Richelle Mead!!! What have you done to me? I am in the big feels, the deep feelings of feels so much right now!! ADRIAN!! The Center will hold! I promise! Right? RIGHT??!!!
Wow, really though, I’m a mess after this book! Much of my “mess” feeling is because this book was not only told from Sydney’s POV but Adrian’s too. Technically, Sydney is still working with the Alchemists, although her eyes are now opened to their schemes. Her life has taken a new direction, a direction away from the hardcore rules and rigid beliefs of the Alchemists. Things are definitely complicated, especially with her little sister working with her now.
One thing that really blew my mind while reading this was the direction Mead took with Adrian and his use of Spirit and connecting it to mental health, particularly bipolar disorder. This was done so well. It is so similar to actual conditions that many people go through on a daily basis, medicated or not. I really respect this wise attention to these significant details.
I love this series! I highly recommend it! Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!
So I want to go over a few basics about this series. Elements that should be clearly understood. Strigoi are the undead Vampires that Dhampir guardians, like Rose is trying to become, protect their mortal Moroi Vampire charges from. Strigoi are immortal and, like I said, undead because they gave up that part of themselves by murdering the one they drank blood from. In a sense, they live to kill, if “living” is what you want to call it. The Dhampir guardians take them on and manage to kill them for good by one of three ways: beheading, a silver stake to the heart, and burning. Moroi, like Rose’s best friend Lissa, have the ability to use magic based on either air, water, fire, earth or, in rare cases, spirit. The Strigoi give this up , too, when they become monsters, and lose what I believe could possibly be a very powerful weapon, if the Moroi would just use magic to fight.
There is a major event in the very beginning of this book that sets the tone for how things are going to play out. Mainly, the Strigoi are teaming up to murder the royal Moroi families one by one. Because of the new threat against the royals, all the Moroi and Dhampir students at St. Vladimir’s Academy are grouping together with their family’s and their guardians at a ski lodge for the Christmas holidays. Interestingly enough, Rose’s mom makes an appearance as a guardian on duty, and I cant help but think, perhaps she’s worried about her daughter, too.
Lissa is on medication for depression, which I think is great. However, this definitely helps with her moods but leaves Lissa without the ability to use her spirit based magic. Spirit is a tricky kind of magic, very little is known about it. What is known is that it creates mental instability the more it is used. I think this is a really fascinating way to discuss depression and mental illness, because this is coming from a magic called “spirit” which isnt drawn from the outside world but from a person’s inner self.
Ultimately, though, this is just a great follow up to Vampire Academy. It’s fun, there is skiing and snowball fights… AND… lots of drama. Not to mention the wild ending. I may have cried for a second or that might have just been dust in my eyes… I’m sensitive, okay?
Anyways, I highly suggest this series! Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!
What a great beginning to this series! I am very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book!
Lissa and Rose are best friends, as close as humanly possible, and more because they are not exactly human. Lissa is a Moroi, basically a Vampire. But dont confuse her with a Strigoi, its these kinds of Vampires that are dangerous. Rose, however, is a Dhampir, and in this case it means she is Lissa’s Guardian, her protector. Lissa has complete trust in Rose, so much so that they have a special bond few others have: Rose can tune into Lissa and feel her emotions. She can even tune into Lissa to see from her perspective and know exactly what’s happening to her.
After they both survived the car crash responsible for the deaths of Lissa’s parents and brother, Andre, let’s just say, their lives got complicated and they ran away from the Academy hoping to feel safe. A lot more about why they ran away is covered in the book but I dont want to spoil it for anyone by going into details, suffice it to say that two years later they were caught and returned to the Academy.
They are both 17 at this point, and finishing up their time at school. It was a little overwhelming for me how accurately the author describes a high school like atmosphere. The way the rumor mill worked and particularly what the rumors were about, was dead on exactly true to what people talked about in my school, which is who is doing what with who! I’m sure I dont need to elaborate on that.
This author did a great job of discussing mental health, in my opinion. I thought she described cutting in such an easy to understand way, “to let IT out”. “It” in this context being the feelings, the emotions, to survive the pain inside of her head this is what Lissa did. I would like to add, that Rose assisted her in getting help with this. It’s just awesome to even breach this subject, to create awareness that there is help and also to create understanding which leads to weakening the stigma against mental illness, in this case Depression.
I recommend this for curling up in bed, rainy day, not feeling good maybe, reading. Lol. Well, I recommend it for anytime reading as well. Let’s just say, I recommend it, and leave it at that.
For myself, so much of depression is feeling a sense of emptiness, as if there is a literal void inside of me. I picture it as a dark space that is so black it sucks in any light that tries to reach inside and turns that light to nothing. Depression isnt always about actually feeling certain emotions, like sadness for example. Sometimes it is lacking the emotions, lacking the ability to care, to give a damn, that is what really becomes a struggle.
