Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Christmas Catch-Up, Some Explaining and Some Blog Changes



dancing animated GIF
Happy New Year
That gif above is probably the most amazing thing in existence. It also means that Dumbledore can be excited about the new year for me, because I can't be bothered. 


I've been a little absent from the blog recently, so I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about my Christmas and the last few weeks. I also want to address some a few things, mainly why I have been rather absent blog wise for the last few months and some few changes coming to the blog. But first... CHRISTMAS! 

excited animated GIF Christmas was so much fun! My family went completely over the top, as usual, but we had so much fun together. Me and the boyfriend woke up early Christmas day, to spend time together before he went to work. I was so happy with my presents from him, lots and lots of books. After he went to work my dad came to get me to take me to my parents house. Me, my parents, my two sisters and one of their partners were there in the morning. It took as an hour and half to open presents, which was a lot of fun getting to see what they made of all their gifts.

new girl animated GIF I got so many cool presents, including a ton more books, lots of Harry Potter stuff and a very unexpected gift from my nan. She usually sends us a £20 cheque each, so we all nearly fainted when we opened them this year. We lost my grandad the year before, so this year she'd decided to send a large cheque to all the grandchildren, so we could enjoy the money whilst she's alive. One sister is planning her dream trip to Disneyland, the other is planning a Christmas trip to Hong Kong. And me... I'm still in shock. I think I might use it for a new laptop and a new camera. Maybe a holiday. Decisions aren't my strong suit. 

We had a great meal and then one sister went off to pick up her girlfriend, whilst I went to pick up James from work. The evening was spent with us 8, then my cousins, uncle, cousins boyfriend, nan and adorably cute baby second cousin joined us. There was drinking, laughter, games and fun and I had the greatest time and loved every minute. Boxing Day was more of a relaxing day, where we mostly lazed around together and ate food and watched some movies. It was a great way to recover from a very busy Christmas day. 

The day after Boxing Day was a day I was really looking forward to. We were all going on the Harry Potter Studio Tour. I'd already been once, with my eldest sister and her boyfriend, but this time it was during Christmas when they set the Great Hall up with all the Christmas trees and have the castle covered in snow. I couldn't wait! There were 8 of us and we all had a great day. I definitely recommend the tour for any Harry Potter fans out there, you won't regret it.


Some Explaining

I decided to start this post by talking about Christmas because it was something more lighthearted. But now that I am on to the more serious part of the blog post and I am not sure where to begin or what I even want to say. Let me start by saying that I'd felt for a while that I was having a blog and reading slump. It took a few months to realise it was something else entirely.


By looking at the amount I've been blogging recently, it was clear that something wasn't right and something had changed. I usually average between 23-30 blog posts a month. That has been the same for almost the whole year or so that I've been blogging. But in the last few months I just haven't been able to sit down and write them. I've had more blog breaks then I can count. I only posted 14 posts in November and 15 in December. That's not many at all for me. I've also not been visiting all my other bloggers as much, something that I love to do. I felt terrible, like I was failing at something but not really knowing why.

But I want to thank Cait at Paper Fury for her blog post about unnecessary apologising. That post helped me so much at a time when I thought all I should be doing was apologising. I felt like I needed to write an apology at the beginning of every blog post, saying sorry it had been so long since my last one, or sorry that I hadn't replied to comments, sorry I hadn't visited my fellow bloggers in a while. But apologising just made me feel worse, like I was doing something wrong or failing at something. And I wasn't. So I stopped.

I thought my problem was that I was just hitting a slump blog wise. That seemed the best explanation for why I'd sit at laptop for hours, staring at the screen but being unable to write something. Or why I could read a book but then not have anything to say about it review wise. I didn't link it up with anything else going on in my life.

