I’m reading again.
That may sound like a small thing, but it’s huge for me.
I periodically have a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder called reading OCD.
I wrote about reading OCD in this post. Basically, this form of OCD makes me obsess over whether or not I’ve “really” read a passage in a book or magazine and whether or not I’ve understood what I’ve read.
The compulsion, then, is to reread passages over and over until it feels “right.”
This makes reading laborious and sometimes unbearable. I find myself avoiding reading. It’s just not worth the effort.
Reading OCD first affected me when I was in the seventh grade. It made doing schoolwork a nightmare. I had a hard time finishing assignments because I took so much time to read the work.
Reading OCD followed me periodically through school and in the years after. I’ve gone through periods when I’ve zipped through books with no problem, not even thinking about reading.
Then I’ve had periods when I couldn’t finish one book for weeks at a time, and I’ve stopped trying.
My efforts to resolve this OCD ritual have had mixed results. I normally try to discipline myself not to go back and reread, no matter how badly I want to. Sometimes this works. Sometimes I end up unable to focus on what I’m reading because of the anxiety.
I have no explanation for why this form of OCD, or for that matter, any form of OCD, can wax and wane. I don’t know why I go into periods of not being able to read. I don’t know why those periods will end without warning.
I do have some suspicions. I think that the more anxious I am generally, and the more other OCD symptoms are flaring, the more the reading OCD acts up.
I went through such a period this past fall. For some weeks, I didn’t pick up a book for serious reading because of the pain of trying to keep myself from rereading.
I think part of the reason was because a medication I was on was ramping up my anxiety. I wrote about a change in medication that I made shortly before the holiday season began. With that change, my general anxiety level has dropped.
Maybe that’s why I was able to read and finish a book over Christmas. Then shortly after Christmas, I picked up a book that I had received as a gift and started reading. And read and read. I read it in about two days, then picked up another book and finished that in a few days. Considering that I had to go to work during that time, I was thrilled.
The reading is good now, and I’m thankful for it. I hope it lasts.
I hope the next time reading OCD strikes, I’ll be more successful at my attempts to derail it.
And what am I reading? I just finished A Wanted Man, by Lee Child and Flash and Bones, by Kathy Reichs. Now I’m reading a nonfiction book that I’ll probably review here.
Are you a reader? What kinds of books do you read? If you’re on Goodreads, you can find me under http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7185436-tina.