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    • #15783
      Brittany Foster
      Keymaster

      Lately, it seems like life has been quite a bit of a struggle for me. After leaving the hospital with a PEG tube in my stomach (a feeding tube), it seems like my social life has taken a hit. Not only have I been physically hurting most days, but I have also been mentally struggling.

      I feel very “trapped” within my body at the moment. I have an upcoming appointment with a surgeon at the end of the month and the anticipation is eating at me. The surgeon will let me know whether or not I will be having surgery to correct the problem and get this feeding tube out.

      I need as much distraction as possible to help ease my anxieties and worries. I have started reading a series of books that my friend recommended for me. It is a series that has brought her a lot of comfort through difficult times and after almost being done with the 4th book, I can tell why it brings her comfort. The book series I am currently reading for the first time is Harry Potter and I absolutely LOVE it and how it takes my mind off of the bad going on in my life right now.

      Do you have a series of books or a book that has brought you comfort in the past? Has there been a book that helped you through a difficult time and helped take your mind to another place? I’d love to know more suggestions so I can have a good reading list of books that will help me “escape” from reality for a while.

    • #15787
      Kathleen Sheffer
      Participant

      I am so excited for you that you have started Harry Potter! My mom started reading the series to me when I was 7 years old and it’s a family favorite. Kind of jealous that I don’t get to start it all over again with fresh eyes. My sister and I listened to the audiobooks back when they were on cassette tapes! We’d sit together for hours and draw in coloring books while we listened. They definitely suck you in and let you escape from reality.

      A series I’ve enjoyed in recent years is Tales of the City – set in San Francisco in the 1970’s, it has great characters and just the right amount of suspense for me. The nine novels (I’ve read 3-4) are especially fun for me to read because I recognize a lot of the locations around my city. Evidently they appeal to a broader audience, though, because Netflix is releasing a series based on the books later this year!

      So sorry about the anxiety you’re experiencing, Brittany. Text me when you need distractions, especially late at night, because it’s a bit earlier here in California! 😉

      • #15788
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Thank you so much for all the support Kathleen! I definitely will take you up on that texting offer. I am lucky to have friends in different time zones so I’m not texting someone here in RI at ungodly hours hahaha! That sounds like an awesome series to read, especially if you recognize the places they talk about in it. I love reading Jodi Picoult books because I think most of them (maybe all of them) are based in New England towns and I recognize the spots she references. The books that become Netflix series are great to start reading too because then when I don’t have the brain space for reading on some days I can watch the show. Looking forward to watching the Harry Potter movies once I’m done ! I feel like I need to finish all the books before starting the movies though because I don’t want to ruin anything!

    • #15793
      Chris LaRose Mev
      Participant

      Well i’d suggest the most popular book, the Bible.
      The Psalms are great to meditate on and a good place to start is the Gospel of Matthew.

      Do Not Worry

      “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add 1 cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like 1of these.

      But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek 1st his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

      Reading the Word of God is always good and true.

      chris

      • #15797
        Kathleen Sheffer
        Participant

        This is a great passage with a lot of lessons. Thanks for sharing, @chris-larose-mev.

      • #15800
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Hi Chris,
        I went to a Catholic College so had to take religion courses and we read The Bible frequently. I had never read it before (admittedly besides what I pretended to read in Sunday School when I was a child). But reading this passage definitely brings some comfort to me. Thank you for sharing this, I truly appreciate it! I can see that it would give others much strength in the “one day at a time” mentality that this is teaching about.

        • #15831
          Chris LaRose Mev
          Participant

          i must admit not worrying or being anxious is a constant struggle for me.
          Like my dad, i used to worry about everything; my dad actually got an ulcer from all his worrying.

          Now i try to give it all to my God, who wishes only goodness for us.
          All He asks in return is our faithfulness, trust and love. Lord, i can’t do this,
          so i’ll let You handle it and just believe.

          We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

        • #15833
          Brittany Foster
          Keymaster

          Thank you for sharing that Chris,
          That must be a comforting feeling knowing that you can give your worries away. It’s very therapeutic to believe in a higher power, what ever that belief is for others here too ( I know we all come from different background and religions too) But I love how you share your relationship with God and how that has helped you with your anxiety and struggles. It’s great and refreshing to hear that. Keep the faith!

