Before I get started with this message, I just want to say a huge thank you to all my readers and all the authors who have sent me their novels and put their incredibly hard work into my hands for an honest review. Without the help and trust of every single one of you, Brianna Remus Books would not thrive.
For those of you who do not know, I am currently an upcoming third year doctoral student in clinical psychology. My therapeutic focus is sexual trauma in children and early intervention. That being said, it is safe to say that I encounter a lot of difficult and outright tragic cases every single week. I witness a lot of suffering in my line of work and it has recently taken a toll on my own mental health. In psychology programs we hear this thing called "self-care" from our professors, supervisors, and mentors. They tell us to go to the beach, maybe drink some wine, spend time with loved ones. But what they don't say is to take care of our own mental health. There is still an incredible amount of stigma in our own profession that leaves students and young professionals burned out and feeling helpless.
Over the past year I have been feeling intense depression, severe anxiety, and other emotions I didn't even know I was capable of feeling. I felt incredibly lost and helpless and that no one understood what I was going through...and even worse yet, that I couldn't talk to anyone about it because I am supposed to be the strong one. I am supposed to be the one who helps other people overcome their depression, anxiety, and trauma. I was drowning and I could not figure out how to keep my head above water. I started procrastinating and turning in work I was not proud of. I was late on several book reviews because my depression was all-consuming. But of course, Instagram and other social media accounts bear witness to the perfectly edited photos and status updates of my imperfect state of mind. It's funny how hard we try to conceal our pain.
I lost sight of my internal happiness and the love I used to have for myself. There was a moment 7 days ago when I hit rock bottom. All my emotions and mental health were drained. But as I slowly brought myself out of that moment with the help of my parents and husband, I started to have huge revelations on how I could gain my mental strength back.
Among taking care of my body with exercise and healthy eating, as well as spending more time outside and spending less time on the internet, I realize I need to change some aspects of one of my favorite hobbies, reading.
When I first started Brianna Remus Books I had an intention to include all the genres I have enjoyed over the years (sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, psychological thrillers, romance). I wanted to connect with different readers and authors. However, as my blog grew I started to receive inquiries of reviewing for mostly thrillers and mysteries. Over the past week this was one of my revelations...I was working with children and families who experienced terrible traumas and I was coming home to read novels about more terrible traumas or situations. My mind never took a break from negativity, drama, and pain. I was taking in so much sorrow that was feeding my depression and bleak outlook on life.
You are what you feed your soul.
That is not to say that if one reads a book about a serial killer that he/she will become a serial killer. No. But if you are struggling mentally with finding happiness it is probably best to stay away from stories that bring your hope down. Will I never read another thriller/depressing story again? NO. But at the present moment I need to surround myself with more positive, upbeat, and hopeful words. Therefore, Brianna Remus Books is having a HUGE makeover in the coming month. I will be wrapping up reviews for authors I have already committed to and starting mid-July I will only be reviewing novels within the Romance genre. This genre has always made me smile, laugh, and have hope as corny or cliche as it sounds. But there is something to be said for love and the impact it can have on our well-being. I know this will be a big change for some of my readers and I appreciate your support and I also understand if this does not fit your own interests. The time you spent reading my content means so much to me and I will forever be grateful for what YOU have turned this blog into.
Be happy. Be healthy. Be well.
I am a lover of the written word. This is my space to pursue my love of reading through book reviews and literary discussions with my fellow readers.