In the last 3 or 4 weeks, I'd begun to realise that my problem was bigger than the blog. I wasn't able to sleep at all, I'd be lying awake till 5 or 6 in the morning. I'd be getting up for work with zero energy, not knowing why I couldn't switch off at night and just sleep. I lost my appetite and I could get to ten at night and realise I hadn't eaten a thing all day. I'd walk off at work to go do something, before realising I'd be standing somewhere having no idea why I was there or what I was supposed to be doing. I just wanted to spend my days indoors, lying in bed and doing nothing; I avoided phone calls, texts and invitations to go out and do things. And then there was the bursting into tears and having no clue why I was even crying. I probably should have realised a lot sooner that there was something wrong, but I didn't.

I finally booked an appointment with the doctor once I realised that maybe something was wrong, or once other people pointed it out to me would be closer to the truth. I am so happy I booked that appointment, the doctor was a big help. He thinks my problems are stressed related, which once he said it it made sense. Our library is losing half it's budget and most of us will be losing our jobs soon. I've struggled to find a job elsewhere and I have more financial worries this year then I can handle. Not to mention the pressure us bloggers have a habit of putting on ourselves blog wise. The doctor has prescribed me with anti-depressants though, and I'm hoping these will help me. Although they do cause me to become beyond tired, a side effect I hope wears off over time.

So just bear with me! I'm hoping the next few weeks will see an improvement in my mood and my ability to blog.


Blog Changes

There are no drastic blog changes coming, but I will be blogging a little less. I think I put too much pressure on myself to post something 5 or 6 days out of the week. Something that is hard to do when you also work every day, need to fit in time for reading and also important things like sleep and food. So the main change will be that I will be aiming to post 3 or 4 times a week, instead of trying to have a post up every day. It's time to stop putting all this unnecessary pressure on myself!


Thank you!

If you managed to get through that whole post then thank you! I don't even know what I'm going on about half the time, haha. I just felt it was important to explain why the blog has been a bit all over the place recently. I'm hopeful that I will start to see an improvement in my mood very soon. Fingers crossed! Thank you all for being the understanding, wonderful, helpful people that you are. It made me feel sick posting this, but honesty feels like the best policy in this instance.



My Year in Books: End of Year Book Survey
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo



55 comments:

  1. Aww hunny! I can't say I'm not pleased that you've finally gone the doctors, you haven't been yourself lately and it's nice to see somethings being done to help you. You seriously don't need to worry about blogging all the time, it's not expected of you, you don't have to do it, you can just chill out and be yourself and do whatever you like. I'm sorry work isn't looking up, I'm sorry that things aren't looking great too, but Christmas and like must have been lovely. Oh, and if you've got a chunk of money, since the whole money worry, why not save a bunch of it, see what happens in the next few months and take it from there. Good luck getting better hunny! :)

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    1. Christmas was wonderful and I loved every minute of it. I'm glad I finally realised there was something wrong and went to the doctors too. The tablets have helped, but the side effects from these ones are a bit too intense. So hopefully will change to another one that won't knock me out so much.

      The money is sitting in my savings account, where it will probably stay for the near distant future. I do really want a camera though, something I will probably buy first and then save the rest of the money for if and when I need it.

      Thank you, hopefully I start to feel better real soon.

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  2. *hugs* It is definitely more important to get yourself back in a better place than to be worrying about the blogsphere! I am glad you are doing better though and hopefully a lot better and back to yourself very soon.

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    1. I hope so! I am trying to worry less about the blog and just go with the flow. I'm trying to get back on top of commenting and replying, that will be a big thing to conquer.

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  3. Blogging should be something you do for fun - to combat the stress!! I have felt that my blog became a chore, so now I blog for myself and myself only. I have maybe 3 posts a week on a good week, but that makes me happier and less stressed!

    Hope you feel better soon!!!!

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    1. Thank you! I am thinking that will work better for me, especially if and when I have a new job that will probably take up a lot more of my time.

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  4. Oh man. Charnell, take care of yourself. You don't need to apologize to anyone for being absent. We all have taken breaks or randomly dropped off the blogging world before. Don't worry about posting. The majority of the time I'm happy when I get 3 posts out a week. Posting is not important, YOU are. Take care of yourself. I'm saddened to hear about all the stress you're under. I hope everything works itself out and you're able to find a happier you.

