Saturday, April 16, 2016

'Twas the Month of Exams | Update Post

Hey guys!

I wanted to talk about what you can expect from this blog within the next couple of weeks.

For those of you that don't know, I am a high school senior at a very prestigious school with a very rigorous academic program. Because of my upcoming graduation (yay!), I have a lot of responsibilities to take care of (most of which are exams).

What does this mean for the blog? I'll break it down for you.

  • I have a lot of exams to take. I have about 2-3 exams per subject, and I take 6 subjects in school. This means that over the month of May especially, I have about 18 exams per subject to take (and that does not include some of the final exams that I have for my classes). 
  • Lots of Exams = Lots of Studying. This one is a given. But what it means for the blog is that I cannot be active and writing posts as much as I would want to be, simply because I have to prep for these exams. 
  • My exam schedule is kind of all over the place. This can be a good thing, or a bad thing. I have a few days in the month where I don't have exams at all. This means I could be writing new blog posts (or, more realistically, catching up on my sleep). But at the same time, this means I could have 3 blog posts in a week and then another dry spell for the next 2 or 3 weeks following.
Long story short, I have a lot going on in the next few weeks, which means my blog might not be updated regularly. I did my best to have some posts prepared for you, so please stop by and read those on the blog when they go live! You know I love you all and I would be writing here all of the time if I could!


Monday, April 11, 2016

Mental Illness Awareness Mondays: Kaitlin and PNES

If you stopped by my blog for my Change Places With Me: Harper Summer 2016 Tour, you would know that I mentioned the idea of starting a series of mental illness related blog posts on my blog. 

This is for a variety of reasons. I am hoping that this series will open up mental illness for discussion, help to reverse the stigma against mental illness, and remind everyone that you are not alone, no matter what you are going through. 

This post is one of these posts. Kaitlin from offered to share her experience with mental illness and the struggles that she faces every day, especially with the stigma against mental illness. Rather than speak for her, I'll let you read her post now. 

I have PNES (Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures). I was diagnosed with epilepsy in February 2014 after months of having several seizures per day. I did not know I was having seizures, because I only knew about grand mal seizures (the kind where you fall and shake.) My seizures are much different. I behave oddly. I do repetitive movements (like pulling on my shirt over and over), repeat words or phrases, stare blankly, have difficulty speaking, and talk differently with a high pitched childish voice. 

I was very relieved to get a diagnosis of epilepsy, and finally know what was happening to me. This was happening multiple times per day! I was put on two separate anti-epilepsy medicines and was still having seizures daily, or at least every other day. Eventually, I went to the epilepsy monitoring unit and was connected to an EEG and had 24 hour video monitoring for 5 days. They did record my seizures via the video, but nothing showed up on the EEG. They told me this meant that I was having pseudo seizures. I asked if that meant they thought I was faking it, because I absolutely am not. They told me no, they are real seizures, they just don't have anything to do with epilepsy, since the seizures are not caused by electrical activity in my brain. 

They told me the pseudo seizures are caused by mental trauma. The seizures are real, the same way people who have schizophrenia hear voices that aren't there. They aren't making it up, but it is happening in their mind. "But I don't want to be insane." I whispered to the doctor with tears streaming down my face. She explained that having PNES is not insanity and there is nothing wrong with having mental illness, it is the same as any other illness, there is just not a physical cause.

thisisnotmyfairytaleendingg gif

I thought having seizures was scary, but for some reason being diagnosed with PNES is scarier, and more upsetting to me. Even though it is estimated that 30% of people diagnosed with epilepsy actually have PNES, I had never heard of anyone having this before. Because of the shame and stigma associated with psychiatric illness, I don't tell people I have PNES, I still tell people that I have epilepsy. That way if I do have a seizure when I am with someone they will know what to expect. I don't want people to judge me or call me crazy. I have major anxiety that people are going to stop talking to me if they find out that I have a mental illness, rather than epilepsy. 

