Book Review; Coral – Sara Ella

There is more than one way to drown…

Page Count 384

 Publication date November 2019/ Publisher Thomas Nelson

GoodReads link

coral

 

Synopsis

Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin? Continue reading “Book Review; Coral – Sara Ella”

Accepting My Diagnosis pt2

Today I am bed bound. My hands and feet feel prickly and ice cold, my arms and legs are just useless sacks of wet heavy sand. As a child did you ever playfully punch eachother in the fleshy part of your triceps or thighs and shout DEAD LEG? Imagine this was done to every muscle in your body. That’s what M.E CFS is to me.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome effects 250,000 people in the UK alone. Two thirds of which are women aged between 20-40 years old. Just. Like. Me.

I was diagnosed after all other tests came back negative. My regular GP was unavailable and I’d been to see an alternative. After reviewing my medical history, discussing all the symptoms I’d had recurring for the past 2 years and looking at yet another set of inconclusive blood tests he insisted this was infact ME CFS.

I was relieved, angry and scared.
Relieved to finally have an answer.
Angry in my refusal to accept a new weakness.
Scared of the reality that this might not go away.

There is no ‘cure’ or medication that will help me. There is no proof of my condition to wave in the face of the eye-rollers and non-believers. Even those I love who I know love me in return can’t always hide their expressions well enough. I can see when they’re frustrated with me. I can see when they think I’m being dramatic. I can see when they wonder if I’m just a hypochondriac.

There is a long list of symptoms relevant to ME CFS, including the 75% below which apply to me

-Persistent fatigue
-Aching muscles and joints
-Pins and needles
-Poor circulation
-Muscle cramps and twitching
-Headaches
– Poor temperature control
– IBS
– Bloating
– Hypersomnia
– Memory problems
– Word finding difficulty
– Loss of balance
– Sensitivity to sound

and my personal worst… PAYBACK.
Also known as post exertional malaise.

It’s payback that has me lying here in bed this morning. Though this time I’m not sure what exactly I’m being paid back for.
Usually all my symptoms attack at once if I’ve been active. Maybe I went out for the day, did some shopping, socialised with friends, walked too much or drove too far. Never anything major- just normal day to day life, except for me these kind of activities are punishable now.
Today I’m not even strong enough to raise my arms and brush my own hair. I have to rest and recharge my body’s dodgy battery.

What’s worst about this is the way MEcfs combines so easily with my anxiety. Every second I rest my brain is shouting at me for wasting precious time. Since I’m not at work I should be cleaning, learning, creating.. DOING something. But this isn’t physically possible so I’ll beat myself mentally instead; why can’t I just THINK my way out of this? FORCE myself out of bed and be productive?

I’ve learned now that to ignore my limitations will only increase the suffering they call ‘payback’, I have no choice but to rest when these moments come. And you know what else? It doesn’t matter if other people don’t understand it, or don’t believe me, I know how I feel and I know what I need.
The next battle is with my brain, all that remains is to silence my irrational guilt and self disgust.

How I Became A Book Blogger

The origin story of An Average Life

I always loved reading as a child. I know most of our stories start this way, but hey! It’s true.

In fact you can read all about my childhood library memories in my newbie blogger spotlight over at Jennie-Ly’s blog HERE 

As I got older, music and socialising became more important to me than books. Please, forgive my blasphemy.
So from the age of 13 to 16 I barely read. I was too busy window shopping, watching angsty local bands and truanting in what my adult self now recognises as the perfect cliche of childhood rebellion. *Eyeroll*

At 17 I was living with my boyfriends family, going to college and working part time. Most nights we were hanging out in your typical teen aged gang at each others houses. I would read books on occasion, but I wanted to spend my money on other things. £8 per book in Ottakars (now a Waterstones) was too steep for the speed I would read them and there was never anything new in our town library- Their fiction section is still tiny and outdated to this day.

I had a handful of mass market authors I would buy at release, namely Gerritsen, Cole, Rose, Slaughter and of course The King– but I didn’t stray much further until…

THE KINDLE.

*Cue angelic singing and heavenly light*

The original Kindle was my first purchase when I obtained a management career and I was immediately hooked back in. Being able to shop for instantly accessible books at any time reignited my love of reading. I had plenty of time on my commute to work and was once again reading myself to sleep at night.

But what about the blogging? That’s why we’re here right?

By 2016 I was in a bit of a pickle. I had raging anxiety, a stressful job and a divorce to finalise.
At the same time my dearest friend had gone travelling and started up a little blog for himself (since shut down unfortunately). I loved reading about his escapades and when he returned he suggested I start my own as a hobby.
It doesn’t matter whether anyone reads it, he said, just having a place to ramble and a creative outlet would do wonders for my mind.

He signed me up to WordPress and told me to give it a try.

And so I did.
And it was awful 😂

I had no schedule, no audience and no idea what I was doing. I didn’t want to share this part of myself with my family or friends but I was desperate for engagement.

I took to Twitter next.
I made a new profile with no IRL connections, no personal images and no use of my name. Completely anonymous.
After researching a little about the book community I cautiously reached out and began to join chats, the first of which being the wonderfully welcoming #SundayYA.

Finally, other people that wanted to talk about books! There has never been any bookworms in my family or social circle, seriously, why are they so hard to find?

I marveled at their blogs and traced their tags and memes to more and more incredible sites- realising with green eyed envy that my own efforts were minuscule.

I made the decision then to shut down AnAverageLife. I had charged in completely unprepared and needed a clean slate.
I gave myself 6 months to learn some very basic coding, create simple images and draft several posts- meanwhile cultivating my Twitter account and dropping hints about the upcoming relaunch of AnAverageLife.

This time I was going to be proud of my efforts. I created this About Me page, put up photos of myself and began using my actual name online.

On my 30th birthday in August 2018 I relaunched this site. Since then I’ve increased my online audience to almost 2400 across both platforms. I regularly participate in blog tours, joined Netgalley, made it onto several publisher mailing lists and most importantly have made some INCREDIBLE friends.

I became a blogger to distract myself from anxiety and depression but it has become SO MUCH MORE  than that.

Blogging has led me to a wonderfully diverse and supportive community, kind and caring friends whom I speak to – sometimes more than my real life pals- and a feeling of belonging that I hadn’t known I was searching for.

How did you become a blogger?

What does it mean to you?

Unfollow, Mute or Block?

Why I’m heavy handed with my social media settings…

Social media is a tricksy beast. It can be a wonderful source of comfort, companionship and support, or it can drag you down into a black hole of negativity. I firmly believe there’s a knack to using the tools at our disposal. Today I’m sharing my methods… Continue reading “Unfollow, Mute or Block?”

Accepting My Diagnosis pt1: Generalised Anxiety Disorder

I’ve been diagnosed and medicated for General Anxiety Disorder for approximately 5 years now. A relative sat me down and helped me list all my symptoms- many of which I had never noticed until she pointed them out to me, some of them were habits I had never thought to analyse. We filled an A4 page so I booked a medical assessment. Now here we are… Continue reading “Accepting My Diagnosis pt1: Generalised Anxiety Disorder”