Saturday, May 14, 2016

goodnight, taw

dear to another world,

i love you, please don't forget that. you've been put some rough old times, and i'm ever so sorry for that. i'm so sorry for leaving you.

but we both know it's what i need. i need to let go of what is attached to this blog, i need to love blogging again, and i just can't do that here anymore.

i've tried, the last little while. a couple poems and a thoughful post. but it's not enough. i cannot love taw the way that twelve to fourteen year old me did, i don't have the energy to stress over arc's and deadlines and the guilt that has come for the last year over not being able to review books.

especially now with the developments in my health. both physical and mental, everything has gotten a little harder, and i can't live the same way i was before.

i love every single word that i have written here, and it will stay here, on this tiny piece of the internet. unlike my previous blog, i won't delete you.

i hope my followers and friends will still love and support me. they can come find me over at charli's quiet musings, and i hope that that's what they do.

i love you taw. never forget that.

love, charli. x

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

"what do I need" (charli attempts poetry #2)

"what do I need?"

it is so hard
when no-one can tell you
quite what you need to hear
when you need someone to just
tell you straight what
it is that you need to do

when everyone is trying
to lay off the pressure
but somewhat that is
just what you need

you feel like you're living a lie
walking through school
they all think you have it together
because you're "the smart one"
(and you have been for years)

when, actually-
everything is brimming
ready to bubble over
just like it did last november

you got that interview
you're meeting all your deadlines
but like the bag on your back
it is pushing
you down (like a stone).

they want decisions
simple ones; lunch choice?
hard ones; exams?
every. single. one.
is far too much. 

state how proud you are
of how far i've come
but take that pride
and help me with the next
my battle isn't over
those words aren't the ones
that will finally let me win

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

on childhood and on comfort

I've loved reading since I was really young - younger than most, I was a toddler when I learnt to read and to love it. Reading has given me so much comfort for many parts of my life and I just wanted to discuss that a little bit today.

I've been through quite a bit - that's something I can be fairly certain about. This started with bullying and progressed to loss and change and family trouble and mental health issues; and I feel like books have held my hand all the way through that.

My best primary school comforts were probably Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy. And you may say, weren't everyone's? But I think for me it was different - I read them younger than everyone else, and then when I was being challenged by my teachers with things like Lord of the Rings, and others of similar calibre, they were just books to get back to and to collect and love.

I met Jacqueline Wilson twice through primary - once in year 5, with a friend who ironically later became the bully. I froze up because her family were judging me, and the shop was busy, and to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if I accidentally came across as rude because of anxiety surrounding it all.  A couple of years later, I went to see a talk in which the first 100 to buy tickets got to meet her, and I had the loveliest little chat about the characters and her being my inspiration.

I also met Cathy Cassidy a couple years ago (again with a friend who no longer is such (*sigh*). Even though by this point I wasn't really reading her stuff, only the last few Chocolate Box Girls, I had wanted to meet her for years and so of course I did. She's one of the nicest people I've ever met, so if you get that opportunity, do it.

Later on, it became Sophie McKenzie. Yet another author that I read too young! But she stuck with me for quite a few years - from about year 4 to year 8. I loved every single one of her books, from her few romance series to the more thrilling ones. The only ones I never read were the Medusa Project books - mainly because the library didn't have them all, and I wouldn't read them out of series!! I met Sophie in 2014, and again, she was SO LOVELY, and I was so awestruck when she already knew me!

In the last two years, there has been no one specific that has held my attachment. John Green, David Levithan and Rainbow Rowell of course have my heart, and I could read Solitaire every single day, in all honesty. Whilst I was in hospital, I read a lot of what could be seen as typical "chick-lit" books - because they were so simple and it was just nice to get away. Everyone knows romance is my guilty book pleasure, anyway.

The point is, with me, is that I love comforting myself with beautiful words, weaved by someone that has sat and written them for me to consume, for me to love every word and for me to smile at the romance and, perhaps rarely, but occasionally shed a tiny tear. I love taking myself elsewhere, away from whatever hardship I may be facing, and I have always loved that a book can do that. People see them as just paper bound by a shiny cover, but it is what is on that paper that can do magic.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

"day in the life" (charli attempts poetry)

