June Book Reviews

1.   Ancient Runes- Armageddon Summer- ***

This book is interesting but the underlying story really did not hold my interest. It took all of my energy to push through to finish this book. The trauma bonding of the characters at the end had me a bit concerned. 

2.   Arithmancy- The New Jim Crow- *****

This five star read was chosen because of the place we find ourself in as a society. The book was great as an audiobook and I will be making time to re-read so I can absorb even more information needed to be an informed social worker 

3.   Astronomy/ Read a book while the moon is up. – Five Feet Apart- ****

This book was good but more difficult than I thought it would be to read. I need to not read medical dramas when I work in a hospital. I enjoyed the twists and turns the story line took. 

4.   Care of Magical Creatures/- Monster Fighting- An Enchantment of Ravens- *****

I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. I love faye lore and this was a great twist on the stories one normally reads. 

5.   Charms- Tithe- Replaced with Totoro book 2- **** 

Good manga; it is very much like the movie. 

6.   Defense Against the Dark Arts- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle- *****

This was another page turner for me. I read the majority of this book on a lazy sunday afternoon. I recommend this as a coming of age book for middle school students. 

7.   Divination/ The Twin Archers: – Blood Bonds- ***

I love this series but, was not happy with this book as you can see from my rating. The writing style was hard to deal with since the rest of the series was written in a different style. I also felt the falling action and epilogue came too quickly together. It was jarring as a reader. 

8.   Herbology- Magical Girl Apocalypse Vol. 1-  **** 

A good typical manga that turned into a zombie survival sequence. 

9.   History of Magic/ Capture the Flag-  Sorcery of Thorns-****

The beginning of this book was a bit dry for me, I had to listen to it via audiobook or I never would have gotten to the meat of the book which was so good! 

10. Muggle Studies-The Fault in our Stars- **

This book was so bad that I almost did not finish. However, the true emotion of the last few chapters redeemed the book so it would receive two stars 

11. Potions/ Archery- We have always lived in a Castle-***

This was another difficult read. I was very excited to read this book as I was under the impression that a netflix series was based on this short story. However this book and Haunting of Hill House bear no resemblance to one another. The characters are very two dimensional. 

12.  Transfiguration- Wolf Moon *****

This was a book where the first two chapters move at a snails pace but once I got to the fourth chapter it was difficult to put the book down. 

13.  Read a book featuring a rescue mission. -Wings of fire **

This is a very choppy book that I barely finished in time for the end of the readathon. I was very excited to read this book so I saved it for last, which was a mistake as it was so difficult to read. 

14. Read a book that takes place in the wilderness. -My neighbor Totoro Book 1- ****

Good graphic novel, again much like the movie. 

15. Read a book featuring an animal -Warriors- Into the Wild- **** 

This book was a very good graphic novel. The book ended on a choice for the main character that was enough to make me want to pick up the next book.

Working as a Social Worker with PTSD- Part 3

One of the questions I often get asked is how do I work in social work when I have seen such terrible things in my life. I would say that it is in part because of those things. I would love for people to no longer have to face the types of trauma I and many others face. I would love for PTSD to become a relic of the past. I know that is a big dream, but a social worker has to have hope in the good of society. 

However, I am also a realist. I know realistically people will continue to have little and big traumas. There will continue to be war, disease, and famine; we do not live in a utopia after all. However, from my experience I can help people learn how to cope. I can teach breathing techniques, make referrals to qualified practitioners, and I can keep hoping. 

From my diagnosis and as part of my coping I have learned good boundaries which is a strength in this field. I hope to avoid burn out and hurting my clients by keeping good boundaries. These boundaries allow me to work productively with clients that others may consider difficult. I can structure and organize my day and office in a way that works for me. As a person who will be training other social workers I am able to have structure for my trainee and teach in a compassionate trauma-informed way. 

I am not going to say every day is easy, it is not. I have days where I have depression and struggle to get out of bed. I still have days I live in fear, but I keep trying. Social work is all about getting back up on the horse after you fall down. That doesn’t just count for clients, it helps us too.

Reading June 20th-27th

I have tried to up my reading this week. I started the week off strong by finishing three books in as many days. I am two books from meeting my goal. I hope I make it!

Read- 

  1. Sorcery of thorns- Audiobook/Reading 
  2. The New Jim Crow (replacement for Thieves like us) – Audiobook
  3. My Neighbor Totoro Book 2
  4. Wolf Moon
  5. Warriors- Tigerstar and Sasha

Currently Reading-

  1. The dragonet prophecies
  2. Magical Apocalypse Girl book 1

Is It PTSD?- Part 2

*PLEASE NOTE THIS IS AN EDITED DROP IN POST*

 When you have PTSD, it’s hard to feel safe. The traumatic event, a natural disaster, combat, sexual assault, accident, can take hold, and you find you can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe you have nightmares and trouble sleeping. Maybe you feel on edge and unsettled or don’t find pleasure in things you used to enjoy. If you already have depression it may initially feel like a bad depression episode. 

Maybe you feel it’s just easier to be alone. Feelings like these are common after going through a trauma. For most people, they pass in a few weeks or months, but for others, they are long lasting. I recommend trying to find someone you feel safe with or doing something small and social every week. It is important to have a network of support during this time. 

PTSD symptoms fall into four categories: reliving or re-experiencing the event, avoiding things or places that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and hyperarousal or being on guard. For someone to be diagnosed with PTSD, they need to have symptoms in all four categories.

