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Monday, June 6, 2016

Just like Audrey

My chick lit streak hasn't ended yet. Or should I say, my Sophie Kinsella streak hasn't ended yet. I've mentioned before that "serious" writers may frown at my choice of books, but what the heck. I've been dealing with depressive episodes and bouts of anxiety that all I want is to be entertained. I want to laugh. I want to free my mind from all the stress, even if it's just temporary.

Anyway, I've finished Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series up to Mini Shopaholic. Those books were hilarious. Then, I tried reading another chick lit novel by another writer, but I didn't like it that much, so I went back to Sophie Kinsella and read Undomestic Goddess and Can You Keep a Secret?. These books were hilarious too that I found myself laughing while reading.

Now, I'm reading Sophie Kinsella's Finding Audrey. When I saw the synopsis, I knew this book was something I could appreciate not just because it's funny. Finding Audrey is a young adult novel about Audrey, a 14-year-old girl who has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and depressive episodes. As a person struggling with mental illness, this is something I can relate to.

Audrey wears dark sunglasses even when indoors or even when it's raining and she's outside. She finds it hard to make eye contact with people (even with her family), let alone talk to them. Talking to a stranger (even if it's her brother's best pal) gives her panic attacks. Her psychiatrist gives her projects to help her overcome her anxiety. I haven't finished reading the book. But the chapter where I'm at tells how Audrey is filming activities in her house and interviewing people so she could practice communicating with them without making eye contact. That's the project her psychiatrist asked her to do.

I can definitely relate to Audrey's panic attacks. Encountering (or sometimes, even merely thinking of) certain people sends my brain into panic, as if all my brain cells and nerves have been fired up. My fight-or-flight response is immediately activated, and my brain automatically chooses flight. And by flight, I mean breaking down into a catastrophic flood of tears despite religiously taking my mood stabilizers (a combination of anti-psychotic and anti-epileptic medicines).

This is how I panic, just like Audrey. I don't wear dark sunglasses, but now I wish I do, not because I can't make eye contact. I want to cover my eyes so people won't see me at the verge of tears. I want to cover my eyes so I have time to make a mad dash to the bathroom before I break down. And at times, I want to cover my eyes so people won't see the fury in my eyes when they piss me off.

I think I also need to do a project to overcome all my issues, just like Audrey. Maybe this is where I can channel my creativity and make something good out of my situation.

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