My New Year Book Reads (for self-development)

I recently wrote about Self-Care & Getting High (on vibrations) .

I wanted to share two well-known books that I’m currently reading while on my journey.


In conjunction with reading both books, I am using Higher, a self-care planner I created, as well as the Year of Yes Journal.

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Are there any books that you’d recommend for self-improvement?

Sugar: Toxic and More Addictive than Cocaine?

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If you’ve read my scifi book, Negus, you may have remembered a short story about aliens secretly conducting research on earthlings. In the below passage, the aliens provide feedback on sugar in a letter to other reseachers back home:

“There was one sandy textured ingredient in many of the food that we learned was called refined sugar. It is the most detrimental of all so far. We believe this is the main aggressor and contributor to the progressive aging and cell damage. The beings do not seem to be aware of this, as they feed their offspring this poison. It must also be noted that almost every single “food” here has this poison.

However, the chemicals have a very delightful taste! We have found in an unfortunate way, that some components of the additives are for addictive purposes. You see, after having sampled a few processed foods under the category of what they refer to as “sweets”, we began to experience a deep yearning for more. We have finally weaned off of the poison for good after numerous fails, with no intentions of ever consuming it again.” – Excerpt from my scifibook, Negus.


Virtually every processed food has sugar, including foods that most wouldnt classify as sweets (bread, pasta, pizza, etc). This may be one reason why processed food/comfort food is so addictive. There are other addictive additive in processed foods that also also accounts fot this. However, on this post, sugar will be our primary focus.


Why Sugar is so Satisfying

Hedonic Value:
According to verywellmind.com, “The hedonic value of sugary foods is the intensity of pleasure experienced by the person eating it. The point at which sweet beverages are most pleasurable has been identified at 10 percent. This is known as the “bliss point.” Food retailers keep their foods as close to the bliss point as possible to stimulate people’s desire to re-experience the bliss point by eating that food again and again.”
Dopamine:
Like drugs, sugar also releaeses dopamine, which is the brain’s reward system.


I also recommend everyone read or own a copy of The Brain Bible by John Arden, which explains in detail the physical affects of sugar on the brain.

An excerpt fromt The Brain Bible:
“Sugar is potentially destructive to the body, especially the brain. High levels of sugar contribute to premature aging, and aging makes you less tolerant to sugar in your blood.”
“Sugar stiffens protein molecules by creating pigments called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs act like a chemical glue that fuses molecules, causing a process called cross-linking. Consider what happens to a piece of meat when you leave it too long on the grill. Not only do you brown the skin, you toughen in. Overcooked meat is cross-linked, making it difficult to cut ot chew. When your cells have cross-linked, many processes become impaired.”

 


Just How Toxic is Sugar?


Beating Sugar Addiction

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References:
https://www.verywellmind.com/sugar-addiction-22149
http://theconversation.com/fact-or-fiction-is-sugar-addictive-73340

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11 Things Ive Learned the Hard Way About Being an Indie Author & Finding Your Purpose/Gift

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Imma gonna jump right into this. No need for an introduction as the title has already introduced exactly what this is about. This is to all the indie writers who had to learn the hard way, for those who may have already knew this before becoming independant, and to those who have no idea. (This may offend a few folks.) Here it goes:

  1. You probably aren’t as good as you think you areStop listening to your friends and family. They’re BIASED. Especially those who don’t read; they have no standard to go by. ( see The Dunning-Kruger Effect)

  2. Read your reviews (the real ones) for the right reasons- Don’t read reviews for an ego boost. Especially if majority of the reviews are from people you know. Read the real ones for a gauge on your work. Embrace criticism and learn what you need to work on. Even if the reviewer did not mention anything useful , be grateful that your work is out there and is being read by folks other than your loved ones.

  3. Your friends and family aren’t obligated to support you- Stop getting upset or down because your friends and family arent buying all of your books or sharing all of your posts. Not everyone is into what you’re into. Not everyone likes to read and not everyone is into the genre(s) you write. Also you may just not be as great of a writer/storyteller as you believe you are. (See #1). Go out and find your audience. This means you may need to pay for advertisements, do podcast interviews, give out a few free books, go out in person and find your audience through bookfairs, book signings, etc.

