A month of intense reading led to rediscovered relationships with a number of old friends.
At the beginning of August, I decided to pick up a series that I started when I was a teenager: The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind. I have often enjoyed fantasy as a genre, and wanted to read something purely enjoyable instead of informative and educational. More than with most books, the characters of this series draw me in, and I wanted to read more to spend more time with friends that I have not seen for years.
One interesting phenomenon that I noticed as I got back in to these books is my tendency to lose myself. I have always loved to read, and can often get lost in a book. Stopping to eat, or sleep, or work can feel like a chore. Previously, I had never understood this part of myself. But now that I have gone through my journey of discovery and recovery with OCD, I recognized exactly what it was. In addition to the character friends I spent time with, this last month has been a close time with my old friend of OCD.
Now that I know how OCD feels in my life, it is easier to recognize his presence when he shows up. One of his defining characteristics is a total domination of my mind. That manifests in the cracks of my life. In every spare minute, my mind immediately jumped to my books, and in many of my spare minutes, my eyes jumped to my Kindle, or the app on my phone.
When I finished the first book, there was a definite sense of familiarity, as if I was returning to a comfortable state in which I had lived much of my life. As the month drew on, I realized that I was not happy with the effects this state was having on the rest of my life. I wrote recently about changing my toilet time to reading instead of playing a game, but now that I was compulsively reading my books, I was just as absent from the family.
As I wrapped up the series, it provided a natural moment to pause and evaluate. There is a delicate balance to be struck here. On the one hand, I love reading, and enjoy losing myself in a story, completely inhabiting another world, and making new friends. On the other hand, I do not want to feed the OCD side of my brain, and want to make sure that I remain in control of deciding how to spend my time. The month of August was not a complete loss—I was able to engage in a number of important events and activities. The most monumental of those was the birth of a new baby girl in our family, which was a magical experience.
I feel good about where things are at right now, and hope to remember to regularly introspect and maintain balance. Living with OCD is a constant exercise in managing tension, and I expect this to continue moving forward. The more I learn about myself, the better equipped I am to make informed choices about my life.