Progress is Possible: An Update on Reading

1JulyBooksSometimes when I think back and compare my present situation to where I was in the past I doubt the progress I’ve made in getting better from OCD. I think this is something most people struggle with when working towards recovery of any mental health problem. Automatic negative thoughts love to taunt and trick us into believing things that aren’t true.

Whenever I start to doubt I’ve made progress I remind myself of exposures I have achieved and goals I have reached. My favorite example to think of revolves around reading.2AugustBooks

As of June this past summer I could barely read. I was reading about one or two novels a year and schoolwork was a nightmare. That summer I set a goal for myself that I had had enough of OCD pushing me around and stealing reading, which is something that I used to love immensely. I decided I was going to get reading back no matter how stressful it was.

To do this I started forcing myself to read. I picked out books that seemed interesting and suspenseful, to increase my motivation for reading, and I just kept making myself read. At first it was just on the subway ride home a few days a week. Then it was for half an hour a day. Then an hour a day, and so on.

3SeptemberBooks

Initially even picking up a book was an exposure. It was stressful, overwhelming, and I wanted to avoid it. But I didn’t let myself. I just kept making myself read and the most incredibly thing happened because of it. Gradually reading became less of an exposure and slowly became enjoyable again. I began to regain my love for reading. As the stress decreased and my enjoyment in the activity increased, the amount I was reading increased right along with it. It reached a point where some days I would read for several hours in the evening, or I would read over one hundred pages without stopping at all. After each of the first few books I finished, I cried happy tears.

4OctoberBooks

As of June 2015 I could barely read. Since then I have read 20 books! Twenty!! My initial goal was to reach reading a book a month, and I have already surpassed that for the year.

I wanted to share my experience with reading with the wish that my story will give someone else hope in their fight. OCD can be overcome and we can regain what we once loved and had stolen from us by OCD. No goal is reached in a day, but big achievements are possible with steady progress. What step will you take today to regain something you loved?

~Morgan5NovemberBooks

P.S. I am always happy to discuss books with other book lovers! Here is a complete list and my ratings of the twenty books I’ve read since July.

July:

  • OCD Love Story, by Corey Ann Haydu (5/5)
  • Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver (4/5)
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews (4/5)

August:

  • Favorite Sherlock Holmes Stories, by Arthur Conan Doyle (4/5)
  • Afterworlds, by Scott Westerfeld (5/5)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs (5/5)
  • Unwind, by Neal Shusterman (5/5)
  • Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs (5/5)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon (5/5)
  • My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult (4/5)
  • The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch (4/5)

September:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll (5/5)
  • Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult (3/5)

October:

  • Library of Souls, by Ransom Riggs (5/5)
  • The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories, by Marina Keegan (5/5)
  • Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen (5/5)
  • The Martian, by Andy Weir (3/5)

November (so far…):

  • The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly (4/5)
  • The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin (5/5)
  • Panic, by Lauren Oliver (3/5)
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31 thoughts on “Progress is Possible: An Update on Reading

  1. This makes me want to cry happy tears! I also gained back reading from OCD this year. I used to love it as well, but when I developed OCD the intrusive thoughts and rereading compulsions got in the way. Now that I’m doing better with both, I picked up a YA novel and didn’t stop for months! I was reading a book a week for a while, but I’ve been taking a break because I’m not sure what to read next! This makes me want to get back into it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey! Love your book list; I’m curious about OCD Love Story…do you think it would be suitable for a 14 year old girl? My partner’s daughter has OCD (as do I) but it’s something she struggles to talk about and deal with at the moment and slowly, she is starting to be a bit more open about it. I want to show her that it’s not something to be ashamed of or feel guilty about so I’m trying to find positive stories about it for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great idea to use books for that! That’s awesome.
      OCD Love Story is for the most part appropriate but it does include details of Beck and Bea’s romantic relationship so it depends on what you are comfortable with her reading. There’s a lot more to the book than that but it is in there. Other than that I think it could be a great book to “normalize” OCD. I could really relate to Bea and the other characters in her support group. Let me know if you read it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve ordered it online! 🙂 I like the idea that, through the group therapy, it shows a number of different ways that OCD thoughts can present themselves. Hopefully she will relate to at least one of the characters. I will probably read it before I give it to her but I think it should be fine, even if it does include details of their relationship – it might also give us some good discussion prompts! I’m just trying to find ways to show her that she’s not a bad person for having these thoughts or doing her “routines”. I’ve talked to her a little bit more about my OCD stuff (which is mostly managed these days) but I think it will be really good for her to know that other kids/teens have it too.

        Also, huge props to you for claiming back reading! 🙂 I meant to say it before but got caught up trying to ask about the book! All progress is positive. Well done!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I hope you both like it and she can relate to the characters!
          And thanks about the reading! It’s definitely more motivating to focus on what we have achieved.
          Also, if she would ever like to talk to another person with OCD so she feels even less alone she is more than welcome to email me (myocdvoice@gmail.com). Of course only if she is comfortable and wants to but the offer is always open!
          Happy thanksgiving

          Like

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