  4. Stop asking people to read your stuff (finished or unfinished)- It took me awhile to stop being offended whenever my boyfriend (ex-boyfriend now) would not read something I was working on or had just finished. I vowed to never be with another man who didnt or couldn’t support me by reading my stuff. But perhaps this is selfish of me (still not sure). However i’ve learned that not everyone wants to spend valuable time reading pages of whatever youve written. Not everyone is interested in hearing about your writing. Especially if they don’t even like reading. I like to read and even I dread reading something that I may have no interest in or just don’t feel like reading. It feel like homework or just plain work. Let them volunteer or ask on their own. Hire a beta reader or do what i do: I go on facebook and ask for volunteers to act as a beta reader for me. I will say that sometimes this isnt a good idea if you’re looking for honest opinions, though. Why? See #1.

  5. It’s okay to go back and revamp your sh*t- You will make mistakes. You will cringe on some of your earlier work and book covers. Hell, i’ve been thinking about changing my pen name for awhile now. I have gone back a few times and revamped lot of my old covers as well.

  6. Just because you spent so much time writing your book, doesn’t mean people are willing to spend $25 or more on an unknown author- PERIOD. I know there are some who say that you need to know your worth but do it within reason. Think about all the facts first and research. Are you a well-known author? How long is your book? Is it a hardcover, paperback, ebook? Research the average ebook price in your genre and platforms, etc.

  7. Hire a professional- This is something I need to take my own advice on. If you’re serious about writing and don’t want to embarrass yourself: hire an editor, proofreader, beta-readers, graphic designers, etc. I do hire graphic designers and once in awhile I hire an editor. (I know, I know)

  8. Your readers aren’t idiots- They can tell when you’ve rushed on a book (guilty), they remember if you said that a character was an only child an a previous book, but now has siblings in the sequal, they know good writing, they know bad editing or lack of, and if you’re lucky enough, they know if you’re usually a good writer but didn’t deliver as good as they know you can. Take your time and do it for the ones who support you (not talking about friends and family)

  9. It’s okay to take a break- I don’t know if it’s the virgo in me, but it’s taken me awhile to learn not to have Writer’s Guilt. I’ve always felt alot of pressure to finish or start on the next book to a series. Especially when I receive messages from readers who are questioning when it’ll be out. I’ve been guilty of rushing on books to please readers but in the end, it ends up backfiring on me. (see #8)

  10. Don’t beat yourself up too bad when bitten by Writer’s Depression. Be grateful for the fans you do have and have try not to take yourself too seriously. Remember to have funIf you’re a writer, you know this is easier said than done but it’s important to know that alot of writer’s suffer from depression. I talk about this more in Writer’s Depression is REAL. Create a blog to vent, journal, or join a community of writers on social media or in person who will understand what you’re going through.

  11. Writing may not be your calling, gift, or purpose- It’s the truth. This is something that takes some searching within and really being honest with yourself. Below are videos on finding your calling/gift/purpose.


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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Alas, the one post I’ve been dragging my feet on posting about

BPD

(also known as Emotional Dysregulation Disorder)

(Not to be confused with Bipolar Disorder, which is NOT a personality disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder.)

I want to apologize in advance on the multiple videos posted below. I wanted to include as many educational resources and references about the topic at hand.


What exactly is Borderline Personality Disoder?

I recommend listening to at least the first 10 minutes of the below video. Out of all the videos, I ‘ve found that Dr Ramani breaks down the traits and characteristics the best.

It is important to remember that not everyone suffering from BPD have the same characteristics or traits, as there is a spectrum. Not every individual with this disorder is “crazy”, violent, and obsessive as portrayed in media. Therefore not everyone with BPD are exactly alike. Also, only FIVE of the 9 criteria must be met to be diagnosed, which means not all suffering with BPD are suicidal or etc.

As always, it is recommended to not self-diagnose. Please seek a professional for a proper diagnosis.

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The Stigma of BPD

1. STIGMA ONLINE:

Borderline folks catch a lot of flack online. Just look through the many videos and comments on YouTube from disgruntled exes.

Men and women with BPD are often thought of as toxic, manipulative, and attention-seeking by some, when in fact, those with BPD feel love intensely and most have a fear of abandonment. Alot of times theyfeel a great sense of guilt whenever they do cause disruption. I wil admit that it does take a very patient person to be able to involve themselves romantically with someone with BPD. Of course this also depends on where the person with BPD falls on the spectrum and the traits they possess, as not all individuals are the same.

2. STIGMA IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS

And if that isn’t bad enough, people with BPD are also discriminated against by mental health professionals

This is because they (people with BPD) are one of the hardest to treat because the disorder often misunderstood. In fact, not all therapist are willing to treat or understand enough about BPD. Those with BPD are often dropped as patients (see The Stigma Associated With Borderline Personality Disorder and Why Do Therapists Stigmatize People with Borderline? )

3. STIGMA IN HOLLYWOOD/FILMS

I’ve come to notice that alot of films based on a character with BPD are often exaggerated and doesn’t help the stigma already attached with BPD.

