Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

The main character in this book, Audrey, has major anxiety and panic attacks due to horrifying bullying. Throughout the book, she struggles with it and visits her therapist frequently, making a really good relationship between them both. She finds a friend through her brother, Linus. Linus was respectful of Audrey’s issues and supported her throughout her struggles. It hit home for me as I have a friend exactly like Linus who supported me in my recovery with my mental health.

I have never read a book that is so detailed and realistic about mental health. When reading the therapy part of the books, especially the exposure therapy, which I have done in therapy, it was mindblowing as it was the same questions asked by Dr Sarah in the book, that my therapist actually asked me when I went through therapy.

The author, Sophie Kinsella, has done a fantastic job on this book and it is obvious that she has researched the topic because the book is phenomenal.

My favourite part of the book was the friendship between Linus and Audrey developing, turning romantic too. I liked how he was so supportive of her, going out with her for exposure therapy. This is the only book I’ve read that includes mental health recovery in it, a lot of young adult books don’t really include this or go into as much detail as Sophie Kinsella did in this book, I hope more books follow this path as I truly think it will help destigmatize mental illness,

Overall, I really liked this book, it was an easy read, very realistic in terms of mental illness and overall a very good book, If you haven’t read it, I recommend you to!

How I Am Managing My Mental Health In Work

In 2016, I finished training to be a chef and went into my first ever job, at first I absolutely adored it but slowly after that, I was doing more and more hours and it was ruining my mental health.

After having numerous breakdowns, towards the end of the year, I had to quit. This was heartbreaking for me, quitting my first ever job in an industry that I dreamed to work in. It just wasn’t meant to be, my mental health went to the lowest it had ever been whilst working. I just couldn’t handle it.

After quitting, I reached out for help from my GP for my mental health. I then waited and went through low and high-intensity CBT. I have learnt how to manage my mental health more and

Fast-forward to now, 2018 (it still feels weird writing 2018). I am working in a job that I absolutely love. It may not be my childhood dreams but it’s a job and I am forever grateful to have one that I like.

Through my time in CBT and time off from working, I have learnt several ways to manage my mental health in work.

Taking time out for myself.
I learnt that this is so important to do, everyone should aim to do this at least every week. I set one day which I am off work that week to dedicate to myself, to do whatever I love, may it be writing, sleeping, blogging, going out.

It gives me time to just think and that’s what I missed when I worked as a chef. I didn’t get the time to just think, whenever I was off work I was just catching up on sleep.

Forgetting about work when I finish.

Seems fairly obvious to forget but I always used to worry about work even when I finished, constant thoughts of “did I take the right amount of cake out the freezer?” “is everything ready for breakfast tomorrow?” My brain never seemed to switch off.

This was a hard one to learn, I feel like everyone who works does this sometimes, people must worry about work at home, but when it is constant every single day then it gets a big problem.

I have to admit I still tend to do this from time to time, but not half as much as I did in my previous job. I think a part of it was down to how busy my previous job was and how short staffed we were.

Telling your manager/boss about your mental health.

This was extremely hard for me, I waited months to tell my new boss as I had to make sure he was trustworthy but it turns out he was!

It’s helped so much telling my boss about my mental health, I am open to all the people I work with now (we’re a small tight team) and they are so supportive and can actually notice when I am panicking or overly anxious.

 

Learning to do all of this has been a struggle, to say the least. However, now I am working and managing my mental health a lot better it seems like I am slowly but surely getting my life back on track – I don’t want to stay in this job for the rest of my life but I am currently planning a career change which is very exciting!

 

 

 

My goals for 2018.

I thought it’d only make sense for my first post of the new year to be based on my goals for the new year.

2017 was a year full of change, I started and finished CBT, started antidepressants which have changed my life. I made so many friends within the MH blogger community which I feel like will be my friends for all my life.

2018 is the year I am going to thrive in every single way possible. My aim is to make 2018 the best year I’ve ever had. I will keep learning how to manage my mental health better and put me first.

So, as the title says.. here are my goals for 2018.

1) GO TO LONDON! It was a goal from therapy to go to London last year but couldn’t go last year, so I am 100% going next year to explore and meet with a few blogging friends who I have been dying to meet since talking to them on twitter!

2) SELF CARE! I know I blab on about self care and how important it is, but truthfully since getting my new job I haven’t done much self care, which has affected me a lot, especially my moods. I am dedicating at least four days a week to do a hour or more of self care each day!

3) BLOGGING! I haven’t blogged in months, I truly let my old blog go down the train, down to the reason of having absolute no time to think about it, I have been working so much overtime the past few months I’ve not even had time to tweet as much as usual! (which is very surprising, I tweet LOADS!)

4) CAMPAIGNING! I have always wanted to do this but haven’t had the confidence up until now. I love the work people in this community do with campaigning, like Jodie and Andrea (they are both AMAZING!) I would love to do the same work as they do, as you guys probably know I am a media volunteer for Time To Change so this will obviously help me with campaigning. With struggling with my mental health for a long time, it’s made me more passionate to de-stigmatize mental health as I truly know how it feels to be stigmatized.. it took me years to seek help, and I don’t want that to happen to others.

I am feeling confident that I will complete at least half of these goals!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and new years and I hope you all have a fab 2018!

Lets make 2018, our year.