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    1. I think I underestimated just how amazing and understanding the blog community is! All these comments have made me feel so much better and a lot less guilty. I feel better now that I've decided to not stress about the blog because it's not necessary and it's only me putting that stress on myself. Hopefully that will help :)

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  5. Aww I hope you feel better soon!!! Please don't feel pressured to pump out posts. That should not be something you stress about. You should enjoy them! So if you're not, definitely take a break. You have a lovely blog and I'm sure people who love it will stick around. I know I will! :D

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    1. Thank you, that's really lovely. I'm definitely stopping myself from stressing about the blog. It's helped realising just how wonderful and understanding you all are.

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  6. Take care of yourself before anything else! Blogging should be more fun than stressful so as a reader of your blog I completely understand to see less blog posts. You don't have to apologize. :)

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    1. Thank you :) It's been lovely knowing that everyone seems to get it and understand. It feels good to know that blogging is one thing I don't need to stress over.

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  7. I hope you feel better soon.
    Don't worry about organising posts - you come first!
    *hug*

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  8. OH LET ME JUST HUG YOU, CHARNELL, THIS IS SADNESS BUT ALSO COMPLETE OKAYNESS. (Yes. Okayness is totally a word.) Seriously, though I'm glad that post made a difference. *blushes* And I still stand absolutely by it...don't ever say sorry to us. And stress is a HUGE thing. And you should really always take care of yourself first. I, personally, see zero point in blogging if it makes you sick or stressed or not feeling like reading. Of course I'll miss reading all your fab posts, but I WILL BE HERE FOR WHENEVER YOU DO POST. Don't ever feel bad. Blog for you, not for us. *nods*

    ALSO your Christmas sounded amazing and yaaaay for Harry Potterness and the awesome gift from your Nan! That is amazing and she must be the most lovely person of the world!

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    1. I totally feel like okayness is a word. If it isn't in the dictionary, it really should be. We should get working on that. It really did make a difference, it felt good to stop apologising for every little thing. It just made me feel like I was doing something wrong, which I wasn't. Sometimes life just gets in the way of blogging, something I know all you book bloggers will understand.

      The sad thing is that I do enjoy blogging, it doesn't stress me out. It's the stress of everything else that seemed to be making it hard for me to blog. I hope this changes soon though! :)

      She really is! It was a wonderful surprise... even if I did ring her and tell her she's crazy haha!

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  9. That gif made me laugh

    SO

    HARD.

    So hard. Can't breathe. Great to hear you had such a great Christmas. And what a nice surprise from you grandma! (I'm very sorry to hear about your grandad though. My grandma lost her sister last month as well.) If you are stressed, a holiday might not be a bad idea. maybe the Eurostar to... Europe. XD I know quite a few people are nervous about flying right now.

    It was a bit scary to read what you're going through. It seems we share a lot of the same symptoms. Sleep problems, mind going suddenly blank in the middle of a sentence or in the middle of doing something, and very small task feeling like a very big deal... that's some of what it's like for me. It makes me feel sad to know you're suffering too, but the great thing is that you're receiving help. Looking for a new job is one of the most draining, frustrating, maddening and soul-sucking things I've ever had to do. I spend houuuurs looking, and pass by most because of the hours/pay/skill required/location and so on. Then the few I do find that seem to be okay - having to redrafting a cover letter to make it relevant to each one and checking my CV for suitability - it drives me crazy. But it seems I'll be leaving the bookstore soon so I have to get a new job asap (Coincidence or what?) I guess after that I'll be relying on my fellow bloggers to keep me updated with bookish stuff!

    The best of luck with what you've got ahead of you right now, and I hope it all turns out to be a smooth ride. =]

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    1. YES!!! I have seen that one. And also the one about how Tumblr made us cry over Harry Potter! I LOVE THEM! They made me laugh uncontrollably and cry uncontrollably. But they're genius. I got stuck in an endless cycle of clicking on one HP related post and then they'd suggest another and I'd just go with it, haha.

      HAHA! OH MY YES! I hate flying so much and last year just made that fear even worse. Planes just disappearing doesn't really boost your confidence.

