Book Review | Leviathan Wakes

“For thirty years, Miller had worked security. Violence and death were familiar companions to him. Men, women. Animals. Kids. Once he’d held a woman’s hand while she bled to death. He’d killed two people, could still see them die if he closed his eyes and thought about it. If anyone had asked him, he’d have said there wasn’t much left that would shake him. But he’d never watched a war start before.”

Leviathan Wakes is the first book in a series by James S. A. Corey. I first heard about this book by watching a show called The Expanse, which was based off this series. I made it through a few episodes and then decided I would like to read the books before continuing the show.

Leviathan Wakes started out good, then went to great…and then got better. I am always a fan of science fiction, and this book packed a lot of emotional energy in between some smooth technical descriptions of “spacey stuff”. Epstein drive? Coolest thing I’ve ever heard. And then about halfway through the book, we get…wait for it….

[SPOILER ALERT]

.

.

.

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zombies.

Yep. James S. A. Corey managed to combine space and zombies. Space zombies. That’s when I became totally hooked. If my attention was only half mast before, space zombies gave me a fully erect literature hard-on. I devoured the second half of the book. All books have those periods where they kind of slow down, you lose interest, you put the book down for a few days and don’t pick it back up. I hit that point with this book about 50% into it, and then hit that plot point and was fully committed to finishing as soon as possible.

And just when you thought you knew where the story was going, they throw in another little plot twist right around the final showdown. I didn’t see it coming, and I was pleasantly surprised. Can’t say I get a lot of that in books these days. Really, it was refreshing.

I loved the characters in this book. Amos is, of course, a fan favorite. The funny guy that everyone loves. I waited with bated breath to see if he survives the whole length of the book and…well, you’ll have to read it to find out. But my favorite character in the whole book was Miller. Holden might have been the MC, but Miller stood out as one of the most dynamic characters. I felt for him like a drunk uncle. I wanted him to be happy, whatever the hell that meant for him. And I was so thankful to know that in the end, he gets exactly what he wants. Sigh of satisfaction.

However, like all books these days, I feel like this was written more as a screenplay than an actual novel. It was heavy on dialogue and scene descriptions in a way that would work great for a tv show (which it did end up becoming). I could even hear a little of my own writer’s voice in the way he phrased things and thought to myself, “funny, I could have written something like this”, which was an interesting way to critique my own work.

Should you read it?

Yep! It was enjoyable, engaging, and even humorous at times. And if you are a fan of Resident Evil or Dead Space, you’re going to love this. Not for the faint of heart. There are gruesome descriptions about bodyparts skittering around on the ground and stomach bile floating in midair like a churning ocean. Reader beware!


Have you read it? Leave your thoughts down below!

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Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications! 

 

When Are You Finished With Therapy?

In January 2018, I had just been dumped (seven days after New Years), I was working a job I hated, I was still living at home, and I was so depressed that the only options I saw for my future were to start therapy or suffer a nervous breakdown. I could feel the breakdown looming just outside the edge of my emotions. I was holding on by a thread; a thread that was frayed and about to snap. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own anymore. I needed help.

I sat in the therapists office on the verge of tears, ringing my shaking hands like I was washing them in soapy water, as I began to explain my situation. This was only going to work if I talked, I knew. I hated talking to people, especially strangers. But I knew I had to talk or it would have been a wasted trip and a waste of money. So I talked. And more came out than I ever expected from myself.

In my first hour session of therapy, I unloaded all of my deepest baggage in the hopes that she would be able to guide me away from the hypothetical ledge of my nervous breakdown.

It was this or the bridge.

One year ago yesterday (as I am writing this), I stepped into the therapists office for the first time. Yesterday, I walked out after having been put on “maintenance”, which meant I was done until I felt I needed to come back in again.

We had reached a point where I had nothing left to talk about. Things were going well. I had started working another part time job, I was in a healthy relationship with a wonderful man, I had coping mechanisms to help me when I was feeling anxious, and I was finally medicated to help deal with my depression and anxiety which before had completely consumed my life.

There was nothing left to talk about.

But life always has its ups and downs. I know that there may come a day when I will need to go back to her. That may be the result of a death in the family, another break up, financial struggles, or something completely unexpected.

