push his point (that addiction is a choice and not a disease), until Eric Kandel, the 2000 Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine, told him “it’s either bullshit or science.” Another speaker, Carl Hart, who is big on social justice, tried to break the tension by saying “I didn’t know we could swear at this conference!” And then the next day during Hart’s speech he said “and to quote Dr Kandel, this is bullshit!” It was a pretty amusing conference. Of course, the science was really interesting too, but I plan on writing a review both of the conference and of Biology of Desire, so I’ll stop here. 

I’m currently reading or listening to:

Books completed:



Movies/Shows watched:

The last two weeks on Resistance is Futile

Coming next week at Resistance is Futile
Anybody who’s been reading my blog for a while will know that I have an upcoming event to raise awareness and personal education about suicide and mental illness. The stigma for these two issues is very high in our culture, and that means that many people who are feeling suicidal have no one to talk to about their problems. Many people who kill themselves could have been saved if only our culture didn’t frown upon expressing so-called weaknesses. Many people who could have been treated for mental illness before cascading to rock bottom are left floundering with no one to talk to. Educate yourself and others about mental illness and suicide in order to fight this dangerous stigma!

My upcoming event is one small way to educate yourself. You can read a book or watch a film / show that educates you on mental illness. Mention it on your blog / goodreads / other place, and provide the link to the review in my comments section. I’ll collect them all and make a tab of this year’s selections, so that you can see what everyone else has been reading. 🙂


Destined for Doon, by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon will be released on September 2nd, and I’ll be hosting a giveaway of this sweet little teen romance. My review and author spotlight goes up on September 2nd. 

The last two weeks on Resistance is Futile
Watched this movie with my nephew and my friend for her birthday.
This movie was surprisingly fantastic. I hadn’t expected them to be able to keep so close to the story of the book and yet have it adapt to screen so well. I am SO happy that I went to it. Even my 10-year-old nephew loved it, though it seems to be aimed at a slightly older audience. 
I volunteered 28 hours at the crisis hotline
Had an orientation for my new job 🙂

I read the August 8 issue of New Scientist. I was most struck by the article about the “big beasts” – bears, lynx, and wolves – returning to Europe. It included a sweet story about one collared wolf that walked from the Balkans in Eastern Europe, over alps 6 meters deep in snow, to Italy. The story actually brought a little tear to my eye, so I must have been in an emotional state of mind. The article also discussed the social / environmental implications of the large animals returning to Europe. 
As mentioned in my post yesterday about fears and vulnerability, I was at the hospital for a good chunk of the last week. But hopefully I’m doing better now!
While I was in the hospital, my wonderful BFF gave me two books. One of them was this adorable and hilarious Japanimation  comic. It gave me (and a few of the other patients) some needed laughs. 🙂 
While locked up I also enjoyed a game of cribbage with a couple fellow detainees (er…patients). 
They also taught me how to play Rummy.
And we watched the Vikings berserk the Chiefs for a 30 to 12 score. 
Upon sweet release, I celebrated by taking my nephew to see Guardians of the Galaxy – yes, I wanted to see baby Groot dance on the big screen again. 🙂 I can do that over and over! We are Groot! My nephew, sadly, claimed that he liked Ninja Turtles better. 😦

I also celebrated by having my FIRST pumpkin spice latte of the season! Yum!
And yesterday, I got flowers for the first time in over a decade.
That makes the hospital stay worth it, right? 😉
I FINALLY got to play the game Pandemic for the fist time, thanks to someone I met in the hospital. So perhaps that made the hospital stay worthwhile as well. 🙂

Newly Acquired

Bought this at Goodwill. It will go well with my mental illness theme the next couple of months, though I don’t know if I’ll have time to read it, since I have so much else going on. *sigh*
This book was also given to me by my BFF while I was in the hospital.
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
 
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Audiobook from the library. Thought it would fit in really nicely with my mental illness theme. Since I had to return A Beautiful Mind, by Sylvia Nasar before finishing it, I’ll read this for now. 

The Week at Resistance is Futile


Well, the Suicide and Mental Illness Awareness Theme Read hosted here at Resistance is Futile is coming upon me really quickly, and I still haven’t written a post with suggestions. So I decided I would throw in some links for you to check out. 🙂

Popular Mental Illness books (Goodreads list) – Several of the books on this list I have already read or are on my TBR mountain.

11 of the most Realistic Portrayals of Mental Illness in Novels – This is a pretty interesting article with some good suggestions. And don’t miss the embedded list of 20 Greatest Memoirs of Mental Illness

Mental Illness in Fiction (Wikipedia) – This interesting list includes some much older books as well as some unexpected inclusions (LOTR? – Ok, yeah, I guess Golem was mentally ill, but…it DOES make kind of a fun list, though. And you can feel free to be )

Contemporary YA books featuring mental illness – What is a list of books without YA these days? 😉

NAMI Blog: The Top 10 Movies about Mental Illness – This is a really good list (should be, coming from NAMI). I’ve seen 6 of them. 🙂

10 Gripping Films about Mental Illness – This list seems pretty good, as well. 

10 Best Portrayals of Mental Illness in Modern MoviesThis list, I suspect, is more about the acting than about psychology. From I totally agree with the assessment of great acting on this list!