"day in the life"

my morning routine runs continuously through my head

i take my cocktail of coloured pills
anti-anxiety, painkillers, vitamins
(my way of getting through the day)
drag a brush through my hair
heart thumping all the while

first lesson of the day
heart calms but i am still on guard
lunch in the hall makes it worse
i get through with the tangle in my pocket

by the end of the day the pain in my wrists is screaming
and i can't get on the buses anymore
too many people, too little space, too hard to breathe

therapy and hospital appointments
i wonder how much the nhs has spent on me
all accompanied by a sibling who
has become king of distraction in the bad times

my dinners are small these days and i seperate the foods
anything to make it less overwhelming
my puddings have a side of painkillers

somedays i lie on my bed for hours
non-verbal, i only communicate through written word.
and naturally,
pain and exhaustion are still pressing issues

heavy breathing, sensory paralysis
people ask me if i'm okay,
i tell them it's nothing i haven't done before
but really, it's terrifying every single time.

i go to bed (having taken more meds)
i cannot dwell on the day because
after all... i will wake up and do it all again the next. 

note: this may not be very good, but I liked it enough as it explains my current life after inpatient and going back to school. there aren't any capitals because that's how I always write :) 
thank you for reading :)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them... until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Date of Publication: January 7th 2016
Pages: 464
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Electric Monkey in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you!

I received and read this while I was still in hospital - my mum bought the package in and I squealed when I opened it (by this point, I was feeling uninspired by the small selection of my TBR that I had in my room). This is one that has been on my wishlist for a very, very long time.

Now, if you know me at all - you will know I have a big soft spot for romance novels. I used to be fairly ashamed of it, as a feminist; but I realised that it wasn't anti-feminist to like a few cliches once in a while. So, naturally, I let myself read My Life Next Door in the space of a day, whenever I had the chance between my classes and therapies.

When you start My Life Next Door, it seems to be a slight Romeo-and-Juliet plot, but further on, I think I'd disagree. While they have to be secret or undercover, there's no real split between the two families - just elitist disapproval and misunderstanding from Samantha's mum. And this element of social class made it all the more interesting; and not just because I study sociology! I was so sure that I'd hate Samantha in the beginning; but you learn that she's not the issue.

I loved George, Jase's younger brother. I haven't loved a supporting character like I have George in a very long time - he is absolutely adorable and just made it more fun to read and to laugh it. Younger kids always make romances slightly more interesting, with their mischief, interruptions or insinuations, and I couldn't have loved him more.

I can see why people have issues with this - and yes, they did run through the cynical part of me - but I just liked it too much, and I had to overlook them. Yes, it seemed "meant to be", because the mum hated the family and Samantha had been watching them from her window. Okay, I know. But I just love the nice feeling of reading these books and smiling at how people come to love each other.

This book definitely had cliches, and parts where it made me roll my eyes, but I generally really enjoyed it and it uplifted me during my hospital admission - and that's all I could ask for, really.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Let's Chat: Stigma and Where I've Been

Hi! Long time no see, right??

If you don't remember, my name is Charli and I run To Another World... sometimes. I wouldn't be surprised if I've been a little bit forgotten!

So, for the last 9 or so weeks I've been in a mental health adolescent unit - my anxiety issues spiraled far out of control and a medication went a bit wrong. I'm being very open about it because I figure, how do we get rid of stigma without someone talking about it?

People see these units like old asylums, and I assure you they are nothing of the sort. They are like communal living, essentially - individual bedrooms, shared kitchen, dining room and lounges. The staff are lovely and supportive; and the patients are some of the best people I've ever met.

Yes, there are incidents and alarms and it becomes hard some days; but my experience has been enlightening and helpful. We have about 5 types of therapy each week, as well as lessons, and it's been great.

Back to me. I'm getting discharged on Wednesday! So, hopefully I'll gradually be back to blogging; I have about 3 months of schoolwork to catch up on, but I want to try, because blogging is something I am still firmly in love with.

I love you all, and thank you for the support;

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Charli Reviews: Apple and Rain

When Apple's mother returns after eleven years away, Apple feels whole again. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother's homecoming is bittersweet. It's only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is that she begins to see things as they really are. 

A story about sad endings. 
A story about happy beginnings. 
A story to make you realise who is special.

Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date of Publication: August 2014
Pages: 330
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Bloomsbury in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you Bloomsbury!

Most people who know me fairly well know that I adore Sarah Crossan's writing; Breathe is to this day one of my favourite books ever. So, of course, I've been excited for this since it was announced - even when it then took me almost a year to get to read it!

Apple and Rain follows Apollinia, who's mum abandoned her and her nan when she was young. After over a decade, she comes back and wants Apple to live with her, and naturally Apple jumps at the chance; before she realises that it maybe isn't as good an idea as it seems.

