reading is hard (when OCD sucks)

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Hi everyone! It’s been quite a while since I’ve even attempted to write a blog post. I hope you’re all doing well, and that you’ve been able to read some great books lately.

I personally haven’t been doing my best and I’m going to try to be very open and honest about that (please be kind to be, being vulnerable isn’t something that’s easy for me), so I do want to preface this post by saying that, if you need trigger warnings, this post needs them for anxiety, OCD and depression. Please take good care of yourself, and if you don’t feel like reading something that has anything to do with any of those topics then that’s 100% okay. Be safe 💜.

So yes, as far as I can remember I’ve always struggled with anxiety and, when I wasn’t doing well, depression. But these past few years I’ve also noticed that OCD started creeping its way into my life. Whenever I felt really unsafe and wanted a way to make myself feel a little more safe and secure I’d give in to a very nonsensical action. Always putting my left shoe on before my right one. Always having to fill the entire page whenever I’m journaling. Etc. Annoying, but do-able and manageable.

But when the pandemic started, everything got a lot worse. I (like a lot of other people, I think) felt incredibly scared and like I was losing control over everything. I’m usually already not great at adjusting to the most minor changes of plans, like my mom suddenly not having to work, and now everything was changing all the time and my day to day routine was just… gone. I didn’t know what to expect or what to do, and because of this my anxiety just started spiraling. And in order to cope my OCD got a lot worse.

I don’t really want to go into details, just that it happened because this somehow made me feel in control of something. If I just did this OCD compulsion right, things would go right. And the few extra OCD things I started doing quickly became more until it progressed into every single thing I did, and I spend most of my time just sitting on the couch doing nothing because I knew that the moment I stood up or I’d start scrolling through social media I’d have to do one of my compulsions again. Every single thing I did became a struggle, and I was so tired.

Luckily things did start getting better after I became so frustrated and annoyed with myself that I just stopped giving into a lot of the compulsions, but it’s definitely still here. There’s still a lot of things I have to stop doing, stop thinking about (seriously, the way I tie my shoes doesn’t have any effect on whether a certain thing is going to go right. I know that.) (it’s so incredibly exhausting going through life thinking “did I do this right?” with every single thing you do, even when you know there’s no right way but desperately trying to find one) and keeping the things I already stopped doing away is a constant fight, but I’m already really happy with how much better I’m doing. I mean, I’m writing again, and that’s already a huge thing for me.

However, reading and the things attached to reading (blogging, being a part of the book community, etc.) still scare me. I’m currently slowly making my way through The Sound of Stars by Alechia Bow with my friend Sara and it’s going okay so far, but other than that I haven’t picked up a book in quite some time. And with all of the books that have released in the past couple of months that I missed out on I’m just feeling incredibly overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start. Besides that, the last book that I physically read (Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson) was a real struggle because of my compulsions while reading (like “read this sentence again”, etc.). What if I pick up a new book and it’s a giant struggle again? The fact that the things I used to use as a distraction from my anxiety and a way to make me feel better have now also transformed into this anxiety battleground is so frustrating and sad and it’s so scary to face that head-on.

And then the blogging and overall book community thing. I’ve always been really shy and struggled with finding a place where I felt like I fit in, and after years of being in the book community I finally felt comfortable but now… I don’t. I feel like I missed out on so much, and what do I even have to add? Especially blogging wise, what can I say when I haven’t read a thing in quite some time? When I have no idea what books are coming out when? When I haven’t written a thing in months and don’t really know how to anymore? I’m currently staring at this lap of text like “how am I even going to format this?” and doubting whether I should even post this.

So yes, I just hope you’ve all been doing well and that you’re okay with me peeking my head into this space again, even if it might be a bit messy at first, because I do think it’d be good for me to go back to doing the things I used to do. Reading, blogging, journaling, playing music, etc. I was a lot happier when I did, and my therapist did say it’d probably be best if I kept my mind occupied so that I don’t start thinking too much again. And I do agree with that.

But I’d love for you all to let me know what I’ve missed out on. What books have you been reading lately? What upcoming releases are you anticipating? Have you published any posts that you’re really proud of? I’d love to know. And thank you so much for reading this, I really appreciate it.