So to answer the question “When are you finished with therapy?” I think no one is ever really done. You just enter periods of your life that are easier to manage on your own. But don’t feel bad about going back, starting your sessions back up, or asking for more help. Therapists and life coaches are there to give you advice, help you through the hard times, and get you back on your feet. They are an anchor in the angry sea of life. Allow them to ground you and guide you.


To find a therapist near you, check Psychology Today.

For more posts regarding my mental health journey, check out: Dealing With A Life Plateau, Things Become Okay, and Sunday Pep Talk | Trust Yourself.

Thank you for reading! Stay up to date with new blog posts by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

Kat

10 Ways To Move On After A Difficult Breakup

“Just put back the car keys or somebody’s gonna get hurt. Who are you calling at this hour? Sit down, come round, I need you now. We’ll work it all out, together. But we’re getting nowhere tonight. Now sleep, I promise it’ll all seem better somehow in time.” – Imogen Heap

Having your heart broken is one of the most painful experiences you could ever go through in life. That’s why I think everyone should have their heart broken at least once. Negativity like that only paves the way for growth, learning, and more self love than you ever thought was possible.

But when you are going through it, living with a broken heart feels like dying over and over again. It hurts. A lot.

So how can you lessen that pain?

Below are some of the things I did to help me through my first heart break. Maybe they will offer some comfort to you as well.


Infinite waters

 

This cool dude was my go-to for pulling myself out of my post-breakup blues. You can find videos on so many topics, all of which dealing with self care and your place in the universe. He talks about how to deal with your emotions, meditation, how to let go and move on…and we havn’t even had breakfast yet. Can I get a hello! On the bad days when I could see no good in the world and felt so alone, I would sit down and watch his videos and know that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one who had my heart broken. His videos filled me with nothing but peace and love.


Block them on all social media

 

This one’s hard. Like smothering a loved one to death with a pillow. But it’s just something you might have to do in order to move on. If I hadn’t blocked my ex on social media, I would never have moved on with my life. Blocking them on social media means severing all ties you have with that person. And let me tell you, if someone says you can be just friends with someone you once loved, then they weren’t in love with their ex, because you can never ever view someone you once loved as just a friend. If you truly had feelings, in my experience, you just can’t. If you can break the attachment you have for that person, you will move on much faster. Blocking them is a quick way to break that attachment. Out of sight, out of mind.

“So what you say we give it up and walk away. Nothing to salvage anyway.” – Imogen Heap


When you think of them immediately think of something else

 

The good old divergent thought technique. When your mind drifts to your ex, especially the emotionally charged memories, whether good or bad, be vigilant and switch your thought process to something else. If you follow those rabbit holes, you will end up in an emotional pining stage again. Do this enough and you will train your brain not to go there. Of course it’s ok to drift back into those memories every once in a while. It’s healthy to miss them. I mean, you did love them at one point. But this technique ensures you don’t end up staying there. Out of mind, out of emotions.

“You see this cup? This is literally my favorite cup. [He throws it through the window, shattering the window.] Now it’s gone forever. So it’s not real, and I don’t care about it anymore.” – Adventure Time


Hang out with your best friends

 

Friends and family are there to catch you when you fall. You’ve built up a social web of support, and now is the time to use it. So call up some of your best friends, plan a fun night out on the town where you can get all dressed up and feel fabulous. Flirt with new people. It feels good knowing you are wanted after being rejected by someone you cared about. Even if nothing comes of the flirting, sometimes you just need a good confidence boost after a brutal breakup. Or maybe you’re more into staying at home. That’s fine too. Plan a girl’s night with your favorite movies, snacks, and people. Have fun like you used to back before you met that person who broke your heart. Let them help you take your mind off of it for a night.


Take care of your physical self

 

Yep. Exercise. It will release endorphins, which make you happy. You can get out your frustrations and anger at your ex by working your fluff into tuff. And you’ll look bangin’! Just make sure you’re not doing it out of revenge or so that your ex will want you back. That is not a healthy way to think of it. Do it for you!


Rediscover who you are

 

I’ve talked about this in my post, For Those Afraid Of Love. When we enter into a relationship, sometimes the I becomes We and your autonomy is lost. After spending so much time with someone, you begin to base everything on your life around them, so when they leave, you may end up missing their routine, their habits, and their personality. But don’t forget that you are a complete person all by yourself. You were there before them and you will be there long after them. Rediscover your favorite hobbies, your favorite foods. Go to your favorite museum or library. Reread one of the books that helped make you who you are. I think that you will find comfort in finding yourself again. Fall in love with that person all over again and love yourself first.


