August 2, 2012

My lost love: books


Tonight I’ve been talking books with @rosepowell and @margotdate on Twitter.

I love, love, love books: once I could easily get lost in a book to the exclusion of all else.

I remember when, at times, I would sequester books like a squirrel in a pile beside my bed, waiting for the end of semester or the Christmas holidays.  Then I would spend hours at the kitchen table, on the couch, beside the pool, under the tree, or in bed, immersed in some other world.

Sometimes I would put down a book once I had reached the beginning of the last chapter in the knowledge that I would soon be leaving this world, to grieve a little before I had to say my final goodbyes.

More often than not I would shed a tear or two at the end, regardless of the happy or sad ending.

But today, books are my lost love. Since being diagnosed with depression and now taking the appropriate medication, I just don’t have the attention span needed to read a book.

I’ve tried, many times, in both dead-tree and digital form, to align my heart’s passion for books with the diminished capacity of my chemically-constrained brain. Sadly, my mind wanders within 30 minutes and I must move on to something else.

That’s not to say I regret having to sacrifice books for sanity. Without medication I’m not sure I would be here at all. I also have a loving, respectful and supportive relationship with my daughter that I may have otherwise destroyed in my depressive state.  And I manage to find meaningful, if sometimes frustrating, employment, which helps to pay the bills.

So I relegate books to the drawer that holds the other lost loves of my life – to be treasured and occasionally unearthed with smiles and fond reminiscences.

For the record, here are my favourite books:

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. Firstly let me say that I’m sorry you suffer from depression, but am glad you can control it with medication.

    When I became ill, my experience was the reverse of yours. I rediscovered books that weren’t part of my former research. Against my expectations, the secret of this reversal was a tiny Kindle reader, a method of reading I’d formerly scorned. I could hold the Kindle in bed or in treatment, even with a problem right hand. I couldn’t hold a printed book in bed, or an iPad..

    It’s a different experience but my concentration span and sheer focus increased enormously. I would never have thought it. Have you ever tried it?

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  2. Yes I understand what you are saying to I used to devour books but in the last decade I’ve read maybe half a dozen books, although I read from screens constantly. instead I find that the DVD box set give me the same sort of immersion with less work.
    Oh yeah sadly I can sympathise about the depression as well.

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  3. Thank you Denis. I like to talk openly about my depression because it’s still a taboo subject to so many and, as you say, it is important to raise awareness that it can often be managed well with medication.

    As for your suggestion, I’ve certainly tried the iPad but not a Kindle. For some reason I can’t generate the intensity of attention that’s needed to become absorbed in a book. I do persevere though – and am trying to get through George Mega’s and Laura Tingle’s lastest offerings at the moment.

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  4. Wow thanks for your honesty. I know a lot of people that take medication for depression and there more people that begin to open up about it the better it will be for everyone. It suprises me that the meds have that effect on you brain though.. they shouldn’t limit your attention span in that way. I’ve never heard of that happening.

    Thanks for your reccommendations. I will definitely have a look at some of them. I’ve just created my own post recently with my top 4 book recommendations, so if you find the stamina to read again check the, out.

    All the best,

    http://www.duckprint.com.au/blog/books/

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    • Thanks Joey – the meds take the edge off my obsessive nature, and that includes being able to bury myself in a book. Thanks for your list, I will certainly check it out.

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About Drag0nista

Political blogger and columnist on the interwebs. Former Liberal staffer and industry lobbyist. Studying the entrails of federal politics since 1989. Otherwise known as Paula Matthewson.

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