Written by Jane
I studied English in college and I enjoyed it immensely. I learned that to read is a creative act in, and of, itself. To critically analyse and review a text is an engaging experience and to read can be a challenge but also a great joy. During my degree I read novels that I had never read before, I discovered genres I had never even heard of and I realised that there will never be a dearth of good books.
Condition took this gift and pleasure from my life and, in turn, a huge part of myself was lost for many years. Novels I had devoured in my undergraduate years became impossible for me to even contemplate during my postgraduate study. I could no longer concentrate due to lethargy. I couldn’t absorb or engage with words, I was so deficient in nutrients and minerals. Novels for the first time became overwhelming rather than comforting.
Going to the gym only served to while away hours and hours of numb nothingness whilst I avoided the reality that I no longer had the energy, inclination or presence of mind to read anymore. Let me just say this now, years later, no spin class, aerobics or running session will ever engage the soul in the way that the written word will.
To someone who had loved to read, this was truly devastating. I couldn’t allow myself the time to read, I couldn’t relax enough to sit down and actually switch off. I allowed myself cursory glances at superficial fashion magazines, at the most. These only served to feed my condition even more as I read about the latest diets, fitness fads and celebrity endorsed products. I was the only person it seemed who didn’t realise the increasing absence, however. It was only when my sister said ‘You never read anymore’ that I realised just what was missing.
Through recovery I have slowly begin to read again. It was hard at the start to concentrate, to follow narratives, characters and plots. It wasn’t easy to engage again but I pushed on and I am now happy to say that I have spent a whole summer reading and watching films I’ve loved. I can’t believe how much I have reconnected with myself!! What I’m trying to convey in this post is that whatever passion you lost to condition, you can rediscover it in recovery. For me I love to read but you may enjoy art, knitting, dancing, playing music or shopping. I took it page by page, why don’t you try to take it brush by brush, stitch by stitch, step by step, note by note or shop by shop? Whatever it is that you have lost I promise that you won’t regret recovery because it is recovery that brings you back to what you love and, ultimately, yourself. We are what we love.