    • #15801

      I love to read and have dozens of books that I’ve read multiple times for comfort and inspiration. One that really hit me soon after I was dx’d With PH was The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. There is a passage that hit so close to what I was going through. Caz (main character) has to ride to a neighboring country on a diplomatic mission, kind of inspired by his god. But Caz was dying and in pain, tired easily, etc. (We all know how that is.) He had a couple of brothers with him to help, but Caz was the important one. Anyway,there was one place where they needed some strong mules and the brothers were having a problem buying them. Caz basically asked his god to provide if it pleased him. Three sturdy mules immediately came up to him. Caz then told the brothers to take care of the rest he was going to nap. So he did what only he could do, but then left the rest to others.
      It was so hard for me to learn that. I’d want to do everything, and then totally exhaust myself.
      It was a lesson I needed and I reread the book whenever I need to be reminded.

      • #15803
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Hi Debra,
        That book sounds like it has a strong lesson that many of us need to hear. I love books that I can relate to the over all message. I loved the book “Fault In Our Stars” because I could really relate to many of the emotions the main character was feeling. I really saw a lot of myself when reading it and it was true for the movie too! I’m glad the movie was true for what I pictured the characters being like.

    • #15810
      Kaye Norlin
      Participant

      Oddly enough, I like “The Last Lecture”; it is weirdly calming. I love “Reflections of a Peacemaker” by Mattie Stepanek. I love everything he stood for and represented and I love him without ever meeting him. Read it, please. I also am reading “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. All three of these people faced their diseases and deaths with courage, hope, and peace. They spread positivism in a way that other people cannot even begin to understand (we can but we have been where they have been: living with a chronic, incurable disease or facing our own mortality). I realize these can be difficult to read for many people, since they all deal with mortality, but that is what I find calming about them.

      • #15813
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Hi Kaye,
        I also like books about those who have medical conditions and how they have dealt with their own personal battles. I like a lot of memoirs too about those with mental illness. One of my favorite ones was Portia De Rossi (Ellen Degeneres’s wife) and her book about battling an eating disorder and mental illness. It’s called “unbearable lightness”. I also love reading memoirs about those who have struggled with drug addiction. I didn’t struggle with drug addiction personally but it’s something about reading the stories about those who “overcome” things that were meant to destroy them that I love. I love rooting for the underdog I guess! I read “When Breath Becomes Air” and thought it was one of the best books i’ve ever read ! I will have to check out the other one too. Thank you!

    • #15845
      Valerie
      Participant

      Hello, Brittany!
      I wish you that everything went well and you soon recovered!
      Books are a very good thing to get away from your life (which is not always fun) and live many interesting lives. The only problem with this for me is sometimes my own thoughts sound too loud and distract from reading.
      I read “Harry Potter” as a child, but in the middle of the book “The Goblet of fire” threw (I guess I was still too small for this reading). Later, after high school, I read the entire series from beginning to end. But I still like movies more, simply because they have more magic due to music and visual effects.
      I like “Georgina Kincaid”, “Vampire Academy” series and other books by Richelle Mead. The main characters of these books – a strong women (the author herself claims not to know how to write about weak characters), and in the books there is always some action. You can go with your head in what is happening in these books, and completely forget about reality.
      I’ve also read Cassandra Clare books before. In “The Infernal Devices” series one of the characters, named Jem, was on the brink of life, too, but he was very brave and sometimes on-good selfish.
      When I want a calm, unhurried narrative, I read books by Jane Austen, Anne Brontë and other authors of the same time. In their books there is no action, but these are so cozy.
      Lately I’ve been reading the book “The idiot brain” by neuroscientist and stand-up comedian (it’s a wonderful combination) Dean Burnett. I like to learn about the workings of the brain, it’s written in an interesting and humorous way, and it helps to understand the “surprises” of my own brain and the causes of other people’s strange behavior.

      • #15858
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Valerie,
        Thank you so much for your feedback on this topic. I always like to hear what other people’s favorite books are. . I look forward to trying out some of your suggestions for movies! Memoirs are great to read too and the book “The Idiot Brain” sounds like it would be a great one to read. Understanding the mind is so difficult especially because I STILL haven’t figured MY OWN brain yet haaahaha . ‘

        • #15907
          Valerie
          Participant

          Hello, Brittany!
          Yes, I sometimes found it difficult to focus on the text (I even suspected dyslexia, I’m paranoid, lol). Although there are times when even if people are talking or the TV is working, I can read calmly and not reread one line several times.
          I also like to read books like “The Minds of Billy Milligan”, “Flowers for Algernon”, “The Fault in Our Stars”, “Before I Die”, “The 9th Life of Louis Drax”, but many of these books are psychologically heavy, and I don’t easily tolerate fictional dramatic events right now. I couldn’t read the book “Still Alice” because it was too hard for me to experience everything that happens to the main character.

