Confession time: I’ve always wanted to be a book blogger. This may be a strange aspiration to some, but to me, book blogging always represented a marriage of the two things I loved the most: reading and writing.
I’ve always been a writer, from the moment I could hold a pen (seriously, I wrote a book about a flower when I was four, my mom says it’s my first masterpiece). But before that, I was a reader, with my mom and by myself.
Books offered an escape as a child – not from anything bad, but just because I loved them. Then, when I became a teenager, books offered a true escape from mental illness (undiagnosed and unnoticed at the time), loneliness, and a very unhealthy relationship.
I hit college and thought that to be a book blogger, I needed some kind of credentials. Then I got into freelance writing and learned that I needed nothing to be a reviewer, and that people would pay for honest reviews. To be fair, though, I hated freelance writing because I couldn’t write what I wanted. And I hated writing reviews for money, because I couldn’t read what I wanted, which meant I didn’t enjoy the book, which meant a bad review.
So let’s get to why I’m here today.
To do that, we have to talk about a few things: Bipolar Disorder, rock bottom, and starting over. I am diagnosed bipolar 1, and I didn’t know this until a couple of weeks ago when I came home from Portland – I had left for Portland in April because I went manic. I won’t go into depth, but I will say that I had been manic for pretty much months, and that I made some horrible decisions and hurt some people. And when I realized that I had done things and hurt people, I threw everything in the car (a crappy ’97 Honda Accord station wagon instead of my beloved Jeep Liberty – another bad decision made in the throes of mania) and I drove 2000 miles home while recovering from sepsis and everything I had done. What didn’t fit in the car got left behind. And I immediately went into the hospital for my illness when I got to Missouri, and then immediately after that, inpatient.
I have hit rock bottom. It tastes a little like cardboard and defeat, and a lot like lithium pills for me.
Now for starting over. I’m lucky enough to have parents I can come home to. I’m lucky in that I have a job now, that I’ll be able to keep it because I’m on the right medication. I’m lucky to have a diagnosis that fits instead of one that hurts me (did you know that taking antidepressants if your bipolar can trigger mania? I do now).
So what this book blog represents to me is starting over fresh. It’s being able to have an outlet and a hobby, and hopefully a community. Being mentally ill in the middle of Missouri is pretty tough, actually – not a lot of treatment options and not a lot of people willing and knowledgeable enough to help. But that’s what this blog means to me: a fresh start.
What does book blogging mean to you?