Tag Archive | therapeutic intervention

Therapeutic Page Turning – A year of books

1934471_10207214332490178_6824455770047232319_nI read. A lot. It’s therapeutical and just about anyone who really knows me will readily attest to my need for therapeutic intervention. Some of the greatest minds to have ever put pen to a page have lent their wisdoms and talents to greatly benefit my physical and mental well-being. My blood pressure regulates, my blood sugars lower, and my anxieties are quelled when I sit with a book in my hand.

I’ve tried other forms of treatment. I’ve driven to offices in multi-storied medical centers or cozy little cottage-like buildings and sat upon soft leather chairs, scratchy linen covered sofas, or hard plastic chairs and stared across the room at men and women with their achievements and accolades in gilded frames upon their walls, listening, or at least trying to listen, to their assessments and suggestions. They almost always sent me away with prescriptions and referrals, some of which I tried, some of which were necessary, but none of them proffered any relief without medicinal, chemical or what I felt, intrusive aide.

So with the exception of those doctors and specialists I needed to control the physical aspects of my healthcare, I stopped driving to their offices. I stopped seeking assistance in the form of degreed professionals and I sat in my own cozy, softly covered chair in my own lovely living room or beneath the soothing sun beaming down upon my porch and began to read. Reading was nothing new, I’ve devoured books throughout my life, but somehow I had forgotten the healing power of simply relaxing and drifting into another world and losing myself, as well as my worries and fears and whatever ailments are ailing me, between the covers of a book.

Some days, some weeks and months, my need is greater than others. My family often jokes that when I am on a reading bender, it means I’m crazier than usual, and often that is true. Sometimes though, I read simply for the joy of reading. Either way, it benefits me and fills a need within me.

In January I decided I’d keep track of the books I’ve read for the year. I also decided I’d write up a little review for each of them, but after reading one I’d grab another, and then another and the reviews were forgotten. I’m determined to do it still, but I have to finish my current selection first . . . we’ll see what happens.

Maybe my Books I’ve Read list will one day become a Books to be Read for my children and grandchildren and they will begin their own list for future generations of readers. I like the thought of that.

My list thus far is varied and random, as it will always be – Some months the number is higher, some lower.  I’m curious to see the picture my monthly page count paints as a reflection upon the status of my state of mind over time.

Books Read in 2016 – January & February 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – 247 pages

The Tragedy of Mr. Morn by Vladimir Nabokov – 144 pages

Iremonger, Heap House by Edward Carey – 405 pages

Foulsham, Heap House by Edward Carey – 324 pages

Lungdon, Heap House by Edward Carey – 502 pages

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – 293 pages

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Expury – 96 pages

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle – 245 pages

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury – 275 pages

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – 160 pages

The Asylum Novellas by Madeleine Roux – 337 pages

Blindness by Jose Saramago – 326 pages

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – 357 pages

The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Green – 267 pages

The Defense by Vladimir Nabokov – 256 pages

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy – 53 pages

Look at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut – 251 pages

The Storied life of A.J. Fikry by Gabriella Zevin – 267 pages

How to Think Like daVinci by Daniel Smith – 186 pages

Candide by Voltaire – 130 pages

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – 333 pages

The Man Who Made Lists, Love, death, madness & the creation of Roget’s Thesaurus by Joshua Kendall – 294 pages

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King – 495 pages

Alice by Christina Henry – 291 pages

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame Smith – 317 pages

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K. Dick – 244 pages

Midway into March now and I have a growing stack of books to add to the list and beautifully filled shelves of books waiting to be read. I think my therapy is going well . . .

Self Medicating – A Confession


VintageLadies-029I have a confession to make . . . I self-medicate.

My addiction, and I readily admit it to be one, is relatively harmless. Granted, it sometimes interferes with my daily activities like keeping up with housework and feeding my family, but I manage and they accept and expect certain delays when I’m having a particularly rough patch and my need to self soothe is great.

I suppose I should begin with an explanation – the reasons I do what I do. I have spent many years in the clutches of an anxiety disorder. I battle with chronic pain and fight Diabetes and brain fog. I’m tired, so very, very tired. I’m entering year my 27th year of parenting, two of my four amazing children are autistic blessings (one with the added excitement of Bipolar), and still require a bit more assistance and guidance than most young men their age.