PTSD symptoms can happen at any age, and they come and go. Only a mental health care provider can diagnose you with PTSD. Knowing if you have PTSD is the first step to getting effective treatment. So, it is important to talk with a doctor or mental health provider if you think you have symptoms. There are effective treatments and it is never too late to ask for help! 

Learn more about PTSD symptoms at the National Center for PTSD. The PTSD Coach app and PTSD Coach Online can also help you learn about PTSD symptoms and practice skills to manage those symptoms. You can even track your PTSD symptoms in the app. The PTSD Treatment Decision Aid is another online tool that can help you decide which treatment is best for you. Other useful resources are the Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment booklet, and the National Center for PTSD’s whiteboard videos.

Found: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/awareness/docs/PTSDAware_BlogPost.pdf 6.24.2020- Edited to best fit my readers. 

PTSD Awareness month- Part 1

June is PTSD awareness month. This is an illness close to my heart as I am one of the 7-8% of Americans who suffers from this disorder. I will not go into what happened as that is unfortunately a question I get all too often, however I will bring awareness to this illness. 

10% of women and 4% of males suffer from PTSD: 8 million people total in the United States alone. Not everyone who suffers a trauma ends up with PTSD; PTSD occurs in a smaller percentage of people.  (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp). 

As a service provider, I wonder how much the generational trauma of COVID-19 and the current systemic racism will affect our world. I worry that we are going to see a rise in PTSD or secondary trauma and we as providers do not have the capacity to handle a great uptick in clients during this time. 

Resource Spotlight for providers: https://orders.gpo.gov/PTSD.aspx

This website has What is PTSD? Flyers, magnets, cards, and other information that may be helpful for those in mental health practice or advocacy. 

My next post will be a Drop in Post Written highlighted by the VA called “Is it PTSD?” Keep an eye out!

Relationship balance

Relationships are such an important part of self care. It is, afterall a part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. People need to have friendship and love. With all kinds of personal history and things bringing people to social work it may be even more important for our profession. We see trauma and help people on their worst days. From working in hospice to working in protective services we all need a little love when we get home. 

Even if we can’t talk about work when we get home having someone who loves us for who we are as people and not as a profession is profound. 

From personal experience, I know that not all families are the most loving. I have my own “found family”. A collection of people I consider my siblings, my twin, and my “adoptive” mom. Having these relationships have gotten me through good and bad times. They are there to pick me up when I am down, jump in a car if I am broken down, or just give me a hug after a long week. 

I could not go this whole post without a shout out to my loving boyfriend. The person who cleans and organizes the house when I am so exhausted. The person who loves me for me and while he does not always understand my job he is so supportive. He is my pets fur-dad, my confidant, and the person who cuddles me to take all the frustrations of the day away. The person who knows exactly how to make my coffee and make me laugh. It may sound like a bunch of feel good stuff but in relationships the small things really do matter. 

I know we help our clients find a support system all the time but it is up to us to find people who love and support ourselves. This is one of those times where we MUST practice what we preach. 

Reading update June 12- June 19

My reading has slowed down a bit this time of month. I have a lot of plates to juggle and reading ended up on the back burner. I also have a lot of feelings when it comes to JK Rowling’s TERF comments- more to come on that in a future post. 

Read- 

  1. We have always lived in a Castle 
  2. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle 
  3. Armageddon Summer

Currently Reading 

  1. Sorcery of thorns- Audiobook/Reading 
  2. The New Jim Crow Law(replacement for Thieves like us) – Audiobook

Reading update June 1- June 12

I will give my feelings and ratings at the end of the month, but I wanted to give my readers an update on my progress. Between a lot of schedule squeezing, listening to audiobooks at work, and good boundaries around my reading time I have managed to finish a solid chunk of my reading in 12 days. 

Read- 

  1.   Five Feet Apart
  2.  An Enchantment of Ravens
  3. Defense Against the Dark Arts- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
  4.  Blood Bonds
  5. The Fault in our Stars
  6. My neighbor Totoro Book 1

Currently Reading- 

  1. We have always lived in a Castle- Audiobook 
  2.  Armageddon Summer- reading

I herd that!- Guinea Pigs and Self-Care

The benefits of owning a herd of guinea pigs are numerous. Guinea pigs are like owning mini-puppies. They live in a cage all day and need food, water, attention, and love just like puppies. They have adorable little personalities. For example my little one Iris has such a little attitude, she flips her bowl when she is hungry, she gives adorable tribbling noises as soon as you pick her up, and she loves to cuddle when she isn’t on a mission to visit the other guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are social animals, they love their people and should be kept in groups of two or more. They need a bit of space! We have two large rabbit hutches and a wabbitat to hold the 12 piggy heard. 

There are five pigs in each hut and two pigs in the wabbitat. We will be building an extension to connect the two huts soon! The little ones need more social interaction with each other and I would like to give them more room to play. 

Guinea pigs are also great to help you get motivated to self care. Since they need spot cleaning, weekly full cleanings, food, and water checked daily they help motivate their owners to get up and move around. Once you’re in motion watch what you can accomplish!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Camp Half Blood Readathon in June

Why yes I want to do 2 readathons in June! Luckily some of my books can count for both! I will review which books count for both then list my new titles.

Both-

  1. Blood Bonds
  2. We have always lived in a castle
  3. Wolf Moon
  4. Five Feet Apart

New books-

  1. Wings of fire- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13228487-the-dragonet-prophecy
  2. My neighbor Totoro Book 1- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1598318.My_Neighbor_Totoro_1
  3. Warriors- Into the Wild- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/111332.Into_the_Wild

In total I have 14 books on my TBR. Can I do it? The only way to find out is to try!