Take time to be alone

 

As much as you may be tempted to go overboard with going out and keeping your mind occupied, you must also allow yourself some time to be alone. Lest you become one of those people who feel uncomfortable with themselves and the silence of being only with yourself. Spending time alone gives your mind an opportunity to work through all those complicated feelings. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to work on something, work on it, but doing it alone will rebuild your trust in yourself. It will rebuild your confidence and give you an opportunity to forgive yourself. This level of healing is best done alone.


Therapy

 

I was always skeptical of therapy. What could they do that my friends couldn’t? Well, it turns out, a lot. Talking to a trained professional will help you sort out all those complicated feelings inside of you. Most importantly, they offer valuable coping skills that can ease the pain of dealing with the loss. They become an anchor in your life, a constant that you can plan on and work with to boost yourself back onto the right path, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. To find a therapist near you, try Psychology Today. That’s how I found mine! And not all therapists are the same, so if you find one you don’t work well with, you can always shop around until you find the perfect fit.


Dont listen to triggering songs until you feel okay

 

Music can be a huge trigger for pain and pining. You’re driving along, minding your own business, and then a song comes on the radio and ruins your whole day. Maybe it was “your song”. Maybe the lyrics struck the perfect agonizing nerve. Whatever the reason, it can ruin your whole day. Try avoiding the music you listened to with that person to avoid entering that mindset. Instead, try finding new music that can serve to pump you up and make you feel great about yourself. My go to song after my painful breakup was Woman by Kesha. And months after the breakup, when I was truly doing okay, I heard a Post Malone song and the lyrics made me spiral back into that mindset of thinking about my ex. It happens. But when it does, there’s no reason you have to stay in that place. Change the station. Hit the next button. Or practice one of the tips above and change your thought to something else. Replacing those painful thoughts with something else will help those triggering songs become less of a trigger.


Stop thinking about what could have been

 

“The origin of suffering is attachment.” – Buddha’s Second Noble Truth

It’s the hope that kills you. I’ll let this post do the talking for this point. When things are over, let them go. Pain only lasts as long as you hold onto it.


Thanks for reading. If you’re going through a difficult breakup, I’m sorry, but don’t worry. It will get better. Trust me! I thought I would never find love again, and now I am with someone who truly respects me and treats me with so much love and adoration. Keep your head high and remember to keep loving yourself first and foremost.

Was this post helpful? Would you like to see more relationship posts? Leave your thoughts and comments down below!

Stay up to date with new blog posts by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

Kat

Sunday Pep Talk | Winter Blues

As I write this, the weather outside plays at false spring. The sun is shining, the skies are endlessly blue, whipped with an occasional white cloud that moves by quickly and without threat. Earlier it was raining. Tomorrow it will be snowing.

The winter months can be depressing. Shorter days and lack of sunlight bring our moods down. We struggle just to make it through to the spring, hoping that relief will come in April. We lock ourselves away from the bitter night winds and huddle under blankets and layers of warm clothing.

Like all the rest of nature, we need sunlight to survive. Without it, our souls wither. According to NIMH,

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD.

I know the worst months seem to never end, and the sunlit spring goes too quickly. But in these dormant months of housebound seclusion and shorter days, we can put our energy and work into other things. Instead of socializing with friends and going on outdoor adventures, the winter months are a wonderful time to start new projects.

Let’s take a look at a list of things you can do to combat the winter blues.


Learn a new skill

Read all the books

Write a book of your own

Complete a puzzle

Start a yoga routine

Sort through your things

Take a warm bath

Start a bullet journal

Make a playlist

Plan a vacation

Take naps


It’s ok to slow down in the winter. It should be a time of restoration, self care, and reflection. Take the extra time you need in order to be ok. If this means spending more time alone, take it. If that means putting your work on the front burner and powering through, do it. Just keep going and eventually things will improve. Remember to take care of yourself too, just like you take care of your loved ones. It’s also ok to put your needs first sometimes. Make sure your emotions and mental health are stable. You can’t pour from an empty cup.


Hang in there, friends! Winter only lasts 3 months! The days have already begun to grow longer! We can make it through!

Need a little more pep? Check out these Pep Talks: SAD, Gratitude, Growth.