        • #15915
          Brittany Foster
          Keymaster

          Hi Valerie,
          I think I have heard of Still Alice and I’m pretty sure it’s a movie if I’m not mistaken. Isn’t that the one about the woman with Alzheimer’s ? … And you’re right, sometimes I feel like I can read with distractions but when I start to notice the background noise I can’t shut it off! It can be very annoying when I’m zoned in and then a sound from the TV forces me to zone out and I can’t get the TV noise out of my head .

        • #15949
          Valerie
          Participant

          Hello, Brittany!
          Yes, “Still Alice” is a movie, but there is also a book on which this film is based. I couldn’t survive the suffering of the main character in the book, so I didn’t finish it. But the film I was able watch. I also bought “Left Neglected”, this is another book by the author of “Still Alice” Lisa Genova. But I haven’t had the courage to read it yet.
          I recently read “Leave Me” by Gayle Forman, it’s about a woman who gave up all her problems to take care of herself after a sudden heart attack.
          But these books are not going to help you through a difficult time, lol!
          I forgot to write about “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield. Maybe you’ve already read it. This book is difficult to attribute to any particular genre, but it is very interesting and one of my favorite.

        • #15959
          Brittany Foster
          Keymaster

          Hey Valerie ,
          Thank you for the suggestions. Oddly enough, I don’t always need the “uplifting books” when I am going through a hard time. Sometimes my mind is looking for a good tear jerker or more of a sad plot! So these might be the books that I need hahaha! It’s like when I’m feeling sad or upset, I look for a movie sometimes that makes me cry it out “with the movie” but it just helps me get my emotions out and it can be cleansing in a way!

        • #15965
          Chris LaRose Mev
          Participant

          Brittany, if you want to cry (a lot) and needing inspiration and hope in a difficult time or situation, “A Grief Un-Veiled – 1 Father’s Journey Through the Death of a Child” by Gregory Floyd. (Paraclete Press)

          In His Love,

          chris

        • #15966
          Brittany Foster
          Keymaster

          That sounds really good Chris. I read an amazing and inspiring book called “Fly A Little Higher” about a boys battle with cancer and how his family and him coped through it all and allowed his legacy to live on. It was truly inspiring and their faith through the whole thing was so inspiring!

    • #15856
      Libby
      Participant

      I LOVE memoirs. My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is outstanding! Also love the book Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey, or Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Love Among the Walnuts is a great story (hard to find too) and lastly, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

    • #15859
      Brittany Foster
      Keymaster

      Hi Libby,
      I love memoirs too. I’ve never heard of the books that you read “My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward” I LOOOVE books about mental illness or memoirs from people who have struggled with mental illness. When I was in high school I blew through the “crank” series. It was books for young adults that were written in poetry form and I couldn’t stop reading them and connecting to the character for multiple reasons.

    • #15890
      Kaye Norlin
      Participant

      Brittany, if you can find it, read “The View from Bellevue”. It is a rather irreverent look at patients from the ER doctor at the psych ward. It is an old book but very interesting and funny. I worked with people with MI for decades so I found it refreshing at the time that I read it. It is honest and demonstrates people’s resilience.

      • #15908
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Hey Kaye,
        I never heard of that one ! I will have to add it to my list of books to read! Thanks for the recommendation. I always like when books add some light and humor to serious topics.

    • #15945
      Julia Tom
      Participant

      Not a specific title. I used to read romantic novels. When I got bored with them then I switched to suspense novels

      • #15956
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Hi Julia,
        I completely get your taste in novels ! I used to read a lot of romance too especially Nicholas Sparks books. When they were making a lot of them into movies I read them all the more! Now I am more of a psych thriller or suspense book ! Have you read any good ones lately? I love Gone Girl (and it’s also a movie) and “Girl on the Train” was really good too! Anything Gillian Flynn are my top favorites.

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