      I feel for you! I think I'm going to be leaving the library world and I am going to miss being surrounded by books all day. I won't miss some of the horrible customers though, so there is that positive. I did apply for one library job I saw, but I don't know if I will even get an interview. I know a lot of people who applied and they're more qualified than me. We shall see!

      I hope you start to feel better soon. Maybe you could get some help too. The tablets helped with sleeping, but a little too well. They knock you out for 14-15 hours at a time and it's not good or what I need.

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  10. Aw I hope things settle for you. That's great your Dr is on board and helping you figure things out :)

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  11. Awww I'm so sorry about all the stress!! I'm sure once you read more of your books you'll feel a bit better :D Blogging a little less and stepping back might reduce the stress a bit! Best of luck to you <33

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  12. I hope you feel better soon!! And maybe that nice gift from your nan can be a stress reliever too! :) I'm glad you had a great Christmas, and hope you can find some time to relax and rejuvenate.

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  13. Lol, I used to post all the time, but nowadays you're lucky to get 2 or 3 from me a week, unless I have a backup of reviews to post. I've taken to just going with the flow and following the mantra that "it's my blog and I'll do what I want". I also take breaks on occasion from it all so I don't get burned out. I hope by stepping back a little, you'll feel more relaxed.

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    1. I hope so to! And I am definitely taking on the mantra of "It's my blog and I'll do what I want!" haha. Mostly because it's true.

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  14. It's good to see that you had an awesome Christmas and some time to relax in there. I really hope you get better soon. And yes, relaxing a bit more will hopefully help. Do take care and remember we'll all still be here whether you post once a week or seven times <3

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    1. Thank you! :) I am hoping I start to feel more like myself very soon.

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  15. Sounds like you had an amazing Christmas! It is awesome that you got to spend time and relax with your loved ones. I definitely know about the stress stuff. I hope that you are able to relax and de-stress. Take care of yourself. Feel better soon!

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    1. Thank you! :) I hope I start to feel better very soon.

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  16. I think blogging less often is a fabulous idea, I've even started to do it too - unless blogging is your full-time job then there's just no need to blog that often, we aren't super human! Sorry to hear that you've become unwell recently - many of us have been there and it isn't nice, but there's always that silver lining that with the right amount of TLC, looking after yourself and re-evaluating what's going on, we come out of it, and are more prepared should it ever happen again in the future. Maybe you've been using the blog to avoid the not-so-nice stuff going on in your life, and your body is forcing you to pay attention? Either way, I hope you feel better soon R xxx

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    1. Thank you. I really hope it helps, the tablets, the stressing less about the blog and trying to focus on finding a new job. I think I have been using the blog as a distraction from the losing the job aspect of life. I really do hope I start to feel a lot better very soon.

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  17. Definitely take some time for yourself, Charnell. Stress is the absolute worst and when it affects your wellbeing, it's time to tackle the root of the problem. I've had Cait's post at the back of my mind as well (it was brilliant) and yes, YOU are the most important person. YOU and YOUR wellbeing should come first. We all understand and we'll all support you. I post on average three times, maybe four and with uni starting, I don't even think I can keep that up but I'm perfectly alright with it. Double degree comes first (BECAUSE IM PAYING FOR IT LOL Oh higher education...)

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    1. It really was a brilliant post, it helped me finally stop apologising on the blog. I was apologising all the time before that. I feel like 3 to 4 is the average for most bloggers, so I shouldn't stress too much that I don't blog very often.

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  18. Take care of yourself Charnell <3 Stress is already worse enough and you don't have to put more pressure on yourself by worrying over the blog. We're all here even when you blog less, remember you don't HAVE to post a certain amount of things. You are important, so take a step back and take all the time you need :)

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    1. Thank you. I'm definitely realising that it's only me who's putting the pressure on myself. And I think 3 to 4 times is probably the average for a book blogger anyway.

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  19. First of all, I am so happy that you had a wonderful Christmas!
    Second of all, take care of yourself! Stress is awful and can really do a number of you. I'm proud of you for seeking help. Do not pressure yourself to blog a ton, your readers will be happy to read whatever you post.