Stay up to date with new blog posts by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

Kat

5 Ways To Get More Active Readers

Everyone wants the interaction, but no one wants to make the first move and reach out. We enter The Inactive Ego Trap. Inactive because no one ends up doing anything about it. Egotistical because everyone expects the other person to be the first to reach out. And trap because with your mind in this cycle, it can be difficult to get out of.

You spend minutes, days, hours, years watching your activity feed in the hopes that something will happen that will suddenly make your blog popular. And yes you may get a like here, a like there, but it’s nowhere near as many as you’d like. And yet you are unsure how to increase your readership’s interaction with your blog.

Introducing, The Proactive Blogger.

With the following tips, you will get more comments, more interaction, more views!

  1. Leave comments
  2. Answer comments on your posts
  3. Ask for feedback at the end of posts
  4. Participate in memes
  5. Join a blogging community

But wait, there’s more! Let’s expand on these points a bit.


Leave Comments On Other Blogs

If you really want to see your blog grow, let go of your ego. Let go of the anxiety of socially interacting with others on the internet. Remove emotion from the equation and do things the way a sociopath would do things. Would a sociopath leave a comment on someone’s post with the express interest in seeing that person return the favor on their own blog? Absolutely.

This is all tongue in cheek. Don’t worry. I don’t actually mean act like a sociopath. My goodness, there’s enough of those heartless souls out there in the world already. That was just the jokester Kat having some fun. The serious Kat is here to tell you that the power to increase activity on your blog lies within you. Yes, within you! Be bold. Be courageous. Be the first one to reach out. You never know! The person you want to do a collab post with might want to do one with you too, but is just too scared to ask first! The person whose blog you just left a comment on might see it and it might make their whole day because it’s the first comment they’ve recieved in weeks!

Reaching out first means being a leader. If you can do that, then they will come. And they will interact. Act with confidence and people seldom question it. So go ahead and take the first action. Leave a comment.


Answer Comments On Your Posts

Make sure to answer the comments that people leave for you too. They don’t just say nice things to get a quick “like” on their comment. They took the time out of their day to read your post and leave a comment. Take the time to write back. This is how you can start converstations and really get to know your reader base. You can find out what they liked and didn’t like, and they often have wonderful critiques as well.


Ask For Feedback At The End Of Posts

But how does one get comments in the first place? The structure of a good blog post always has a call to action at the end. Ask your readers questions about the post and the content involved. Give them an opportunity to talk about themselves (everyone loves talking about themselves a little). Present them with a chance to link a blog post of their own. This is a great way to give their posts more views too while also getting to know them a little better.


Participate In Memes

You can also try your hand at internet memes and surveys. These are the fun little writing prompts or games that you can add to your blog for some easy reading. Many online memes give you a chance to tag others, much like the Sunshine Blogger Award. This spreads an interactive vibe that you can use to build a bridge between bloggers that you respect or want to get to know better. Remember, there is a person behind every blog.


Join A Blogging Community

Lastly, joining a blogging community such as a facebook group or pinterest board is a great way to interact with bloggers and get more interaction on your blog. For example, I am a member of Blogging For New Bloggers, where they host promotion fridays in which you can share a post or page you would like more interaction with. But these groups really work the best for you when you are an engaged participant. You can lurk around these groups and learn a lot, but when you begin to interact with your fellow blogger hobbiests, you would be surprised at how many people are just like you, looking for a deeper connection than just “follow my blog so I can get more views”!


Thank you for reading! Do you have any other suggestions that I may have missed? We’d love to hear from you. (See, call to action! Do the thing!!)

Stay up to date with new blog posts by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

Kat

Wrist Exercises For Carpal Tunnel & Tendonitis

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I work part time as a librarian. Before that I, like many of you, had some preconceived notion that librarians had relatively easy jobs. You shelved books, gave people library cards, and wore cardigans like they were going out of style. Well, all of these things are true, but I didn’t realize just how much physical stress was involved in the job.

Now, I’m sure there’s a difference in public libraries and reference libraries. I happen to work in a reference library, so I can’t speak for those public librarians out there, but the physical strain my arms, wrists, and hands go through in a days work is enough to have already caused some serious problems.

Librarians Do A Lot Of Heavy Lifting

What goes on behind the closed doors of a reference library might surprise you. No, there’s no scientific experimentations or yakuza headquarters, but there is a lot of physical work going on. When you request materials, the librarians go in search of your requests in the tombs of the archives. Sometimes this means lifting heavy boxes and books for extended periods of time. Doesn’t sound too bad, though, right?

