When I was a young teenager (literally around 12/13) I got involved in a deep and ardent love affair. With books. And fearing that this is going to be a lame blog post, I must also mention that my Dad is really the one who introduced me to reading as a hobby. I still remember going into my first bookstore, a small privately owned bookstore especially for teens and young adults (at least from what I can remember). I also think it may have been a used bookstore, but it could also have been a privately owned bookstore that sold brand new books. Anyway, the first real book I remembering picking up as a “child” was The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossly-Holland and literally; the rest is history.
Unfortunately, after suffering from increased anxiety and depression, and having my heritable bipolar disorder rear its ugly head recently, the enjoyment I got from books was sort of stolen by my mental illnesses/disorders. Which I utterly hated but could do nothing about. During the bad parts, I remember being interested in books, picking some up and reading a line or two then getting angry and irritable because I felt like there was something better I could be doing like cleaning, organizing, doing laundry, exploring the woods outside. Because of my Depression, Anxiety, and Bipolar Disorder – I couldn’t enjoy reading books anymore. That made me very sad, and inevitably made my situation that much more worse. So, I wrote my disinterest off as “just me changing as a person” but that wasn’t authentically what was going on.
Recently, my mental illnesses have become what they call “stable” meaning that the medicine that I am on actually helps instead of being ineffective, too strong, or just all together not right. With the stability of my medication, I can enjoy reading books again. And really, to ring in this accomplishment (both on part of the doctors and myself) I have started reading probably the best book series known to man: Outlander. I am reminded now, why I love books and why I love reading. Everything about it just improves my mood, it helps me feel stable and it actually gives me something to look forward to in the afternoons when it comes time to getting off of work (from my two jobs). Reading, to me, is very special. It’s almost intimate.
And with that, now, you can tell that I am writing again. Blogging, journaling, writing (whatever). That is another thing my mental illnesses took from me. I say, if you ever catch me disinterested in reading or writing again, know that it is 100% because of my mental inefficiencies and less about the subject matter. Writing is a release of my thoughts and emotions so they don’t just stay bottled up inside of my mind; weighing me down or making me insanely irritable. While reading gives me a purpose, it keeps my mind occupied so the anxious and sad thoughts don’t try to crowed their way in; overwhelming me.
If someone were to tell me that reading and writing aren’t important, well, I would just out-rightly disagree. They are a supplemental medicine for those of us who can’t shut our “thoughts off”. Anyone with anxiety knows all-too-well the damage that the racing thoughts can have on your personality. Anyone with depression knows all-too-well the damage that “loss of interests” can have on your personality, and finally, anyone with bipolar disorder knows all-too-well the damage that they severe mood swings can have on just basic stability in everyday life. Reading and writing may not be a cure for all vices, but it definitely help improve the quality of life in some.