Magic wand in the shop. Recommendations?


It’s summer and I feel so…

Sad.

I mean stressed. And then frustrated. And then the sadness seeps in. Because summer just started and my kids aren’t even bored yet but I’ve done nothing but work at my computer all week. Not how I envisioned the start of summer break.

I’m frustrated with a lot of extra admin crapola after my EMR was bought out by another company. It will most definitely be much better eventually but the tedium of the transition to “Yay this is easy!” is taking forever.

I’m mentally drained. Worn down by the buzzing AC so I don’t melt during clinic. The struggles of others that leak into my brain through my headset. The drone of my voice as it reverberates inside my skull providing the same types of options to everyone when all I really want is my magic wand so I can wave it all away.

“And you’re better, and you’re better, and you’re better…”

And then I’ll turn that magic wand around and wave it over my pool because that’s where I really belong right now! Splashing around with my kids in over-chlorinated water that’s always just a smidge too cold for me to stay in for long.

Which is fine because it’s the perfect time to grab that book that’s been waiting for me. Damp sticky fingers from that sweet, juicy bite of watermelon, that I don’t actually have right now, but is clearly the unofficial flavor of “summer at the pool with kids and a book”.

Instead I’m drinking old, reheated green tea that tastes like wet notebook paper. Because as it turns out, my wand is still in the shop where it tends to perpetually live. I’m no closer to getting things done and I’m only sad because I let myself get here.

So much of my day is being taken up by things that can happen tomorrow. Or even next Tuesday! And you know what? They can just hang out on my list with all the other stuff that lives there. A book is calling...

And although reading doesn’t often align with lounging by the pool (who has time for that?? Oh yeah, I’M making time for that!) that’s the summer vibes I’m leaning on right now. And watermelon flavored Extra gum. Kinda summery. -ish.

Which means it’s time for book recommendations!

Starting with the 3 most recent books I’ve read:

  • Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt which was super quick and assigned by the book club I've only been to once and then I read the book a few weeks late because I was waiting for the library to let me know it was in. (Yes I'm a library patron and very rarely buy books. Sorry, authors!). It was a very feel-good kind of book and I'm so happy I read it!
  • Tough Titties by Laura Belgray which I've only had one essay left in but I don't want the book to be over! But who am I kidding. I bought this one so I'll just read it again. Hilariously resonant stories of growing up in NYC in the 80s. Perfect for vacation (but be prepared if anyone sees the title and asks, including kiddos!)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling is an oldie but goodie and I've been reading through the whole series with my girls (almost done with this one!). Maybe that's why I'm so frustrated that my wand doesn't work!

And then the 3 most recent books I’ve recommended:

  • Choose Your Story, Change Your Life by Kindra Hall which was a recommendation to a new patient who I'll be seeing in a few weeks. After a brief chat to be sure we'd be a good fit she asked about books and I thought of this as a perfect fit before we get started!
  • Soundtracks by Jon Acuff which I recommended to a different patient who maybe wasn't well suited to Kindra's style. Super useful for the right person!
  • Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton was something I just sent to my psychologist friend as kind of a joke but not really. Let's just say it's written from the perspective of a crow raised by a dude just before all humans become zombies. Thought provoking and incredibly goofy. Perfect for the pool!

And other classics I often recommend to patients and their families:

Plus some others I’ll add in the PS...

What are you reading? What do you love to recommend?

Reply and tell me so I can read and share them too!

Even if you hate the pool or dread exposure to the skin-melting sun (PSA: sunscreen does not cause skin cancer!) and the idea of swimsuits or humidity has you longing for November’s cocoa, we can all agree on the simple summer pleasure of a good book!

Cheers to watermelon AND waterproof e-books!

Dr. B

Jessica Beachkofsky, MD

Your friendly, sweaty, online psychiatrist!

P.S. I have a ton of other recommendations! Some of my favorites are novels written from the perspective of someone with mental illness which can help people feel less alone and also really provide context for family or loved ones. Hopefully this list has a bunch of books you've never read before! (These are in no particular order)

Welcome to Brain Bites with Dr. B!

Brain Bites is all about broadening your reach with easy-to-digest psych knowledge! Join me for quick, interesting medication and brain science tidbits! Elevate your therapy practice with insight and data from your friendly online psychiatrist!

Read more from Welcome to Brain Bites with Dr. B!

I’m short. Or maybe not really, but compared to my family and friends, I’m a short 5’4”-ish. I don’t HAVE to wear petites but they sure fit better than “regular”. Or I can buy the SHORT version. That’s nice too. (Eye roll. Can't it be a cuter designation? Short is so obvious and boring!) It’s something I’ll probably never really get over (a little punny, maybe? over? no? ok.) but I do have workable solutions! Other than consistently buying pants that don’t fit because they’re too dang long:...

I can’t go to the grocery store, Reader. I mean yes, physically I’m capable of going into a crowded Publix on a holiday weekend but it is a disaster waiting to happen. No, I don’t love wonky lines of pushy people at the deli counter but that's not it. And no, I don’t have a past trauma that keeps me from trying to find the best parking spot (which is actually the one with even the tiniest bit of shade). It’s my inability to be discerning. At all. I’m incredibly susceptible to ANY kind of...

“But how does it actually help? How does it work? What’s going on in my brain right now?” This series of rapid fire questions came from an intake with a woman whom I’d just slapped a PTSD label onto. Label? Slapped? Really? I know. It has been a long journey to get where I am. And I recognize that labels don’t usually help people as much as they do with insurance reimbursement. But I’ve learned a lot. “Well your brain experienced a lot of trauma and now it’s extra sensitive. Zoloft can be...