I am so excited to be hosting so many book bloggers discussing their experience of anxiety and reading for Shattering Stigmas this year. Today I’m so excited to introduce Lynell from Weekend Reader to talk about her anxiety. You can find Lynell online here.
I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in 2017, after a series of panic attacks and bouts of insomnia. While I knew something was up with my health, I thought it was mostly due to a stressful job in education and home buying experience. Wrong, while kinda it all compounded and I had to get help.
The initial diagnosis was scary but being able to put a name to what felt like erratic behavior for me lifted an invisible veil. Let me explain, I’ve always been a nervous person and worrying seems hereditary. However, as I got older my nervousness turned into uncontrollable sweating and nights where I might sleep 2 hours. Neither manifestation was sustainable and began to have a snowball effect on things like forgetfulness and chronic stomach aches. Now, armed with this information I could make a plan. Planning and over planning are other manifestations of my anxiety if you couldn’t guess. So there I was thinking how can I manage moving forward? I hate exercising, sleeping or meditating seemed out of the question so what’s left? A light bulb finally went off…READING! Unsurprisingly in 2017, I started my blog Weekend Reader because like any planner, I thought it could be helpful to focus my energy even more with a blog.
How does reading help with my anxiety? On days where my anxiety is high alert, reading gives me an opportunity to redirect my energy, unwind myself, and regulate my breathing. I know the reading community makes fun of the line “I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding” well I’m that person lol. Reading also gives me an opportunity to stop the worrying cycle. While I’m reading I’m focused on the characters, the plot, and a possible happy ending (which is one of the reasons I love romance). Now, in full transparency reading isn’t always my go to anxiety reducing activity. I also bake or craft, and sometimes I will craft or bake while listening to an audiobook. In the end, reading has been a really positive outlet for me as I’m still learning how to manage my anxiety.
I hope this quick post helps anyone who is struggling with their mental health to connect with an activity that brings them joy! Good luck with finding your thing!