Tagged: Mental Health Issues

Pieces of Me – Review

About the Book

Pieces of Me, Carrigan Richards

Teen/Young Adult Drams 302 Pages

Carrigan Richards Publishing (August 13, 2013)

One second. 

Seventeen-year-old Corinne has everything. Her life. Family. Friends. Boyfriend. But in that one second, she loses it all. Now she’s left with harrowing nightmares. Hallucinations. And panic attacks that seem to come out of nowhere. She tries everything to take the pain away, but there’s only one option she sees as a true way out.

When Corinne is sent to live in a psychiatric institution, she doesn’t want to talk. It’s pointless. They can’t help her. But slowly Corinne opens up and wants to remember what it’s like to be happy so she begins reliving her past life to her doctor. She knows she can’t live in the past, but she sees no future and is faced with the hardest decision of her life.

About the Author

Carrigan is the author of Pieces of Me, a young adult contemporary romance, and the Elemental Enchanters Series, a young adult paranormal romance. She was born in Cullman, Alabama, but grew up in Birmingham, and moved to Atlanta at 18. She earned her BA in English at Kennesaw State University. For as long as she can remember, she was always making up stories and characters inside her head, sometimes using her dolls to act out the scenes.

When she’s not writing (which is rare), she’s spending time with her family and friends, listening to music, playing with her two furbabies, or cheering on her Atlanta Braves.

Jenn’s Review

Another debut novel. YA/teen lit, not exactly romance, but it has a sweet little love story built into it.

This wasn’t an easy read for me. I kind of knew it wouldn’t be when Carrigan emailed me about reviewing PIECES OF ME. My family has front row seats to the unpleasant faces of mental health problems, and this stirred some painful memories.

Corrine is dealing with a lot. So much, that her parents are checking her into a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. She’s been through a lot, and at seventeen, she doesn’t have the life experience to sort out who she can really trust.

The author’s style feels a little clunky to me, not uncommon in debuts, but she more than makes up for it with realistic, sympathetic characters. I had a few moments when I needed to put the book down for a reality check (I really wanted to have a heart to heart with the protagonist, Corrine, about her less-than-best-friend, Lisa, who has serious issues of her own).

This is a teen read, but as a parent, I would approach this with caution. I would like my own daughter to read this, because, at 13, she’s already dealt with a suicidal friend. However, the storyline is heavy, and I’m not sure her attention span would stick it out. Without pulling out my personal soapbox, mental health issues, especially anxiety, depression, and PTSD are things that need to be talked about. They need to be on the table, and it’s time for the stigma to fall away. Ms. Richards takes a giant step in that direction with this story.

All of that said, the writing is a bit stiff, and the flashbacks get blurry, making the timeline a little hard to follow at times. This is one of those times that I would encourage the reader to stick it out. The story is worth it. The ENDING is worth it. Grab your tissues and hang on, because the further you get into the book, the harder it is to put down.

For those who might write this off as a depressing book, I challenge you to stick it out. Millions of people deal with these kinds of debilitating mental health issues every day, and Ms. Richards adeptly portrays the headspace of someone (especially a young someone) at the end of their rope.

And spoiler alert: the story has a happy ending. It’s not a unicorns and rainbows happy ending, but it’s a well-written happy ending. Four stars, and a standing ovation for Carrigan Richards for tackling this book.

Jenn reviews YA Fiction PIECES OF ME, a Carrigan Richards novel, in this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog.

Buy the Book

 This book is available in Kindle and in paperback editions from Amazon  [affiliiate link}

Mindfulness – Review

About the Book

Mindfulness, Mark Williams, and Danny Penman

Adult Health 288 Pages

Rodale Books; 1 edition (November 13, 2012)

Mindfulness reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and exhaustion. It promotes the kind of happiness and peace that gets into your bones. It seeps into everything you do and helps you meet the worst that life throws at you with new courage.

The book is based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBCT revolves around a straightforward form of mindfulness meditation which takes just a few minutes a day for the full benefits to be revealed. MBCT has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs for depression and is widely recommended by US physicians and the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence—in other words, it works. More importantly, it also works for people who are not depressed but who are struggling to keep up with the constant demands of the modern world.