This week in Futile Resistance World…

My friend and I watched another two storyarcs of the William Hartnell years for Doctor Who. We’ve made it a good way through Hartnell’s years, and we have decided to move ON to the second doctor. 🙂 YAY!
This week I volunteered 20 hours at the text center

 

I watched Elysium – which turned out to be a rather philosophical movie with liberal leanings. The whole, everybody-deserves-to-have-medical-care lean. 😉 I found the movie rather sad because the problems portrayed were SO easily translated to problems we’re seeing in today’s world. I know that’s the point of dystopias. But it still made me sad that we should have to question whether a human being deserves to be denied medical treatment just because he was born in the wrong part of the world. 😦

I watched this movie with my nephew. I didn’t think it was fantastic, but my nephew LOVED it. 🙂 Then again, I’m not a purist, so I’m not particularly concerned about the differences between the original movies and this movie…I just found the humor sort of stupid and the turtles were really ugly to look at. So. Meh.

Other posts on Resistance is Futile…

My blog has been really slow lately, but here’s a little something if you’re following my “epic poem” about Facing my demons.

Newly Acquired

Thought I would review the TV show Monk for my Suicide and Mental Illness Awareness theme. This seemed a nice accompaniment, especially since I love the Pop Culture and Philosophy series. Bought this one on my Nook.

This is the first book in a series. I was asked to do a blog tour for the second book in the series, so I’m reading this one first. Got it in hardcover from the library.

ARC provided by publisher
Blog tour and giveaway on 9/4
ARC provided by publisher
Blog tour and giveaway on 10/7
I hope to read this book during September and October’s Suicide and Mental Illness Theme Read. Purchased it in paperback.
Bought this in paperback
Bought this in paperback

The Week at Resistance is Futile


Don’t forget to sign up for my Suicide and Mental Illness Theme Read, coming up in September and October. 🙂 I know I keep saying this, but soon I will post a some lists of books, shows, and movies for suggestions – but the rule is, if YOU think your review fits the theme, then it does. 🙂 Even if your review is mostly to say “this is a novel completely misrepresents mental illness.”
 
This week in Futile Resistance world…

Did anyone else watch Guardians of the Galaxy this week? It was HILARIOUS. I loved it!

And when I took the online quiz, it turns out I am Groot. Yeah. That’s awesome.

I reviewed Rin Chupeco’s spooky new YA book The Girl From the Well, (the giveaway is open through the end of the month, you can still sign up!) I also posted the trailer for the book, if you’re interested.

I went to a Frozen-themed birthday party for my friend’s three-year-old. That was a lot of fun. (Happy Birthday Lucy!)

A friend and I watched TWO storyarcs from the Doctor Who (The William Hartnell years). 

My friend and I are really struggling with keeping our interest in William Hartnell’s doctor. So far, he’s nosy, tactless, condescending, and self-absorbed. Plus, the overall theme fits the old British imperialism (white man’s burden, and all that jazz). That is in stark contrast to the  deeper philosophical message of the modern doctors where his purpose is to protect others’ cultures. And where even there is even depth in the Dalek’s plan of universal extermination. I can’t wait until we move on to the second doctor! Hopefully he’ll be more tolerable.


Well, I accepted a new job coming up in September, which pays double what I was making at unnamed-bookstore-chain-which-I-am-not-allowed-to-blog-about-because-Big-Nanny (BN for short)-might-be-watching. It’s not QUITE where I want to be, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction and introduces some interesting opportunities for growth within the company. This week I got my background and drug test, both of which I passed. 🙂

This week I volunteered for 8 hours as a crisis counselor for a texting crisis line for teens. I encourage everybody who has a lot of empathy for people in crisis to volunteer at a crisis hotline. The suicide CPR training is superb. You won’t regret the time spent!

I finally caught up on my Grimm! In fact, I think this is the first time in the history of me that I’ve been caught up on a TV show that is still running. I can’t wait until Season 4 premieres in October!

Perused some interesting articles in this week’s Economist. I was mainly interested in learning that the state of Britan’s prisons is pretty similar to the state of those in the US. Which is sad. 😦

I got this free e-comic book from Marvel after buying the giganto fountain drink at Subway. In it, the Guardians fight a war to protect Earth. Ironman joins the fight, but he’s not as cool as the Guardians, based upon his ability to remain conscious. This comic was 20 pages of amusement. I guess that’s really good for the price. 🙂

Other posts on Resistance is Futile this week

 I added two new stanzas to Facing my Demons

And I posted about My Favorite Childhood Memory

Newly Acquired…

Favorite Childhood Memories

This week’s Life of a Blogger, hosted by Novel Heartbeat asks us to relate our best childhood memories. I find this a really interesting topic. Memories are slippery little buggers, they never stay the same with time. I know you might THINK your memories are absolute – I frequently fall into that trap – but they do change. They change EVERY time you relive them. But here is my earliest memory – sorry, I couldn’t come up with anything from fetus-hood for you Scientologists out there.