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and Loneliness

14 gedachtes over “reading is hard (when OCD sucks)

  1. anniekslibrary zegt:

    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been struggling, Laura! Thank you so much for being so open with us, I think that’s really brave.

    I can imagine being overwhelmed – so many amazing books have come out. But I immediately thought of one book, one of my favourite books of the year, that you might enjoy a lot, which is The House in the Cerulean Sea. It’s such a fun, comforting read with the best found family and it’s already become one of my comfort reads for when my anxiety gets bad.

    Other books I would really recommend (but please don’t feel like you have to read them all, or even any of them, this is just in case you need some inspiration): I’ll Be the One, Finding Joy, You Should See Me In a Crown, Felix Ever After, The Henna Wars

    Like

  2. Leigh zegt:

    I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. Your openness is really inspiring. I know what it’s like to be vulnerable. It doesn’t come easy to me either.

    I’ll be praying for you!

    Like

  3. Esmée zegt:

    I am so proud of you for trying. I have been struggling during this pandemic too and reading, writing, just doing something for myself for a sec thats not scrolling my phone, it’s so hard.

    My tactic to get some reading done is to push through everything my mind prevents me to do for a second long enough to press play on an audiobook, even on the speaker on my phone and to listen to it a bit before bed instead of a physical book. If you need recs, I have several 💜

    I am right here if you need someone to talk, I know how you feel (to a certain point). You’ll get through this, I know you will. You are strong like that 🌈💜

    Like

  4. fablehunter zegt:

    I empathize a lot with you, I struggled a lot this year/summer with my anxiety and other mental health issues because of all the changes from COVID, and took time away from blogging and writing. I understand what you mean by not feeling comfortable or being able to contribute but you’re openness is an inspiration and anything you write that makes you feel better is important and contributes. Take all the time you need to heal and come back, mental health is super important 💚 you’re an inspiration and I hope to read more from you here soon

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  5. jawahirthebookworm zegt:

    This is such an honest post, thank you for sharing this private part of you with all of us. That is true courage and true strength; you are an absolute warrior. The pandemic has affected all of us and I think in a way made us more empathetic to one another. And as a young adult it’s particularly difficult to have life cut off on us like that.

    I pray for you to find peace, love, and comfort within yourself. You’re mental health is important and YOU are the most important, so put YOU first and don’t worry about what you missed and what you didn’t. The book blogging community and the world of books is always here to welcome you back in their open arms. Sending you love and light ❤️

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    • Savonte zegt:

      Thank you so, so much for posting this. You were worried about not having anything to add to the reader/blogger community, but you’ve added so much by sharing your experiences as a reader who struggles with mental health challenges that can make reading extremely difficult. I’m doing so, you’ve let others know they aren’t alone as they navigate their journeys as readers with mental health challenges. I didn’t question that you belong to the reader/blogger community, so why should I question myself? I felt inspired by you, so why shouldn’t I feel inspired by myself? Your words empowered me. Thank you. ♥️

      Like

  6. Poulami @ Daydreaming Books zegt:

    Much much love to you.
    The pandemic has pretty much taken a heavy mental toll on a lot of us and you are so brave. I haven’t been able to openly talk about my issues You inspire me.
    I finally have started reading and blogging again after a year. And it’s a struggle to keep going.
    Know that I am here for you. Just a message away. Take care and let’s just try together.

    Like

  7. Tara zegt:

    I am so sorry you’ve been struggling – it feels like this pandemic has brought to the surface all the hardest parts of normal life and made them even harder! I’ve been feeling my grief get worse and worse as this thing continues with no end in sight but I’m proud I wrote about it.

    Like

  8. aclairerium zegt:

    Sorry that you have been struggling, espeically during a time like this it really is so very difficult. But I also wish to thank you for writing this post, I also have Mh issues and I know how hard it is to talk about it. Take care, and look after yourself. Keep going you’re doing great 😊

    Like

  9. daisymaen zegt:

    Thankyou for sharing this, Laura, it’s not easy to open up and be vulnerable online! I love your writing style and i’m hoping for the best for you in the future 🙂

    Like

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