“I read a book!”
I exclaim this in absolute glee to my psychiatrist, probably the only person who wouldn’t find a 19 year old, with an excellent academic record, weird for saying this with such joy. I said it in the same way and with the same pride as someone may say they’d passed their driving test or got into the university they wanted. You know. Normal things for a 19 year old to be happy about.
For me though, this was a landmark event. Since my ADHD symptoms properly started to have an impact on my life 6 years ago, I have barely read a book or magazine. Maybe snippets but I just could never focus. I lost my love for reading and deep down that hurt so much. I’d had no idea why I had no desire to read anymore- just assumed it was depression and losing my love for things I once enjoyed.
I bought 3 books when I came back off holiday. One was the reason I made the order and the other two were just ones that appealed to me. Determined to try and read little bits every day now I was on medication for my ADHD, I patiently awaited my order. For the first time in a long time, I felt excited at the thought of picking up a book again. I wanted to. The thought of maybe being able to concentrate long enough to rediscover my love for reading made me giddy and no, I’m not exaggerating.
No other 19 year old I know of has ever cried because they managed to read a chapter of a book but I am in no way ashamed of the fact I did
The books arrive and I spend my evening going between all three books, reading a chapter or section then sampling the next book. I only realised this was fairly monumental when I was talking to a friend 3 days later. I had gone between the books with such ease. No confusion as to what happened in each book and mixing up events in the storyline. No losing focus. I’d been able to engage in a book before with no bother but even when I was reading all the time, I couldn’t have 2 or more books on the go at once. I’d get mixed up and forget what happened.
I used to love reading. Up until around 6 years ago, I’d read books all the time. I couldn’t ever put books down and it truly broke my heart to lose that passion.
Saying that I’m learning to read again may be a bit of an exaggeration but it for me, rediscovering my love for reading is just as exciting as learning to read all over again. And in a way, as I start to control my ADHD, I’m learning how to live normally again and do things I’ve struggled to do for years.
The first book I read was ‘This Is Going To Hurt‘ by Adam Kay and I highly recommend you read it. It’s stories of what it’s like being a junior doctor in the NHS and while it’s heart-breaking at times, it’s hilarious too. At the time I’d ordered this, I have to admit I was disillusioned with the NHS. Not only had I been treated awfully as a patient, my mental health was meaning I was not enjoying my work any more.
But this reminded me that there are still people who care. And reminded me why I first started working for the health service.
It felt like the most appropriate book to start reading again and it’s the first book I’ve read cover to cover since 2012.
Recovery is in no way easy and my bad days set me back a lot, especially if I’ve made so much progress for a little while. It really can knock my confidence
I know that it’s going to take a while to be fully back to how I should be where my ADHD and mental health is concerned. Steps like this really show my progress though and I do cry. I really do cry sometimes because I thought I’d lost myself and was never going to recover. I felt hopeless.
One book has turned to 3 and my Christmas list is beginning to make me question whether I need a bigger bookshelf!
This is step one in my recovery and I am ready to keep making progress. Reading was a huge landmark for me and really showed me plain and simple that medication is working. I am getting better.
That is the most glorious feeling after 5 years of suffering and not getting better at all.