Sometimes I find myself in need of something more than patience and happy thoughts and all the other blah, blah, blahs we feed our psyche with, and I found a way to fulfill that need. Truthfully, I found it when I was younger than most, so it has always been a go-to of sorts for me. Honestly, while it does indeed help me deal with the not so easy parts of life, it enhances the good parts as well. It can be expensive, but I’ve found certain places where the cost is reasonable, though I confess to opting for the pricier options perhaps a bit too often. My favorite dealer is about ten miles from home, I usually go every Sunday to stock up for the week.

When (for lack of a better term) I get my * fix *, I am transported and transcended into a reality entirely different from my own – the one I find the need to escape now and then, the reality where anxiety and pain and frustration thrives. I find peace and comfort and tranquility in the altered state of consciousness I drift peacefully into when I take refuge in another world that opens itself up to embrace me when I come to the door and knock.

Hours can pass, sometimes entire days and nights in that magical place. When one journey ends and I return to my own plane of existence, I oftentimes hastily return, not yet ready to face it all. Days can be lost, but the journey is so pleasant. I always come back – eventually, though the thoughts of my return are never far from the forefront of my mind.

I wish I could describe with even some amount of accuracy and clarity what I experience each time I cross over into whatever place it is I go, but each time is different than the last. I never know what awaits me, sometimes it’s simply glorious, sometimes, though not often because I am quite careful to choose my product carefully, I am left disappointed and greedily reach for more to fulfill the still burning need within me.

I don’t want to give the impression that I live life in an always altered state. I  do all the things, well, many of the things everyone else does. I run errands, (I do partake while outside of my home quite often, never while driving of course), I watch television, (sometimes my attentions are divided, but I am able to maintain my focus even though part of me has one foot on the other side of that door), I laugh and talk with my children, sometimes they join me and we all sit together, separated only by the unique experience taking place within each of us. They don’t indulge nearly as much as I do, however. My husband abstains almost entirely, though I do try to entice him with tales of my own experiences. It doesn’t affect him the way it does me though.

I realize that my particular need and how I choose to satisfy it is not for everyone. There are those who cannot understand why I do it, or at least why I do it so often. For them, once a month or once every few months is enough. I know there are those who don’t even go near it. Personally, I think their lives, their hearts, and their minds would be better if they did. But, to each their own as they say. I’ll not stand in judgment of them, and hope they’ll not judge me.

The fact is, without this outlet – this relief – I might very well lose my mind. I truly believe, in fact, I know, it helps me focus, keeps my mind sharp and my heart calm.

jcxoxGLziYou may be wondering what my particular drug of choice might be . . . it’s books.  Glorious, wonderful, beautiful books. Words, words, and more words. I can’t get enough of them. New words, old words, classics, new authors, short books, long books, serious books, scary books, sci-fi, fantasy, memoir, biographies, auto-biographies, essays, poetry, research, history, inspirational, funny, etc., etc., etc..

There is sufficient enough research compiled to conclude that reading is akin to downing a wonder-drug of sorts. It aides in stress relief, sleep, memory, and focus – basically, all the good stuff we want to maintain.

“Reading reduced stress levels by 68 per cent, said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis. Subjects only needed to ecM9Ao5cnread, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles, he found. In fact it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started. Listening to music reduced the levels by 61 per cent, having a cup of tea or coffee lowered them by 54 per cent and taking a walk by 42 percent.” The Telegraph 

“After reading a novel, actual changes linger in the brain, at least for a few days,”  The Washington Post

“Neurological researchers have spent years studying the impact of books on the brain. They’ve identified a compelling link between the act of chomping through a novel and enhanced cognitive ability. Reading, it transpires, has a profound effect on mental agility, the memory and our aptitude for imagination and compassion. It can also help to alleviate stress and aid sleep.  Stylist

“Snuggling up with a good read tamps down levels of unhealthy stress hormones such as cortisol,” Readers Digest

c376f75f9f5a035f59f0f3c475e61ee6”In fact, the practice of using books, poetry and other written words as a form of therapy has helped humans for centuries. Fiction is a uniquely powerful way to understand others, tap into creativity and exercise your brain.” bufferopen

“Reading for pleasure in general can also help prevent conditions such as stress, depression, and dementia,” says Wilkinson. “Research has shown that people who read for pleasure regularly report fewer feelings of stress and depression than non-readers.”  “ . . .people who read books regularly “are on average more satisfied with life, happier, and more likely to feel that the things they do in life are worthwhile.” A recent survey of 1,500 adult readers found that 76% of them said that reading improves their life and helps make them feel good.” Fast Company


Now – grab a book for your body, mind, and soul and slip into another world for a spell – I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be glad you did.