Except that when you consider the angle one must use to pull a book from the shelves, you end up with your wrist at a very odd angle. An angle that wrists aren’t that accustomed to. Too much of this can lead to carpal tunnel or even tendonitis. Just imagine pulling endless amounts of heavy books off a shelf with little time in between to rest your forarms and wrists. I recently reorganized a few shelves of my library, moving book after book to different shelves, as well as incorporating new books into the collection. The next day, my wrists were killing me. They ached relentlessly, which left me massaging my forearms in hopes the pain would stop. Unfortunately my feeble attempts didn’t do much good. I knew I had to go in search of something better.

What Are Carpal Tunnel And Tendonitis?

According to OrthoInfo,

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. The condition occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand — the median nerve — is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist.

In most patients, carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse over time, so early diagnosis and treatment are important. Early on, symptoms can often be relieved with simple measures like wearing a wrist splint or avoiding certain activities.

If pressure on the median nerve continues, however, it can lead to nerve damage and worsening symptoms. To prevent permanent damage, surgery to take pressure off the median nerve may be recommended for some patients.

while, according to HSS,

Tendonitis (also known as tendinitis or tenonitis) is a general term used to describe inflammation associated with a tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bone, and inflammation of these rope-like tissues is the most common cause of soft-tissue pain. Tendonitis differs from arthritis, which refers to inflammation of a joint. Common areas for the condition include the shoulder (which involves inflammation at one of the tendons of the rotator cuff), the elbow (tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow), the wrist, the knee (above and below the kneecap), the back of the ankle (Achilles tendonitis) and the foot.

The onset of tendonitis can usually be attributed to overuse of the associated area, but can also occur in areas where calcium deposits have developed.. As we grow older, repetitive motion can injure the tendon where it attaches to the bone, promoting an inflammatory response by the body. This inflammation can cause “pain on motion,” swelling, warmth, tenderness, and redness. This latter symptom is called “erythema” and refers to the dilation of the blood’s capillaries as part of the inflammatory process.

I’m sure there are countless ways in which a wrist could develope carpal tunnel or tendenitis. You can find cases of these wrist pains in secretaries, hairstylists, I.T. workers…the list goes on. And if you, like me, don’t know the proper stretches you can use to alleviate that built up stress, you could find yourself in a lot of pain!

What To Do About It?

First of all, let’s list the obvious ways to alleviate this problem, or at least make it more managable.


You can always try to:

Give it a rest
Wear a splint
Stretch the inflamed area
Avoid repetitive movements
Ask a medical professional


Sometimes these work, but you can’t always avoid repetitive movements if it’s for your job, and wearing a splint can make other tasks uncomfortable. It is always best advised to see a doctor if you are concerned you may be developing carpal tunnel or tendonitis. But I also understand that visits to the doctor can be expensive in this era and young professionals don’t always have the resources available to afford these costs. (Hello, this is why we need universal health care!)

I’d like to share with you some of the exercises I have found that helped ease those wrist pains to become more managable. My particular case of pain started in the lower palm of my hand, where it attaches to the wrist. The pain eventually spread to my thumbpad and the upper side of my wrist, encasing most of my thumb with a steady dull aching. I was having difficulties finding exercises for this particular area. These resources are the ones I have found most helpful.

After trying the very first exercise, I felt immediate relief. I couldn’t believe it! It still hurt, but the pain wasn’t a constant throb like it had been seconds earlier. Instead it only hurt when I moved my hand in a certain position. I continued to do this stretch and I do believe it triggered the exact tendon that was cramped, because the relief continued.

Afterwards, I found this video, and discovered that it stretched parts of my arms that I never really noticed were tight. I don’t know if this specifically helped my aching wrists because I couldn’t feel an immediate relief, but feeling the other muscles stretching in my arms, shoulders, and neck made me realize just how tight I was. I followed his instructions and my arms felt great afterwards. Of course it always feels good to stretch.


If anyone has any other suggestions, I would be so grateful for your input. If you are experiencing wrist pain, I urge you to contact your doctor if possible and practice self care by following some of the suggestions above. If you found this post helpful, please leave a comment, like, share, and subscribe!

Stay up to date with new blog posts by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

Kat