50 Thoughts: Sometimes Salvation Really is Between the Pages of a Self-Help Book

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to write about tonight until I stumbled across another friend’s blog.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I don’t typically pay much attention to this, for no other reason than I can’t easily think of anyone in my life that has died in this fashion. In my near 50 years, there is a single person — a former colleague of my husband’s — that I know ended his own life. And to this day, almost 15 years later, it’s still impossible to understand the “why.” So it’s unfeasible for me to fathom the pain that must ensue when this happens to a loved one.

But I do understand sadness. Depression. Anxiety.

As my friend wrote about her anxiety, I could empathize, as while I am not demonstrably hindered by mine, it is always there. Always. And it’s only exacerbated raising a child with special needs. I have days, even weeks, where I dread checking my email. Where I wince when the phone rings. Because anxiety is there, whispering in my ear about the impending bad news I am sure it is. Anxiety is so incredibly evil in that it makes it so very hard to enjoy the good times because you’re convinced bad times are waiting just outside, smoking a cigarette in the alley, waiting for you to step out for a breath of fresh air so they can blow smoke in your face and call you stupid for thinking you had it good.

It’s insidious. And relentless. Which makes it perfectly understandable why some people dealing with this have days where they want to stay in bed.

Then there’s that blasted perimenopause. As if somehow we’re supposed to keep it together when our hormones are going haywire. I laughed out loud when recent news about depression and perimenopause showed up in my social media newsfeeds. Seriously? We needed science to fill us in on that one? I’ve often wondered how many women that divorced their husbands between the ages of 48 and 52 now look back and wonder, “What was I thinking? Oh yeah — perimenopause.”

I can’t offer a prescription for relief for everyone, but I do know what works for me, and that’s reading.

Making a connection through text to another human being is grounding for me in ways I can’t fully describe. I just know it makes my soul feel better to know someone else out there understands how I am feeling.

Of course, it’s the completely self-aware, confident person that can walk into a self-help section at the bookstore and peruse what’s available. It’s also that person that likely doesn’t need one of those books, then .. no? So, thank you, internet. Now you can peruse online and no one but your browser history needs to know.

A few books that have made me feel better?

The Book of Joy


F*ck Feelings

When Breath Becomes Air

The Gifts of Imperfection

The Gratitude Diaries

A book doesn’t solve everything. Or sometimes, anything. But books can remind you there are others that feel the way you do. And that’s a connection worth the effort.

Day 1: 50 Days, 50 Thoughts, 50 Books. Book recommendation: The Bitch is Back

Day 2: There Aren’t Any Do-Overs, Are There? Book Recommendation: A Place for Us

Day 3: Is Pop Culture Circling the Drain? Book recommendation: Live from New York

Day 4: Perimenopause in the Age of Trump Book Recommendation: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Day 5: Take A Knee at the Altar of Common Sense Book Recommendation: How Not to Be a Dick

Day 6: Perspective is the Gift That Keeps on Giving Book Recommendation: A Fine Balance

Day 7: The Accidental Editor Book Recommendation: Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977 – 2002)

Day 8: The First Last of the Firsts Book Recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge

Day 9: All Kinds of Tired Book Recommendation: Believer

Day 10: Overthinking is Anxiety’s Bitchy Best Friend Book Recommendation: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Day 11: Where Would You go with a Wayback Machine? Book Recommendation: A Little Life

Day 12: Fall in my Favorite Chicago

Day 13: On Having It All Book Recommendation: Lean In

Day 14: Where Were You When … Book Recommendation: The Nix

Day 15: 5 Things to Purge Before you Turn 50 Book Recommendation: The Art of Tidying Up

Day 16: A Labor Day Salute to Bad Bosses Everywhere Book Recommendation: Steve Jobs

Day 17: Do You Validate?  Book Recommendation: Less 

Day 18: Identity Crisis Code Purple Book Recommendation: Amp’d

Day 19: Character Really Does Count Book Recommendation: Believer

Day 20: Death Before Public Speaking Book Recommendation: The Gifts of Imperfection

Day 21: 15 Things You Should Do Before You Turn 50 Book Recommendation: Drop Dead Healthy

Day 22: Calling BS on “Sticks and Stones” Book Recommendation: Love Warrior

Day 23: My Feet Are My Favorite Part of Me Book Recommendation: Born to Run

Today’s recommendation: I gotta give a second shout out to the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu with The Book of Joy. It is outstanding.

I blather about books. If you’d like my reviews to hit your in-box, you can sign up here. I also promise a spam-free experience —too busy reading to write and email you every day. I am also on Facebook, trolling for friends. Because we all need more friends. More, more, more.

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