Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reading Between the Lines

I had an interesting conversation lately. I mentioned how hard it was to keep up with my running when I’m depressed. My friend, in caring and concern, said, “But I always feel better when I run.” So true!

It’s like that old saying, though—you have to have money to make money. I find I need to have a teeny little scrap of spiritual energy to do anything to feel better.

When I’m depressed, I often think of a great description I read in an absolutely fantastic book, Emergence by David R. Palmer. (Now that I think about it, Emergence came decades before Hunger Games and Divergent and pretty much leaves them in the dust. Just sayin’.) Anyway, his main character describes depression as ignoring twenty good choices and flipping a coin over what’s left.

Yep, when I’m depressed, I could be dying of thirst and have some overpowering reason not to get a drink of water.

Anyway, now that I’m feeling better, I can’t believe how…unlike myself I’ve been. Take reading, for example.

Evaluate the following statements, True or False.

  • I learned to read looking over my dad’s shoulder while he read Dicken’s A Christmas Carol to me.
  • I read nine books a week for most of elementary school and junior high.
  • Teachers used to yell at me for reading while I walked up and down the stairs on the way to and from recess.
  • On nighttime car trips, I tried to read by the light of the streetlamps we passed.
  • At Christmas, my family gave me books, but not until the very end—otherwise I’d be oblivious to all of it.
  • For a number of years, I read Les Miserables once a year.
  • When the last two Harry Potter books were released and delivered to our house, I told Big A. to put them on a high shelf between five and eight o’clock at night, so I would be able to focus on dinner and bedtime with S.
  • For a number of years, I read The Lord of the Rings once a year.
  • I generally read fiction at one hundred pages per hour.
  • My only requirement for a handbag is that it be able to hold a paperback.
  • I have read Clarissa, or, The History of a Young Lady, which the New York Times estimated had a word count of 984,870—moreover, 984,870 not very good words. (That's my opinion, not the NYT's.)
  • I love my job as an editor because I get to read.

Okay, yeah, they’re all true. Geez, I’m predictable.

But that’s the thing. Reading hasn’t been fun lately. For me, that’s like missing a…well, a part of me. The fancy word for it is anhedonia, the inability to find pleasure in things you usually enjoy. Anhedonia sounds a lot better than it feels.

Now, that I'm feeling better, I’m really enjoying rediscovering my joy in reading. And walking the dog. And cooking—oh, and eating. And running. And hanging with my family. And…everything.

It blows me away how all those fabulous feelings snuck away into the fog without me noticing. And I’m so glad to have them back. I hope the novelty wears off a little so I can do something other than eat, read, and walk the dog A LOT.

I also hope the novelty never wears off; I want to remember the contrast so I can hold on to my profound appreciation of life’s pleasures.

No comments:

Post a Comment