Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reading OCD revisited



The most-read post I’ve written for this blog is one called “Read, reread, again and again: Reading OCD.”
When I check the list of search terms used to find my blog, I often find listed something to do with reading.
I never knew until I wrote that post that so many people with OCD suffer from the compulsion of rereading the words on a page until if feels “right” to move on to the next page.
I used to believe that I was the only person in the world who had that problem.
Reading OCD is one of those OCD symptoms that come and go with me. Sometimes I read unimpeded by any sense that I haven’t read each word “perfectly.”
Other times, it’s a struggle to read, so I just avoid it.
On Goodreads, I set as a goal to read 26 books this year. I set a low goal on purpose, so if my reading OCD kicked in, I wouldn’t totally blow a high goal.
So far, I’ve read 12 books. According to Goodreads, I’m three books behind schedule.
That disappoints me, to be behind schedule. I’ve still got enough “good student” in me to want to measure up, even to an arbitrary goal I set on an online social media site.
More than reaching that goal, though, is the desire to free myself from the reading OCD.



What works best for me is to plow through the pages. I don’t allow myself to go back and reread.
Something I do that helps me to be able to do that is to tell myself that I can go back and reread later if I need to or want to. I delay doing the compulsion of rereading.
After a while of doing this, the anxiety lessens and I start enjoying myself. And I don’t reread.



Reading is one of the chief pleasures of my life. I’m not going to allow anything to keep me from enjoying it.
For your reading pleasure, here’s a list of books that I’ve read this year so far. All of them have been good reads, and I encourage you to check out any that interest you:

Flash and Bones. By Kathy Reichs.
Killing Floor. By Lee Child.
Lessons from the Monk I Married. By Katherine Jenkins.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. By Charles Duhigg.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. By Susan Cain.
Bones Are Forever. By Kathy Reichs.
Ransom River. By Meg Gardiner.
Reaching: A Memoir. By Grace Peterson.
Proof of Heaven. By Eban Alexander.
Tripwire. By Lee Child.
Poison Flower. By Thomas Perry.
The Kill Artist. By Daniel Silva.

  Reading is my favorite leisure-time, solitary activity. What’s yours?


37 comments:

  1. We've read and like so many of the same books! :) I do that sometimes, though i don't have ODC. I read the same sentence a few times to make sure i 'have it'. With me it's because of my anxiety. I'm afraid i'll forget. It gets frustrating because i love to read so much. It's one of life's greatest pleasures for me as well. It's one reason i'm behind in my summer reading. I'm reading a lot more slowly, therefore, i'm not reading as many books. I'm glad you're enjoying these books and not letting the obsessiveness get in the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary. Anxiety can cause us to miss out on even our greatest pleasures, can't it? I hope your reading gets back to the way you want it to be very soon.

      Can you tell I like mysteries? :-)

      Delete
  2. I've read some of the books on your list. Goodness re-reading would interfere considerably with one's pleasure-I'm glad you've designed another strategy around a OCD need and continue to enjoy your favourite leisure-time, solitary activity. I love reading too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lynn. Rereading does interfere, but I keep plugging along. I love reading too much to not try.

      Delete
  3. This an interesting post, Tina. I sometimes find myself reading, say, a sign in a shop window as I walk past, not quite getting it all and having to walk back to make sure I've read every word. I can't bear the idea of having a half-finished sentence lurking in my head! I haven't previously come across anyone else with any kind of 'reading OCD'.

    I also love reading, but read very quickly and only occasionally need to re-read lines in a book, when I realise I wasn't concentrating and didn't fully absorb the meaning - I can imagine how frustrating it must be for you to have to keep re-reading sections.

    You are doing better than me in your reading goal, at any rate - I aim for one per calendar month and this year I am already one behind even with that lower target!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Helen. I do the same thing with signs sometimes. I don't feel "right" unless I have read every word of it. It's not too big of a problem, but I find when I'm feeling generally anxious, compulsions like that get worse.

      Delete
  4. Tina I find myself re-readnig pages a lot before moving on...I've never given it much thought until now. Interesting. Maybe I have some OCD that I never knew about? Could be. As far as my favorite leisure actitivty, it would be going to a matinee in the middle of a week day when nobody else is there and catching a movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Keith. I think general anxiety can cause us to feel overly conscientious. Or perhaps it is OCD. The thing to note is how much anxiety it causes you to reread and whether or not you want to reread. If it is causing anxiety and you want to stop rereading, then perhaps you could try what I'm doing--not allowing yourself to reread.

      I like going to the movies when there aren't many people around, too. It makes it easier to get into the movie's "world."

      Delete
  5. i like your method of telling yourself you can always go back and re-read it later if you want. i hope you can do more of that to lessen your anxiety. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your support, Theresa. Telling myself I can go back later gives me a little relief, a way out if the anxiety gets to be too bad. And then the anxiety usually subsides on its own without having to go back.