 Before I was diagnosed with epilepsy and we were trying to figure out what was happening, I had one friend tell me I am doing this to myself, and that it is my fault that I am sick. She said if I tried harder, and exercised and ate healthier, that I probably wouldn’t have any problems at all. I felt vindicated to know that she was wrong and I had epilepsy. Now that I know I have PNES, I can't help thinking about the things she said, and worry that other people will feel like that. Because of the stigma associated with mental illness, I don't feel comfortable sharing my problems with anyone other than my husband.

Because of self-stigma I avoid many social interactions. I can't do a lot of things that other people can do anymore, like drive, or go on amusement rides, and I worry that this will affect my friendships because now people have to make more of an effort to be around me, and I feel like if they knew I had mental illness instead of epilepsy, they wouldn't make the effort anymore.

Telling people I have PNES is hard. I feel like I have this huge bomb to drop on people's laps. I automatically feel defensive and upset, thinking someone might have a negative reaction or judge me. I know that if more people talk about having mental illnesses the stigma will eventually go away, but I am just not brave enough to tell the people in my life yet. I hope this article helps.


Thank you so much to Kaitlin from for contributing to my blog with this amazing post. I also have to give her an extra thank you because she was the very first person that volunteered to write a blog post for my mental illness awareness series. Thank you so much, Kaitlin!

Feel free to post in the comments your thoughts about this post, along with words of support and encouragement. This "series" of blog posts is meant to be a discussion as well so please feel free to use the comments!

As always, be sure to check out Kaitlin on, or @vivacioushobo on Twitter!


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Queen's Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler Spotlight, Excerpt and GIVEAWAY!

Hey guys! Today, I am working with Jeff Wheeler and Irish Banana Blog Tours to spotlight The Queen's Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler. When I read the synopsis, I was instantly intrigued and I wanted to share this book with you!

Jeff and Hannah were nice enough to include an excerpt for me to share with you, and a giveaway at the bottom of this post! Make sure you read the whole post so you know how to enter! :)

About The Queen's Poisoner:
As usurper of the throne, the rule of King Severn Argentine’s is already highly contested. To keep his power, King Argentine rules with an iron fist and destroys any opposition. In a failed coup attempt the Duke of Kiskaddon loses his son as a permanent prisoner to the king to ensure his loyalty.

The Queen's Poisoner follows the Duke’s young son Owen on his journey for redemption and revenge as he figures out how to survive the court of Kingfountain. In order to keep his head and gain the merciless king’s favor, Owen must delve deeper into the world of mystery and secrecy that surrounds him. Readers will be clamoring for the next installment of The Kingfountain Series.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

About the Author: 

Jeff Wheeler took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to become a full-time author. He is, most importantly, a husband and father, and a devout member of his church. He is occasionally spotted roaming among the oak trees and granite boulders in the hills of California or in any number of the state’s majestic redwood groves. He is the author of The Covenant of Muirwood Trilogy, The Legends of Muirwood Trilogy, the Whispers from Mirrowen Trilogy, and the Landmoor Series.

To learn more about Jeff Wheeler visit his website:  and you can follow him @muirwoodwheeler on Twitter

A sound whispered from the corridor behind him. It was a footfall. Not the sound of a boot in the corridor beyond the wall. The sound of someone approaching within the tunnel. It was coming from behind him.

The queasiness blossomed inside Owen and a cold sweat started on his brow. Going back was no longer an option. The tunnel was narrow and there was no place to hide, so Owen hurried forward, hoping to find an escape into the main palace corridor. It would be infinitely better to be punished for wandering the hall at night than to be caught in the Espion corridor. His little heart started to hammer wildly in his chest and the blackness in front of him became even darker somehow.

He heard the footfalls again, coming closer.

The boy was starting to panic. Ankarette had warned him this could happen. She had told him it was dangerous to wander the tunnels alone and that he needed to be very cautious and always listen for sounds that were out of place. Such as the footfalls behind him.

The narrow pinch of the corridor suddenly filled in ahead of Owen, the walls closing like an arrowhead. It ended abruptly and finally. It was a dead-end.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you all for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed that excerpt and I can't wait to read The Queen's Poisoner with all of you!

FTC Disclaimer: All opinions are honest and my own. Working with Irish Banana Blog tours or with the author did not influence my thoughts/review on the book in any way shape or form.