Crossan doesn't disappoint with this; it's beautiful and tear-worthy from the first page. Of course, as a heartless person whom doesn't cry at books, I didn't... But I imagine a lot of people would! Apple is a gorgeously written protagonist who I felt really invested in; I felt unadulterated anger and sadness and everything between for her.

There are so many elements of this that are difficult, and Crossan portrays them so realistically. The issue concerning Rain and Jenny might be laughable to some people; but we don't always consider situations like that, because they seem strange - but things like that do happen to children.

One of the subjects of this book is alcohol, which I always find an interesting one. Seeing Apple have this sudden introduction to it and having hangovers, mixing cocktails etc was kind of hard for me. I'm not opposed to alcohol, but I'm not really bothered by it either; and reading about this teenager who seemed so curious about it was strange. It made for a more interesting reading experience.

And then there's the other side of the issues tackled; the "normal" one of  being a teenager. The bullying and friendship issues, the boys, the teachers plaguing you for homework. I was really glad that these were still tackled, because sometimes "difficult" books wash other them.

But no matter of the difficult topics weaved in Apple and Rain, there were elements that made me smile, as well. I loved reading about Apple discovering her love for poetry, and the bonding between Apple and Rain themselves as we go through the book.

I adored this; everything is genuine and I think anyone could enjoy the beautiful heart-break that Apple and Rain offers.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Charli Muses: When YA Turns to Suicide {Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher}

You can't stop the future.
You can't rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and first love – who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah's voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening – and what he discovers changes his life... forever.

Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Penguin UK
Date of Publication: This Edition 2009
Pages: 297
Source: Bought
Goodreads | Amazon

**Trigger warning for suicide, rape / Spoiler warning for most of book**

I read this book yesterday, and I was so mystified and annoyed at it that I felt like I finally wanted to review a book! I haven't done that since April, so it did something good, I guess.

SO much hype surrounds Thirteen Reasons Why; it's why I picked it up in the first place. Some of my friends have read it and absolutely loved it. But... there's so much that's wrong with it. And I didn't realise some of the things that were wrong until I finished it.

It's worth baring in mind that I didn't hate this book, I've rated it a solid half rating. Before we get in to what I think this book does in terms of being damaging, let's talk writing. I'm just going to say it: split monologue narration? Get out. Reading a line of Hannah's tape and then a line of Clay talking about something just annoyed me no end.

So let's discuss what's wrong with this book. I put this down and I thought, simply, this book puts some sort of glamour over suicide. I didn't want to express this opinion till I saw someone agree, but a lot of Goodreads consensus says the same, so there it is.

I will never, ever knock anyone's reasons for mental illness, PTSD and etcetera. But Hannah? I don't see it. I just don't. Her reasons? No.

Not to mention the tapes. When someone dies or commits suicide at such a young age, the knock on effect is horrific. It's so, so awful. Every single person who knows them blames themself. It tears them apart for weeks on end. And Hannah? She does this to these people who receive these tapes. The people who receive the tapes will feel harrowed for the rest of their lives.

And maybe she wants this. Maybe she wants them to feel this way. But why take this sort of course of revenge if you aren't there to see it? Why ruin lives further? Some of the people on these tapes didn't do anything! Hannah watched her friend get raped and didn't do a thing. Like, what? I was so stunned. I skipped a few pages because of how physically uncomfortable the idea of this made me. 

Hannah kills herself, effectively, because of rumours and boys being mean to her. I want to see the genders reversed and see how many people call this book a Bible of talking about suicide. I want to see it. No one would buy it. Because people don't see that boys are mentally ill too.

I think this book was written because Asher wanted it to be an important book. And that's fine. But realistically, this book doesn't do it.

Perhaps it's because this book is from 2007, of course - but being suicidal will always be the same. And I honestly think, with Hannah's reasons, there are teens out there who will think they're "meant" to be suicidal, because of similar experiences.

Perhaps I am bitter about this book because my best friend had her life taken away and she didn't deserve it, because I suffer myself, because a lot of my friends suffer. But this book? This book makes me uncomfortable about other books trying to tackle the subject.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Some Advice to 2012 Charli

Dear 2012 Charli,

You're about to go into Year 7 of secondary school. And you're terrified, everyone knows that; you're awful at hiding when you're scared. That's foreshadowing for other things that are going to happen, but hey ho.

Let me tell you - you're gonna go through a LOT of stuff in the next three years. Like, a lot. I know you already had a few things going on that haven't been so fab; but there's gonna be stuff. You're going to know a lot of secrets, you're going to shed a lot of tears.