Such as:

Single White Female

Welcome to Me

A Thin Line Between Love & Hate

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

As stated, not all individuals with the disorder have the same traits. Many cannot work and receive disability, while others are high-functioning.

The lack of knowledge is one reason why I recently published a fictional short story of a woman dating while secretly dealing with BPD. The story was written to help education and bring awareness.

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(Click here to hear a sample of the audiobook)


Common BPD jargon:

SPLITTING:

when someone sees someone as all good or all bad and no in between. Its the reason why people with BPD tend to idealize others or demonize other people out of the slightest of things.

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“FP”: FAVORITE PERSON

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TREATMENT

1. PSYCHOTHERAPY (Talk Therapy).….Seeking a mental health professional is recommended. Most professionals will suggest group therapy with others with BPD. Individual therapy is often long-term.

2. MEDICATION.....Depending on the severity/circumstances, medication can also be prescribed for emotion regulation.

3. AGING/TIME....For some, BPD may not a life-long disorder. Some are only affected for just several years, with the symptoms decreasing in intensity as they get older. The disorder mostly affects young women, but there are older men and women who are affected.

4. DBT Workbook (Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook). DBT is considered one of the most effective methods for treating BPD. Some professionals use it for group therapy but the workbooks is also recommended for individual use and can be found at online retail stores like Amazon.


CONCLUSION

There is so much more that can be said about BPD that i’m sure was missed in this post such as mood swings, impulsiveness, dissociation, and etc.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, the best thing you can do is research. There are also online support groups on Facebook for not only those with BPD, but for loved ones of those with BPD, as loved ones are also often greatly affected. Some have admitted that being around those with BPD is like always walking on eggshells.

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Writer’s Guilt

A few weeks back I wrote about Writer’s Depression and how a surplus of writer’s suffer from depression. Well there’s another thing that I recently found out that writers also deal with regularly: Writer’s Guilt.

I have suffered from writer’s guilt for years now. Before I go further into detail about how it’s affected me, I must clarify that there are two forms of writer’s guilt.

  • Writer’s Guilt#1: Guilt of spending majority of your time writing. I think this is a good problem to have. Many people who have yet to pulish a book or finish writing haven’t done so because they don’t make the time or simply just procrastinate. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to get your ass up and write your book, blog, essay, or etc. It’s simply procrastination and lack of focus. Well, these writers with this form of writer’s guilt are the exact opposite. They believe they are overly-focused and heavily motivated. They usually feel guilt because they feel that they don’t spend enough time with family and friends or doing other things. (Click here to read more about this type of guilt)

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  • Writer’s Guilt#2: Guilt of not writing. This is the guilt that most writers feel. This is the guilt that has been plaguing me over these past couple of weeks. I have not posted a blog in weeks, nor have I worked on my new book in days. (The Other Woman, coming soon!) I don’t know where this sense of guilt comes from. Even when I vowed to quit writing in the past (I’ve vowed to quit at least seven or eight times), I could never quit. It’s like a habit that I can’t shake. The longest I have ever gone without writing was about five or six months and whenever someone would ask about future projects or how my writing was going, a deep sense of guilt would seep in. I would feel like I just betrayed someone. I still feel that way when it’s been just a couple days. Maybe it is betrayal. Betrayal to my higher self, to God-who gifted me with this skill, or betrayal to the craft itself. I’m not sure. I do know that it’s like a pang of guilt that sits at my subconsious until I get to writing. Hell, maybe it’s my spirit guides urging/enouraging me to fulfill my passion/life work/calling. I don’t know.

Either way, below are a few links to help get you out of that Writer’s Guilt. Whether it’s guilt from writing too little or from writing too much.

1. How to Ditch Writer’s Guilt

2. Six Tips for Working Through Writer’s Guilt

3. Why Writers Feel Guilty and How to Overcome It

4. 10 Ways to Kick Writer’s Guilt to the Curb

I would also like to add that joining and participating in a writing group is also helpful. I am a member of writing group on Facebook, where writing challenges are posted each day. This helps in getting out of that non-writing funk.

You can also purchase creative writing journals under $10 on Amazon. Here are 3:

300 Writing Prompts

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Have you ever been a victim of Writer’s Guilt? Have you ever heard of it? Any suggestions on dealing with it? Comment below.

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