When I was an toddler, I used to crawl out of my crib. I only have one memory of doing it: I had just, with ninja stealth and agility, escaped my prison. Immediately, I heard my mother’s footsteps coming down the hall. I slid silently under the crib wondering fretfully: how does she always know…HOW does she ALWAYS know? (Answer: Clearly my mom is a Ninja Master in disguise.)

One day when I was around 4 or 5, I asked my parents how they always knew whenever I crawled out of the crib. They looked at me in utter astonishment. They had a hard time believing that I actually remembered such an innocuous event. But I DID remember. Now, of course, I’m an adult, and I only remember remembering the incident. But I can learn a couple of things from this memory: 1) Toddlers think before they’re old enough to talk, 2) even though most of us have no real memories from before the age of 4ish, kids that age can remember things earlier than that.

Feel free to comment on YOUR most interesting childhood memory below!


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In addition to posting this on Life of a Blogger, it is also my Friendship Friday post, hosted by Create With Joy; and my Feature and Follow Friday post, hosted by Allison Can Read and Parajunkee’s View


Weekend Update – Blogging in the Twin Cities

This week’s Feature and Follow Friday asks its participants to tell our readers a little bit about our neighborhoods. I have lived in several states, mostly in the mid-west, and Minnesota is my favorite by far. It’s a fantastic combination of urban hipster, historic city, and wilderness. Above is a picture of Downtown Minneapolis, prominently featuring the stadium-formerly-known-as-the-Metrodome (home of the “president,” Richard Starkey, in The Postman). Below is a photo of our State Capitol building in Saint Paul. 



Minnesota can also be rather artsy, and one of the iconic Minnesotan sculptures is Spoonbridge & Cherry. That’s the Minneapolis skyline in the background.


Rochester, Minnesota was the home of the Mayo brothers, who founded the Mayo Clinic. Its skyline is below:

But, of course, my favorite part of Minnesota, by far, is the North Shore on Lake Superior. Hundreds of miles of breathtaking shoreline with campsites and hiking galore. 


Life of a Blogger – Favorite Outings



I’ve just discovered a new meme Life of a Blogger, which seems a great way to get to know other book bloggers in a more personal way. This week’s theme, favorite outings, fits in really well with my already-established MN theme. My fondest memory of going on a trip as a child is when dad took my sister and me on a canoe/backpacking trip to the Boundary Waters in MN. I remember how beautiful it was. And how adventuresome I felt! Having more experience with backpacking now than I did as a 10-year-old, I can only imagine how tired my poor dad was canoeing alone in the wilderness with two children. 



And now for an update on Rachel B and her blog!
(Yes, I just spoke about myself in the third person. Deal with it.)

This month (well, really, this past year) has been quite rough here in Rachel B. world. I’ve been on the long haul trying to battle depression without any medical aid. Finally, I broke down and tried out anti-depressants, and they made me feel GREAT! In fact, a little too great. And then I went “crazy.” Turns out, I’m bipolar. And bipolar people flip manic when they take anti-depressants. I’d just never experienced that before, so I didn’t know how to deal with it. But now that we know what it is, I think we’re finally getting it under control. I’d like to take this moment to give a hearty thanks to all of my supporters out there (both in the real-world and in the cyber-world) who stuck by me through my hard times. And for those of you who abandoned me…well, you’re not reading this, are you? YOUR LOSS. HA!

Ok, sorry, just had to stick my tongue out just a little. 

My main point is, mental illness is poorly understood and greatly stigmatized in American culture. (I assume in many other cultures, too, but I don’t want to generalize too much.) We need this stigma to stop. It’s the people who speak out about their illnesses that get the support that they need, and it’s the people who are abandoned and stigmatized that often end up losing their sense of who they are…We need to end the stigma!



I’ve been doing my part to end the stigma by organizing a Suicide and Mental Illness Awareness Theme in September and October. You can sign up on the post, or just jump in at the last minute. It’s all good. I’ll have some giveaways and some guest bloggers (still looking for people, so if you have something you’d like to share on the subject, just let me know!). In the following week, I’ll post a list of books / movies just to give you ideas. But this is very informal. If you think your book, essay, documentary, movie, etc. fits the theme, it counts! Write a review and send me the link. Reviews on Goodreads, blogs, or any sort of public post will work. I’ll post a list of the reviews as I collect them, so everyone can see what other people are doing. 

Other than that, my blog has been sadly inactive, other than occasional poetry posts – Facing My Demons


Recent Acquisitions

This week, I have acquired only one new book, and it was the Free Friday book on the Nook:


Text copyright 2014, by Rachel B. Images of Minnesota are stock photos purchased from depositphotos