MBCT was developed by the book’s author, Oxford professor Mark Williams, and his colleagues at the Universities of Cambridge and Toronto. By investing just 10 to 20 minutes each day, you can learn the simple mindfulness meditations at the heart of MBCT and fully reap their benefits. The book includes links to audio meditations to help guide you through the process. You’ll be surprised by how quickly these techniques will have you enjoying life again.

Jenn’s Review

I picked this book up some time ago, and due to Life happening (including buying a house and various upsets to my usual routine), this eight-week plan took me almost four months. Did that affect the overall benefits of the plan?

Not at all.

This book was worth taking my time to get through. Between practical explanations in each chapter, the downloadable, guided meditations, and independent practice, I finished the book with more tools than I began with (and I have been meditating for years).

The authors of MINDFULNESS lay a solid foundation of research and application before starting the reader on a series of weekly steps, gradually building on the previous week’s learning and practice.

This is more than a simple how-to book. You *could* just read straight through, but the better investment of time would be to tackle one chapter a week. Repeat the week until you are comfortable with the given practice before you move on.

I’ve read a number of books on meditation and mindfulness, but this is, by far, the most practical of them all. I’ve fallen back on the tools learned in this book to manage stress, anxiety, panic attacks and dietary issues. Definitely worth trying if you are interested in deepening your mindfulness.

Jenn shares her experience with the book, MINDFULNESS - AN EIGHT WEEK PLAN, on this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog.

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, Audiobook, paperback, hardback and CD Audio formats from Amazon. [affiliate link]

The Fibromyalgia Relief Book – Review

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Jenn reviews Miryam Ehrlich Williamson's THE FIBROMYALGIA RELIEF BOOK - nonfiction, health, self-care, chronic illness, chronic fatigue

About the Book

The Fibromyalgia Relief Book, Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

Adult, Health, 226 Pages

 Walker Books; 1 edition (October 1, 1998)

The Fibromyalgia Relief Book is the first self-help book for the 12 million people who suffer from fibromyalgia (FM) and for those who care for them. Miryam Ehrlich Williamson, who wrote the best-selling Fibromyalgia: A Comprehensive Approach, has spent two years consulting health professionals and hundreds of fellow FM sufferers to assemble the most extensive and useful advice to improve your quality of life. Her 213 proven pointers cover all aspects of your life and include:

* dietary changes and supplements to alleviate symptoms
* remedies and modifications to help you sleep
* how to make household and leisure activities bearable
* tips for lifting your mood and strengthening personal relationships
* strategies for making your job FM-friendly
* how to develop mind/body techniques to control pain, relieve stress, and overcome memory lapses

The Fibromyalgia Relief Book is the key to a more comfortable, rewarding lifestyle for anyone who has FM or the many illnesses associated with the syndrome and is an important resource for anyone caring for or living with an FM sufferer. It is sure to change people’s lives.

Jenn’s Review

I’ve struggled with Fibromyalgia for almost a decade now, and I’ve read my own fair share of books on how to best managing the debilitating, painful, exhausting condition. Miryam Ehrlich Williamson’s book, The Fibromyalgia Relief Book, makes it to the top of all my “Best of” lists for this topic.

Though the book is a bit dated (it was published before I was diagnosed), the everyday self-care advice in this volume is spot on. A few items in the nutrition and supplements areas are outdated, but aside from that, this is a must-have for anyone dealing with this condition.

I’ve already put a few of the author’s ideas into practice. Some, I was already doing, and others, I’ve made note of for future reference, as we update our home. All in all, this book was an amazing find. If you suffer from any kind of chronic illness, especially chronic pain or chronic fatigue, read this book!

Jenn reviews Miryam Ehrlich Williamson's THE FIBROMYALGIA RELIEF BOOK - nonfiction, health, self-care, chronic illness, chronic fatigue

Buy the Book

  This book is available from Amazon in a paperback edition.