Walking on Sunshine

On Reading

I read a lot.  I can manage a book a day.  And I enjoy every turn of the page.  I love shopping for books, libraries, seeing what’s new, finding old favourites.  I love the way books smell and the feel of a solid block of paper in my hands.  I love looking at their covers and relating what I see there to what I’ve read inside.  Books might actually be better than chocolate!

But reading has a serious side for me.  I have mental health issues (Atypical Bipolar, if you really want to know) and reading has become my best non-medicinal way of managing the symptoms, especially anxiety.  I find a book, find a cat, find a comfy seat and dig in to the words until the ‘bad feelings’ go away.  Sometimes it takes days – every time I stop reading those feelings come back until I start again.  Actually, I’m just coming out of such a phase now.

At these times, it’s the way I read rather than what I read that’s important.  It doesn’t matter if I retain the author’s message or not.  What matters is my eyes travelling over the words, my mind making sense of them and my hands turning the pages.  When I start getting all caught-up in those feelings, I bring my attention back to the printed page.  I guess it’s a bit like meditation when you keep gently returning your focus to your breath (or other object of meditation).

Of course, I don’t just read to ‘medicate’ myself.  I read because I love it.  I have done since before I could read.  Well, I loved books and pictures and being read to.  I knew Cinderella by heart.  I learned to read when I was four and never looked back.  My home is full of books.  They’re on shelves, in bookcases, in piles.  Yes, I know I have too many.  But (most of the time) I read the book once and send it on to another via BookMooch.  Unfortunately, I also make new acquisitions through that site!

I think most people have something they turn to in times of stress.  They smoke, they eat, they watch endless soap-operas.  I’m happy with my method of coping.  What’s yours?

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Comments on: "On Reading" (5)

  1. Hmmm, that is a good question. When I get stressed I either grab a good book and a cat or watch a “comfort” movie (Mary Poppins, Singin’ in the Rain, Cinderella) with a cat or two. 😉 Or sometimes I may just go outside and sit with the outside cats for a bit. I guess the bottom line is when I get stress I find being around my cats very calming. Especially a purring kitty. 🙂

  2. I love books too but I don’t read nearly as fast as you do. (And thanks for visiting my blog.) Reading does relax me. So does talk radio (engaging my mind, you know.) And radio I can listen to while doing other things. Exercise also helps me, not so much while I’m doing it, but afterwards.

  3. The above comment was from me. My daughter and I share the same email and I didn’t notice hers was the name listed. (Whoops)

  4. OK. Now the comment I was referring to, listed as “Liz,” disappeared when I posted this one. Weird. I don’t get computers. (Maybe I didn’t hit “post?”
    Anyway, I love reading too. Always have, like you. Exercise helps me with stress too. I don’t like it but it does help me.
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • notjustlaura said:

      Thanks for your comments, Rosemary. Yes, exercise does help me too but I seem to be unable to put what I know into practice!

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