5-7, 7-12, Books, Children, YA (Young Adult)

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

This one goes out to all those parents, teachers, librarians, and kids who loved Wonder by R. J. Palacio and want something similar.  I gobbled it up and loved every second of it.

Title: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
Author: Dusti Bowling
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Page #: 272
Genre: Middlegrade, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

I made a video review of this one right after finishing it, watching it back several months later I realized that it took me a while to catch my footing while talking about it but if you can stick with my scattered thoughts for about a minute I get there and you can hear why I think this book is going to become an instant classic.


I liked it more than I liked Wonder which is blasphemy in some ways and warranted in others.  Definitely one to read to help introduce empathy and acceptance of diversity in kids, also a great way to discuss deformity, disability, and mental health at a young age.  One to pick up next week when it is published.

I look forward to Dusti Bowling’s future books because I’m sure she has a bright career ahead of her if this is any indication.  Well done.


Monday Musings: On Reading Slumps, Depression, and Anxiety

I made a really quick video for you guys, wherein I talk about where I’ve been and why, at least on a surface level.

I have something scheduled for every day this week so hopefully we can bring ourselves back on track a little bit … this one is a bit late, but I tried, in fact I succeeded.  It is here, late or not.


Monday Musing: My Anxiety Story

If you have been following me for a while you know that I have been struggling with anxiety for most of my life, but when I went to college it got so out of hand I couldn’t even go to the grocery store by myself to feed myself.

I was diagnosed officially last year with chronic anxiety and acute social anxiety (as well as ADD which can feed the other two anxieties and exacerbate them).  Several months later I started taking anti-anxiety medication and that honestly has changed my life.

I know there is a stigma around mental health in general but especially on medicating as a form of treatment for mental health.  There are people who will say that it doesn’t actually fix the problem, its just a crutch, it doesn’t help you in the long run, etc.  I have to say that honestly I felt that way for a while.  I didn’t begrudge anyone who felt they needed it but I didn’t think I needed it.

That was of course before my anxiety actually affected my life and my ability to sustain myself.  When I was living at home and in high school I could hide away in my room.  I only had to go out for school and even while there I didn’t really have to interact with anyone.  I could stick my nose in a book, even during class, and nobody would bother me because I got good grades and wasn’t distracting anyone, plus it wasn’t like I was texting.

However, when I went to college and had to start doing things for myself I couldn’t.  My anxiety would make me so ill I would actually vomit while trying to get out the door to go to class where I would have to speak.  If I needed groceries I would put it off to the very last minute and even then I would sit in my car in the parking lot sipping some tea while I waited for what I percieved as a good time to go in (which generally meant it seemed relatively quiet… it never was).

I couldn’t ignore it any more.

My life was falling apart around me and that just made it all the worse.

When I got the medication I needed I started to feel better instantly.  I could spend time outside of my room.  I could go to social functions where there was going to be a relatively large crowd.  I could go on a road trip by myself to a place I had never been before.  These were all things that I absolutely could not do without it.

Do I still have to push myself?  Yes, of course.

The medication doesn’t solve the issue it just helps manage the chemical imbalance in my brain that tells me everything and everyone is out to get me.  People seem to forget that humans are a walking talking bunch of chemicals moving around.  If those get out of wack the brain and the body stops functioning.  I do still have to push myself to go places, but at least I know I won’t have a panic attack unless things get REALLY bad.  I can handle it.  I just have to take it one step at a time.

If you are in a place where everything is terrifying and you can’t do anything but curl up in bed and wait for it to stop (which it never does) then please go talk to your doctor.  They can get you the help you need.  It isn’t shameful.  It is just a fact of life.

A year ago I couldn’t comment on youtube videos let alone make my own (on my own that is… book club was fine simply because it was just me hanging out with my friends).  I have started doing something that I wanted to do for so long and I have been able to keep up with my blog.  I have been able to read like I used to.  I am so much happier and living a much fuller life that I would never have without it.  Its worth it.  You are worth it.