Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where a topic is presented each week and we get to share our opinions on it and spread some love among others’s opinions too!
This Week’s topic: HOW READING AFFECTS MENTAL HEALTH (SUGGESTED BY KRISTIN @ LUKTEN AV TRYKKSVERTE)
Mental health is an important topic i think we need to discuss more than we do in our daily lives. As a person who suffers from mental illnesses i understand the struggle in many of these kind of books and i really feel seen when i read about this kind of issue. Many times it may affect my mental health, there are some books i just cannot read without breaking down to pieces, but over the years i learnt to deal with it as well as possible.
I have a ton of stuff to say in the topic but i’ll do it by answering the prompts that were optioned.
In what ways does reading affect your mental health?
I’m a very sensitive person, so i struggle a lot when the characters on the books suffer. It may affect me more than i would want or expect. For example, when they have an existencial crisis i might have one too, because i mimic their feelings. Now, i know these are fictional characters, but when a book is well written i might find myself very attached to a certain character and feel what they are “feeling”. It’s not always a pleasent feeling, and that is why most of the time i rather read happy books. If a book is soft and comfortable i might feel more relaxed while reading it and it can help me feel better emotionally when i’m feeling down.
Does it affect your mental health positively or negatively at certain times, and why?
The Catcher In The Rye, for example made me feel very sick the way Holden was feeling as the story developed. It took me a really long time to finish reading it because of how it made me feel, even though i loved the book, i was empathized too much and was sick while reading it. It took me two whole weeks to finish it, which is a lot for me. Other books like Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda actually give me a great feeling and i feel a lot better after rereading them. I guess empathazing with the characters really takes a tool at my mental health. I’m not a steady person as it is, so reading about others’s mental states might play with my own feelings, and then they get entangled and it is difficult for me to separate my own feelings from what i just read.
How do you find a balance to keep up with reading while being mindful of your mental health?
I’m sort of a destructive person to myself, so normally i don’t stop to think “Wait, it will hurt me too much, i won’t be able to handle it” i just read if i’m feeling in the right place of mind. Nevermind it might ruin my mental health over time while reading a book. About 6 years ago i read All The Bright Places. I knew it was a difficult book to read, i don’t remember if i was spoiled for the end or if i saw it coming myself, but half way though the book i knew what would happen. I cried, i struggled, i suffered with Finch, with Violet, but i never stopped reading the book. I reread it since then, and it still breaks my heart. In fact this is one of the only two books i ever read that give me trouble to breathe when i think about them. It never stopped me from thinking about it, reading the book or watching the movie. I love and adore Jennifer Niven to pieces and her books are very special to me because of ATBP, and will never stop reading her books. So, i guess, what i was trying to say is i don’t care about the balance, when a book is worth it my mental health doesn’t matter to me.
Do triggers, bookish controversies, and things like that affect your health a lot more than you let on?
So, i try to know what are books about before i read them, especially if they touch such sensitive topics. So i don’t usually read books with topics i can’t handle well. It happens to me quite a bit that something unexpected happens and i have to stop reading, sometimes dfning books because i can’t stand what’s happening. So yeah, i’m a very sensitive person who can’t read anything, there are certain topics i won’t ever read about they are too difficult for me. I do let people know when this happens. If i read a book and it feels wrong or if it’s too hard to handle, i struggle and i let people know about it. I won’t stop commenting on this kind of thing because that’s just who i am. I don’t speak about controversies though, i don’t wanna get too touchy about stuff but i’d like to start doing so more, after all it’s okay to give an opinion, as long as you respect everyone elses’s. Also, controversies affect me, a lot.
Now it’s your turn… does reading affect your mental health? If so, how? Leave your comment and the link to your own post down below!