      Delete
  6. I love you set your reading goals. Makes me want to consider setting similar goals. I do enjoy reading, but my favorite leisure time activity is music, all kinds of music, from the oldies to the new.

    Madison:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Madison. I like setting the goal, or at least keeping a list of books I've read. Kind of keeps me on track. :-) I love music, too. I try to make it a part of every day.

      Delete
  7. Now I know what is going on with some one I know when we read things on the computer screen. All stuff on the computer screen is read and nothing is filtered out. What you say makes a lot of sense.
    I'm one of those people who don't really have a favorite. I do a lot of things. In the summer it's outdoor activities. One thing I never do is watch TV.
    I read The power of the introvert and learned a lot from it. I'm an introvert. I will have to pick something from your list to read as I really like to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Red. That's great that you enjoy a variety of things. I don't watch a lot of TV, but I do like some shows. I hope you do find a book to read from this list.

      I'm an introvert, too, and I learned a lot from that book also. It's interesting how introverts and extroverts can relate differently to the same situations.

      Delete
  8. I'm glad to hear you are back at it! The only book on your list I've read is Quiet. Although I have read other books by some of the authors you have listed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa. I read Quiet because of your recommendation. :-)

      Delete
  9. You've already read more books than I do in a year, Tina! Good for you. I only read in bed at night, and then after a few pages I'm usually too tired to continue :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janet. I hear you on the reading in bed. I don't read as much during the week because I get so sleepy in the evenings.

      Delete
  10. Reading is my passion. Learning to read was my escape from my family and my anxiety. The OCD has intermixed at times, like compulsively reading to get away from thoughts that are intruding, and sometimes if I don't understand something I will get stuck and not read onward, trying to figure it out. Or I'll zip past a page, and then feel compelled to go back and read it, rather than continue browsing a book. If I practice not going back, the anxiety subsides. I enjoyed The Monk I Married as well as Susan Cain's Quiet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. I can relate--reading was sometimes an escape for me, too, when I was a child. I have decided that I'd much rather try to push through the anxiety than to avoid reading--reading is too precious to me! The Monk I Married was great, and I learned so much from Quiet.

      Delete
  11. This is interesting. I don't think I have OCD, but I often reread things if the punctuation seems off to me. I wish I didn't do that - it's senseless for me to be editing a book as I read. Have you ever tried audio? I tend to do both. I spend a fair amount of time commuting in the car, and audio helps me keep my stress level down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen. When I first taught writing (years ago), I found myself reading books like a teacher, wanting to check things like punctuation and organization. :-) I have listened to a few books on audio. I was just thinking that I ought to try it again.

      Delete
  12. I hadn't thought about a reading compulsion. I have it! That's why I don't finish books that I would love to finish. I forget the names of characters and I want to read everything perfectly. Thanks for pointing this out Tina. Maybe next time I will take your advice and just keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Patty. I didn't know so many people experienced this phenomenon to some degree. Yes, by all means, just keep reading! :-)

      Delete
  13. I see Lit by Mary Karr on your TBR pile! IT'S SO GOOD!

    I haven't cracked open the new Mary Oliver book yet, but I'm excited to! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Jackie. I've never read any Mary Karr, but I've heard wonderful things. And I adore Mary Oliver. She's a treasure!

      Delete
  14. You'd better hurry up and get on schedule! ;) Kidding, kidding. The point is to read for pleasure so no pressure, right? I love reading, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Kristina. The goal should be to read for pleasure. Thanks for your comment. :-)

      Delete
  15. I do love to read, but if I had to pick my favourite solitary activity it would definitely be the time I spend in nature. Great post, Tina!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Linda. I love my time in nature, too. :-)

      Delete
  16. You have shown us how something most of us take for granted is not so for all. I hope your method continues to work for you so you can have the same pleasure I do when I read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jill, for your support and kind comment.

      Delete
  17. Well, I must say I am among some serious talent. Bravo for accomplishing so much. I wouldn't take any stock in that arbitrary goal. I'm glad you're doing so well and enjoying your reading time.

    I do more reading in the winter months. During the spring and summer my favorite pastime is gardening. Bet you didn't know that, did you? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Grace. You belong in good book company! And yes, I did notice that you liked to garden. :-)

      Delete
  18. I love reading. It's the most amazing thing for me. I can't read fiction at all, simply because I can't read it "right". So I stick with nonfiction and enjoy myself. There's a few fiction pieces I can read "right" but there's too much anxiety to tackle them most of the time.

    Happy Thursday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kim. I used to read all kinds of fiction, but now if I read fiction, it's usually a mystery or thriller.

      Delete
  19. For me the re-reading until it feels right spills over onto blogs, e-mails, the newspaper, Facebook.. .basically everywhere. I love to read but I drive myself crazy with the re-reading at times. It's not always bad but if I'm stressed, I find myself doing it a lot.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.