If Depression were a character in a story, it would be the big bad villain you never see coming.
The one your protagonist befriends, relies on, and trusts, until suddenly you’ve reached the big denouement, and it’s revealed that the long lost cousin they coincidentally bumped into fifteen chapters ago, has been stabbing them in the back all along.
Depression is sneaky, and horrible, and, for a bookworm, can mean the difference between reading 100 books a year, and barely making it through one short story. With that in mind therefore, here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way, to help beat the Big Bad!
1. Only read the books you really want to read.
This seems an obvious one, but if you’re a keen bookworm like me, with one eye on the book fandom at all times, then it’s very easy to get caught up in the hype for a new release, even if it’s something you wouldn’t normally enjoy.
While doing this can result in wonderfully unexpected treasures, it can also lead to tedious hours of wading through books you just aren’t enjoying.
If that happens, stop.
Put the book back on your shelf, and pick up something else that you are excited about. It may lead to a Goodreads ‘Currently Reading’ shelf as long as your arm, but it might also get you over that reading slump that was starting to set in.
Just because everyone else loves it, doesn’t mean you have to, and when you’re already fighting with your inner demons, there’s no point fighting to finish a book you’re not enjoying. Find something you think you’ll love, that you’re excited to read, and try that instead.
2. Don’t even bother with TBR’s
I’m going to be honest here: having a pre-ordained set of books you’re going to read every month has always been a rather alien concept to me. How do you know what mood you’re going to be in three weeks down the line? What if I decide I’m going to read a historical fiction in week 3, and then get to that week and realise I’d much rather read an epic fantasy?
TBR’s can be great for some, but if you’re struggling with highs and lows in your mood, they can be really restricting. So just read next what you want to read next, not what past you thought you might want to read next.
You know you better than Past You! Past You is like so three weeks ago!
3. Jesus Christ is to Christianity, what Graphic Novels are to your Goodreads Reading Challenge.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s August, and you’ve not reached 50% on your Goodreads Reading Challenge. In fact, you’re not even close to 50%. 50% is a dot to you! And you’re starting to feel like a failure as a result.
Enter the humble Graphic Novel; the saviour of all those who’ve fallen behind. Think of them as The Good Samaritans of the book world.
Because a) they are short.
b) they are pretty.
c) they are short.
d) lots of them are actually really kind of mindbogglingly amazing.
e) did I mention they’re short?
I recommend checking out:
The Wicked + the Divine
Rat Queens (I’m always conflicted about including this one, but the characters are really fabulous reflections of dynamic, diverse characters, so I’ll let you decide whether or not to read it.)
4. When you want to read but feel too tired to read, let someone else read to you.
Some days you really, really want to read a story, but you don’t want to read the story, you get me? That’s what audiobooks were invented for.
I actually started getting into these when I first stepped onto the Anti-Depressant rollercoaster of side-effects, (that’s a fun ride, ain’t it?), and they were a lifesaver.
For those days when you’re struggling to get out of bed, or struggling to stay awake once you’ve managed to get out of bed, audiobooks are perfect. I personally love Audible; they have a great selection, and you can find pretty much everything on there. It’s worth signing up for a monthly subscription if you’re planning on using them a lot, because outside the credit system, the audiobooks are quite expensive, but it’s well worth the monthly cost if you listen to as many as I do.
They’re also great for those long nights of insomnia that so often come hand in hand with Depression; they’ll help send you off to sleep, and will stop you ruminating by giving you something to concentrate on.
Some of my personal favourites are:
5. Some days you won’t be able to pick up a book, and that’s okay.
Depression is hard. You know this. I don’t need to tell you this.
Some days are just not good days. And some days, you’re not going to want to read, or listen to an audiobook. Some days you’re just going to tune out the world, snuggle down in a blanket, and marathon Netflix. And that is 100% okay.
But if you’re anything like me then there’s a part of you that’s going to feel like it’s not. This part of you is a liar, but no matter how much you tell yourself that, you’re still going to get, what I like to call, Bookworm Guilt. That feeling you get when another day’s gone by and you haven’t read a single page. When everyone is raving about a book, and you’ve not managed to even start it yet.
Those feeling might come more often than the days you do manage to read, and that’s okay too. Because the one thing you have to remember in all this, is that Depression is hard. Really hard. It sucks. Big time. So cut yourself some slack.
And that goes for every area of your life, not just the bookworm part. Be kind to yourself, because even though it might not feel like it right now, what you’re doing is amazing. You’re living with an illness that wants you to give up. And you haven’t. And that makes you a superhero.
Featured image by Moga