I have been working with my therapist on different ideas to cope with depression. One of the main ones is exercise. This isnt a new idea for anyone that is struggling. It is well known that exercise increases endorphins and makes body and mind feel better. However, this kind of backfired for me. I walked almost everyday for 3 weeks for about 30 minutes at a time, but on the end of the third week I broke my ankle! I was dumbfounded, I mean who breaks their ankle by simply walking and tripping over their own feet? Me, this girl. Now its months later and I’m mostly healed, so I’m doing yoga. Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. I’m enjoying it, but seriously, I’m waiting to see how I’m going to break something else.
I also began doing a gratitude journal. I love journaling and I keep one by me at all times so this isnt a stretch. What I do is when I am feeling down, or bored or lonely, I write down 5 things I’m grateful for. But the rule is that they have to be different things each time. I cant just say the same 5 things over and over. And, surprisingly, this can be hard sometimes. I really have to think about new things and what I appreciate. But, honestly, it works great for getting my head to start thinking in a more positive way, or at least stop the negative thought processes that hound me sometimes.
Today I’m doing pretty well. I’m feeling content with where I’m at right now. At least at this exact moment. Now, an hour from now, I could be feeling completely different. I’m hoping not, though.
It seems that everyone thinks that the cold winter months and lack of sunshine have a negative effect on emotions… That the season can cause a depression. I know this is true for many people, however, for me, winter is my favorite time of year (by the way, I live in the SE of the United States so it never gets too wintery here).
For me, I don’t like the constant sun. I especially don’t like the heat. Where I live, the heat is heavy and damp with moisture. One step outside and I feel like I’m already bathed in sweat. Its incredibly uncomfortable for me. I also like covering myself up. I do not like wearing shorts and t-shirts. I’m definitely a hoodie and jeans kinda girl. And yet, the very atmosphere I live in during spring, summer and most of fall practically forces me into less covering clothing or else I will be facing the very real possibility of heat stroke.
The sun seems to be trying to convince me to be happy. Like, “Look at these beautiful colors and leaves that glint golden in my light.” Can’t I just have some more storm clouds instead? Maybe some thunder and lightning with cold gusts of wind that create a great indoor environment perfect for reading under a blanket with a steaming cup of tea?
The sun is shining today on January 25, 2020 and its actually kinda warm outside. Why does this make me so depressed? I feel like something is wrong but I just can’t put my finger on what it is. Its like the sky is faking me out trying to convince me to be happy but I can’t fall for it. Maybe my brain just stubbornly wants to hold tight to depression on days like this.
Some days are just hard. Some days everything seems so much more difficult than it should. Common chores are just too much and unwanted distractions and interruptions seem like personal attacks on me.
I really thought I was getting out of that depression slump I’ve been in. I thought things were getting better and they were. My mood was improved and those little daily annoyances were easier to handle. However, the past two days my level of aggravation and depression has been escalating. Honestly, its been escalating quite rapidly. And that makes me feel bad for the people who love and support me because I’m just not fun to be around at these times.
I don’t know if the families and support systems of people living with bipolar, depression or any mood disorder understands the guilt that goes along with it. I feel so much guilt for not being always so happy and serene and easy to get along with. I also feel deep, deep remorseful shame for the times I lash out. And honestly, I don’t know how to apologize anymore. What do simple words like, “I’m sorry” mean when I cannot promise that I will never be in such an aggravated state again? Its not enough.
I know this is an overused metaphor, but I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster. I’m going up and up and I finally reach the top but only to plummet again.
I hope anyone else who is going through this has some good ways to cope. I read and sometimes do guided meditation. However, I have to sometimes force myself to even try.
Well, I’m trying today. Just one second at a time.
So, yeah, I made it to therapy on Thursday, January 9, 2020. I made it. However, I did not shower before I left my house and honestly, I wasn’t sure that I was even going to leave my house until I was in my car pulling out of the driveway.
A small step leads to another small step which leads to big leaps. A friend told me that. I may not have showered and dressed nicely for therapy but I did clean up and put on fresh clothes. “Got dressed today: check!” My therapist is amazing and she doesn’t judge me for this. She agrees that when my depression is so so bad, like it is now, that just leaving the house and getting to therapy is amazing.
I told her, my therapist, that next week I’m expecting her to pay me for coming. Definitely joking, but I feel like anyone going through such severe depression for any reason should get awards for any and all small accomplishments. For example, I put my coffee mug in the dishwasher and that really took effort! I know that’s terrible to admit, but geez, the dishes do not matter to me at all right now. My priority at this moment is to just simply get through today.
So, I’m saying to anyone who may also be going through depression for any reason… “A small step will lead to another small step, which will lead to big leaps.” If your just going to stay in bed today, try doing some stretches and drink some water. These little things can help your body feel better. And if your tackling anything outside of your den of safety, you’ll be okay. It will be okay.
I’ve been really depressed since right after Christmas. I’m not suicidal by any means, however, I did have one day so bad that I just wished to die rather than keep feeling. That was a bad day, but I’m very lucky that that is not everyday for me.
This depression feels too big. It feels too large. With a shape that is inadequate. This depression is not easy to keep inside of me so that it doesn’t effect other people. Its like my weak body is somehow carrying a large piece of ugly furniture and I’m stumbling and everybody walking by me is getting hit and nudged by this strange huge thing I’m carrying that I can’t even put down.