    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

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  20. I hope the antidepressants help -- they have really, really helped me, and it's good to see someone else talking about it openly, too. People need to know it's an option, as normal as seeing the doctor for a persistent cough. Kudos for saying it.

    I'm glad you had a great Christmas, too!

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    1. Thank you. I know, I actually felt really embarrassed about going to my doctor because I couldn't pin point something that was actually wrong with me. It felt nice to be able to have an explanation for why I'd been feeling the way I had. I think it's better to be honest about it, rather than pretend it's something I should be embarrassed about. I hope they start to help me too, glad they're working for you. My only problem atm is the side effects of sleepiness are very intense.

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  21. I am so happy your Christmas was good and I am sad to hear you been struggling with things so much. I understand your need to want to apologize but really its your blog and you can post what where and how often you want. We will be here when you do and enjoy the posts when they are up but if you can't or don't feel like getting to it that is fine too. I really hope you start to feel better and find your joy and release your stress. 2015 will be a great year I am sure.

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    1. Thank you. I am really hoping 2015 will be a great year, a lot better than 2014! Fingers crossed :)

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  22. I started suffering from stress and depression in 2002 and I recognise all the symptoms you talked about. There were days when I just wanted to lie in bed and cry all day. The anti-depressants help to get control back in your life and they have been a huge difference to my mood and my life. Don't you worry about anything like blog posts! I've learned from experience that I have to stop worrying about the little things, and to do things at my pace and do things when I want to instead of getting all stressed about it. You need to take care of you first and the rest will fall into place. Good luck x

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    1. Thank you. I really hope they start to help me, I have been getting some bad side effects though so might need to ask to try a different kind. The ones I am on knock me out, make me sleep for 14-15 hours at a time. And I have to struggle to stay awake after taking them. I'm glad they have helped you and I hope they start working for me very soon.

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  23. Aw, I am so, so sorry that you have been going through so much! I know what you mean about the stress and pressure, I feel the exact same way. As for the antidepressants, hopefully the side effects will wear off. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor if you can't handle the effects though, he could probably help, or see if another medication is a better fit (I just went through this, so I figured I'd throw in my two cents!) But I am hoping that things will turn around for you very soon! In the meantime, don't worry about us, we'll be here :)

    I am so glad you had such a lovely Christmas with your family though! That helps too, having people you love and care about around to help you. Hang in there <3

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, glad to say that I am feeling a lot better now.

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  24. I'm so glad you went to the doctor and sought help! Bloggers do put too much pressure on themselves, I think, and when you have so many other stresses, it all adds up quickly!

    Take care of yourself!

    xx Millicent Nankivell

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  25. I know you've heard this a lot already but I TRULY hope you feel better! I just started blogging this year and finding your blog was a wonderful treat, not only because I love your posts but because you make the time to make small bloggers feel welcome! Stress is definitely something that can have a big impact on you health-wise and I think everyone will be understanding about posting less per week. But it won't deter how often I visit your blog, and I will look out excitedly for when you do post!

    Sending you lots of good thoughts!

    -Cristina

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! I feel so much better now, even if I haven't got back on track yet when it comes to blogging.

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  26. Just take care of yourself. Your blog is a hobby. Definitely no apology or explanation needed. Blog when you want to or can.
    But I definitely understand you. I always stress when I'm beyond on my schedule or don't have anything posted for a day or two. It's hard not to be. Something I'm learning to get over.
    In your case, just get yourself feeling right. That's all that matters. *hugs* I really, really hope things start to feel more normal for you. All the best!

    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. I feel a ton better now, even if I am super behind on everything blog related. I AM TRYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  27. I'm glad that you enjoyed Christmas! And I'm sorry for everything you've been going through, I hope that everything picks back up. You're also right, you don't have to apologize for not blogging as much or visiting other people's blogs. I understand how stressful and time consuming it is.

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    1. Thank you. I'm feeling better now, which is really good! :)

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