First of all, hello! Long time, no uh…blog! If you’re wondering where I’ve been, then take another look at the title of this post.
For most of 2019 and the first half of 2020, I was in the longest depressive episode of my life. If you follow me on Twitter, then you know that I’ve been extremely vocal about my depression and mental health (and literally everything because I JUST CAN’T QUIT that bird site).
Thanks to therapy and antidepressants, I’m finally out of that hole. A few days ago, I was thinking about how weird it was to not be depressed at the moment.
Honestly? It’s fucking great.
So instead of catching up on the tens of reviews I’ve missed in the interim, I thought I’d give my two cents on how to read when you’re depressed.
Note: I am not telling you that this will cure your depression. If you’re feeling depressed and you can afford it, please consider therapy or medication. However, maybe this will be helpful in the seemingly endless walk through the tunnel, toward the light. It’s hard to do the things you used to love while depressed, but just know that you are not alone.
Throw your TBR out the window
If you’ve spent the past week just staring at books on your TBR instead of reading them, forget about the books you planned to read or the ones you should read. Barring any responsibilities you have, such as required readings for class or blog tour stops, it won’t be helpful to think about how you’re failing yet another thing. I know, that depression brain can be very convincing.
Pick up a comfort read
Comfort reads were practically the only books I read while depressed. I read books that I knew like the back of my hand or genres that overwhelmingly had HEAs. I wanted happiness in a book! While YA Fantasy remains to be my favorite genre, Romance has absolutely ruled my 2019 and 2020 Goodreads Challenges.
Or, pick up an old favorite
Sometimes, you just need a book that which you already know the ending. Maybe it’s just my anxiety or the fact that an unknown ending terrified me, but I found that reading familiar favorites kept me…reading! It’s like how I’ve watched Gilmore Girls all the way through about five times: it feels like visiting an old friend.
Break it up into chunks
This is a tactic I used back in college for getting through textbook readings or research articles. Take a book a chapter at a time, or keep it manageable with reading in 20- to 30-page sections. I know, using a studying tactic for reading books that aren’t for school? It may seem weird in theory, but it was helpful for me in remembering why I loved reading to begin with.
Buddy read/join a book club
I find that, in general, doing things with a friend (or multiple friends) can make it easier to complete. It’s part accountability, part friendship: sure, it’s great to ensure that you actually read, but it’s even better to have something to bond over with a friend. Depression brain made me think that my friends hated me for not being the Sam I used to be. But just like the other things my depression tried to convince me were true, it wasn’t. True friends want to be there for you when you’re at your lowest low.
Lastly, be kind to yourself
I know, easier said than done, but this is the most important point of this list. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t complete your Goodreads Challenge or if you haven’t read a book in a month. Especially now during a literal pandemic, the smallest things can take the most energy out of you. And that’s okay.
It’s okay to not be okay.
Honestly, it feels great to write a blog post again! Or to write in general. I took a year off from writing my WIP, but I finally finished my first draft last month. So, if you’re reading this and in the middle of a depressive episode, just know that this feeling won’t last forever. There’s an end to this dark tunnel, and you’ll get there.