That is what really sucks about depression, one of the things that suck. Its that I can’t relax or take a break from it. Maybe sleeping could be considered a break? But I can’t sleep through this. Waking up, even if I were to somehow sleep for a month, this depression would be there, waiting.
People have asked me before what severe depression feels like. They want to know… Do they have it? What should they watch out for? How can they tell other people have it? Well, I do not know. I can tell people how I personally feel though. I feel like I’ve lost something. I feel like I’m suffering a loss, like I lost an important person in my life. Something I am looking for and I will never find. I feel sadness but I’m not sad. I just feel like something is wrong and I can’t name it or find it or fix it. But it feels like this constantly, even the people and pets and the books I read, they try but cannot fill this space in me. And I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that there is no magic pill, or doctor, or therapist, or anything that can be found and given to me that solves the problem. I’m not saying there is no help to be found. Honestly, anyone trying to help is helping just by their attempt or their presence.
So today, today I’m trying. I did some writing today, im reading more than I’ve been able to all week, I’m able to care today enough to simply put a cup in the dishwasher rather than leave it on the table. I’m trying today. And, right now, that is enough. I’m okay with these small steps.
One step at a time, one second at a time. And that’s okay.
My last Halloween read! I’ve never seen the movie, but of course I’ve seen some classic scenes that are played. And, yeah.. honestly it always seemed really gross (projectile vomiting, you know) so I was really surprised that the book actually was exactly that disturbing.
To give you a little background, the author, William Peter Blatty, also wrote the screenplay for the movie, which he did win an Academy award for. The book was published in 1971 and the movie came out in 1973. My mom was 16 at this time and she actually had to sneak out with friends to see this movie. Honestly, I am surprised that this movie would even be in the theaters of the small mountain town of Harlen, Kentucky. By the way, mom claims she couldn’t sleep for a week after this and that’s not surprising to me, because my mom had never in her life seen anything like that before.
Now about the book, I thought it was creepy in a demented way. In a… I didn’t want to know that… way. I am pretty sure that this was the first book that genuinely just grossed me out so completely. It’s not just the vomiting, it’s the whole idea of satanism and demons, especially the Black Mass that was described. I am not Religious, what I mean is that I follow no religion, however I do have my own spiritual beliefs which I’m very private about. But just because I’m not Catholic, did not make the desecration of holy places and objects any less disturbing.
The story follows a single mom, Chris, who happens to be a movie star. Her Daughter Regan is homeschooled by Chris’ assistant Sharon. The mother also has two other helpers, Wilie and Karl, a husband and wife from Sweden. When the drama with Regan starts, the Starlets director Dennings, is killed near her home and is killed in a way to suggest that a follower of the Satanic cult might be to blame. After this, everything gets worse… and really gross. And my main thought was how the secretary and assistants living with Chris really deserved a raise for everything they went through and did to help.
I did not expect the ending. There were some parts to the ending that I did expect but one of the outcomes completely threw me off. Which is good, I like being surprised.
I do not know if I can recommend this book or not. If you have a queasy stomach, it’s not for you! Dont even watch the movie… LET IT GO! However, if your interested in this area of the occult, then I do recommend it… just dont come trick or treating at my house!
Mom has exactly a week and a half of radiation left. She is doing so well with it! This honestly surprises me just because I always expect the worst but also I’m just so happy. I may partially be so happy because I really didn’t expect this to go so easily. Mom uses Aloe Vera gel, unscented just straight up Aloe, and she really has no burns or redness so far. She does experience some fatigue and some short lived headaches occasionally after her treatment but it’s nothing severe. Nothing that can be compared to chemotherapy. Of course, like I said, mom’s got a week and a half left so I will see if she remains feeling as good as she does. I will update again after she completes her radiation.
I am doing well. For the past week and off and on earlier, I have been driving mom to her radiation treatments. I have no problem with this, I enjoy being up early and I also enjoy the feeling I get when I know I’m successfully helping mom. I’ve been going through a depression lately, which makes everything so much harder. I find myself drifting off into bad thoughts about random events from the past and also things that bother me but really are not a big deal. I catch myself doing this while reading and it bothers me a lot. I will be staring at the page and yet, on the inside, I am somewhere completely different and also somewhere with a very negative feeling. This scares me. It scares me because of my fear of becoming embittered. I do not want this negativity to overcome me and turn me into a person that I do not want to be.
I will say that mom and I are helping each other equally. Not only does it help me to help her, but my mom is a great person to talk to and we are both able to empathize with one another right now. This empathy, a very real understanding of our separate and yet similar issues, is also surprising to me. It’s a very pleasant surprise and I really appreciate this gift we have been given at this time to have the ability to not just care for, but to compliment our care with such complete understanding. It is a wonderful feeling.
I hope anyone else who is getting through Chemotherapy and radiation has a helper and also, as a person struggling with Bipolar 1 disorder, I understand how lucky I am to have someone like my mom and the rest of my family to simply be there.
More updates coming soon. Thanks for reading! I wish the best for everyone out there. No matter what it is your going through, please hold on to hope.