Saturday, June 12, 2010

Learning to Read

I just finished reading a book. You might think, "so what". However, to me it was one of my most important achievements. I have not been able to read a book for years.

I do not know what happened to cause me to lose my ability to read a book. It may be that I was so sick I could not read. Whatever the case, I went from someone who had 5 or 6 books going at a time, to someone who could not follow a storyline. After trying many, many times and failing I simply gave up.

A few months ago, a friend of mine recently rediscovered her love of reading. I marvelled at all she read and what she was reading. I felt an intense longing to read again. It was like a fire was lit beneath me. I saw possibility.

Then a couple weeks ago my boyfriend and I were talking about my difficulty reading and he said, "Just start to read and keep reading even if you aren't following what is happening. Read the same sentence over and over if you have to, but keep going. Get into the habit of reading"

So I chose a simple book, a kids book, and I started to read. At first it was such a struggle. Even once I got going I kept mixing up the characters and the plot lines. I would suddenly be reminded of a character I had forgotten all about, or become confused by why something was happening the way it was.

Despite a bit of frustration at how much trouble I was having, I kept trying. Eventually I started to remember, to enjoy, what I was reading.

I think a few things were key to my succeeding this time:

  • My depression is not as bad as it has been and my medication has slowed the constant barrage of bad thoughts so I have room left in my brain to focus and think about something else,
  • I purposefully chose a very simple book. In fact, I choose a book geared towards adolescents,
  • I choose a book with a subject that interested me,
  • I made reading a priority, so it trumped my housework, or other duties in terms of importance,
  • I ensured I set time up to read right before I went to bed,
  • The times I started procrastinating I told myself to just go pick up the book and read for 5 minutes. Usually I would intend to read for 5 and still be reading 1/2 hr later.

I feel so encouraged by my ability to read this book. I feel like it is possible to read books again. Honestly, I was so discouraged before that I thought I would never be able to read books again.

Next, I am going to read my favorite book from when I was in grade 3 or 4 next. I figure it will be manageable, and it will bring back some good memories...and we all need more of those.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Over the past few weeks my mood does not seem as bad as it has been. The cacophony of thoughts in my head has slowed markedly. Maybe a bit too slow, too flat, too apathetic. I am completely uninspired and unmotivated. I feel so much fatigue I feel physically sick.

It is like my being, especially my creative being, has simply shut itself down. I have even tried to go to the studio a couple times, but there is no art inside my brain; no ideas, no creativity, and no desire to create anything.

I am grateful that the awful thoughts, repetitive music, all the thoughts and plans for suicide have left me, but it feels like when the bad thoughts disintegrated they left my brain empty.

The past couple weeks I have been trying to reassure myself that my creative being will return. I keep telling myself this emptiness is like a new canvas, the painting will come when I am ready.

My body does not believe this and I have been having really bad anxiety attacks everyday. I do not know why as there is nothing obvious triggering me. The only thing I can think of is that I am afraid of my new way of being. Or maybe I am scared OF being? Sometimes I feel like it would be so much better if all this would just end.