The good news is that you push through it; here I am, sitting at a desk at the start of the summer holidays before I go into year 10. And I'm okay! I'm not fixed yet, but I'm on the mend, and that's all I really wanted for us.

It's going to turn out that your head isn't quite right; although I think everyone knew that that was going to happen eventually. You're going to end up seeing a lot of different people about it. Some will be great, some will be awful. A particular doctor looking at your legs will imply something that shakes you up for weeks.

This school that you're going into? Enjoy the first couple of terms; join clubs and make friends. Get your homework in on time. And for God's sake, don't get involved with THOSE girls - you'll know who I mean - because all that does is make you cry a year down the line in year 8.

At some stage, you're gonna have your heart broken a tiny bit. You're fine after a week, because you aren't someone who really cares about all that. In fact, you won't even cry over it. But, there's a little warning for you.

At this point, you expect to be at this school until you're nearly 17, grasping a piece of paper with a beautiful line of A*'s. Cling to this, for now. Your dream will pull you through until it can no longer.

Now, about-to-be-12-Charli... Let me tell you a secret. At this point, you don't care about your face, but you hate your weight. Don't worry about it. You're never gonna be particularly skinny, but eventually, you'll be comfortable with the curves you have; at least most of the time. Your face, on the other hand? 2015 Charli is working on being comfortable with that, but that's okay.

So, 2012 Charli - I'm not going to tell you where the next three years of your live lead. Because that would be a pretty hefty spoiler, right? Go experience all that. The bad, the good.

Oh, and go and try cheesecake again. Promise it'll be a good decision ;)

Much love,

2015 Charli

Friday, May 15, 2015

Charli - Depression, Anxiety and Panic Attacks

I have been unhappy for many years, especially since 2010.

It has increased as I have grown up, events like the passing of my best friend and issues at my school becoming ever more difficult to deal with. I have been in various types of counselling in the years since.

This year, everything seemed to come to a head. I have been unable to work some days, crying about going to school. I've been suffering from panic attacks since February; mainly due to my school environment. It's had a small hit on my education, but, thankfully, not too much.

I never really thought I had any type of anxiety. I've had rituals and what I used to call "severe paranoia" for years, but I'd never thought much of it. I'd never thought that the thoughts about the one time I got in trouble which haunted me at night were anything abnormal. I never thought any of it was abnormal.

My first panic attack occurred due to the situation at hand - I'd had an issue with a teacher which mum had called the school about. I was scared to go into a lesson with them, because I hadn't seen them since, and was worried that they hated me and etcetera. We thought it was a one time thing.

It happened again the next week. We figured out that my English group was a issue, but we still didn't think it was going to happen again. It happened again on Friday, and then we knew the school itself was the issue at hand.

I had one at Scout camp the next day, down to adrenaline and new surroundings. Afterwards, it was quite funny - my friend Josh, whom I've mentioned before forgot what he was meant to do to help and it ended up with everyone flapping a little bit.

And so, off to the GP we went. He referred me to CAMHS, whom I've had my introduction session with, and I'm due to have some CBT in July. But anyway.

Me and my family had some misunderstandings with my school over it all, but they weren't unsupportive after we found out what was really happening. They've given me a stress ball and told teachers; so it's okay. The panic attacks since the initial two weeks have been pretty much daily, averaging 3 or 4 a week.

The anxiety is one thing that's hindered me; there's been days where I've had to have first lesson off because I can't walk in, I have to leave lessons randomly and the attacks make me exhausted. I'm learning to put a handle on them, though.

The depression is another thing. We think I have some form of survivor's guilt, and that a lot of other events with extended family and bullying haven't helped along the way. I'm going into that side less here, but it's another element to everything.

I get a bitter taste in my mouth when girls at school say they're depressed, or OCD, or anything of the sort. A lot of my group of friends are also going through some sort of similar issue, and it's not a great situation for any of us.

However. On Monday, my mum went to an appeal panel for a school that I really wanted to go to, and on Wednesday we had the call that they've given me a place, and I may have cried, a tiny bit. Everyone at school knows and although everyone, including myself, is sad; we all know it's what's best, and I'm excited to start there in the next few weeks.

So, that's what's been up with me for a few months; and I apologise for those waiting on reviews and anyone who happened to miss me. I hope that after my end of years next week, and finding out when I'll be moving school, I can get back into it; at least a little bit.

I don't know how eloquent this is; but I wanted to update you because I know I haven't been very active lately and I don't want anyone to be worried.

Charli x