reading books.

I can’t really read. I mean, obviously I can actually read pretty well. I can look at different letters in various patterns and most of the time, I get what they mean. I just really struggle when it comes to actual reading. I start a sentence with the full intention of finishing it, but a few words in and my mind starts to wander and before I know it, I’m having fantastical, life changing conversations with people in my head. Sure I may still be moving my eyes along the lines and over the words, but I don’t take it in. I can ‘read’ pages and pages whilst not remembering a thing. I kept trying and trying to read, but eventually I gave up. It was too sad and too stressful and generally, I wound up really upset and anxious because I wasn’t getting it right and I couldn’t stop my thoughts.

Sometimes, I get selective reading abilities. I can read blogs or I can read short news articles or something as long as it’s not too long. Other times, there’s no reading at all. It’s stressful. Especially because T.V., films and video games don’t make me feel at all productive. I feel like a waste of space because I’m so far from being able to read for study it’s ridiculous.

I haven’t always been like this. I read a lot when I was younger. I don’t really know when it got harder to do because I just didn’t really notice. I stopped reading as much because I was a lairy teenager and was way too busy with shoplifting makeup, smoking, keeping up with Hollyoaks and trying to look older than I really was. Looking back, there’s a serious correlation between my ability to read and the path my eating disorder took, though I deffos wasn’t conscious of it at the time. As I started losing weight, my ability to focus on a page grew and grew. I read a lot a lot whilst eating next to nothing and exercising a lot. I also studied harder and was way more organised. Everything was planned and executed to some next level of perfection. There’s a point you lose some of that though. Starve yourself for long enough and you get more and more focused on food until all you can read is food, diet or eating disorder related, and all that organisation is purely based around the what’s, where’s and when’s of food and exercise. That’s all there is.

With recovery though, I can’t even read about food anymore. I totally lost the ability to concentrate for long enough to read really and it’s only when I lost reading this time round that I really noticed it going. Now, reading is nearly impossible. I lost the planning and organising too. It’s probably the only part of my eating disorder I miss in a non-anorexia way. I mean, I miss knowing I was the smallest in a room and I miss feeling smug because I ate salad whilst everyone else had proper food, but that’s all just because eating disorders (and in a way, some of the general and stupid ideas within society) are crazy. I think I was just way more capable of switching off my constant mind noise and emotional disasters when I exercise like a demon and live off leaves and caffeine. Regardless though, there are still way too may negatives to starvation, some of which are pretty lethal, so whatever I miss I know isn’t worth it.

But anyways, today I did something I haven’t done for ages. The Ma showed me an article from the Observer New Review on Ben Goldacre’s new book Bad Pharma and I got so excited I immediately ordered it on Amazon, spending an extra £6 so it’ll come tomorrow.  I really really love Ben Goldacre and I loved Bad Science and I think he’s a massive G. I’m really excited about a book. which is ridiculous seeing as I may not even be able to read it. When I read Bad Science I was pretty sick so I was able to really focus on it. I was working in a nursery at the time and I’d sit on the curb outside in my lunch with my weighed out Bran Flakes in a tupperware pot, skimmed milk, black coffee and cigarettes, wondering how I would manage until dinner and learning about how science can be misused in order to promote certain points of view and how much of a lol Dr. Gillian McKeith PhD. is. It’s quite a happy memory in its own way (though how on earth I managed nine-hour shifts with 25 three to five-year olds with nothing but coffee, Diet Coke, cigarettes and a tiny bowl off Bran Flakes is beyond me). I think working at the nursery in general is happy memories though, and it’s only second best memory of reading in my lunch, beat by American Psycho though (the rats! Gah!). Plus his columns in the Guardian are awesome too. Now he has a whole new book and I so badly want to read it. He’s just so good. One of my top five people I don’t know if I’d rather marry or be.

ben goldacre

Will I be able to read though? It’s actually scary as well because I really need a good thing to get me through this week. I’ve been counting the days down till so many fucking scary things that start happening this week and a week tomorrow, they’ll all be over. I so badly want something to be a nice treat during this fucking stress hell of a week. Like so so much. What if I can’t even read it though? That’d seriously suck out. Not gonna lie, I’d probably cry. I know it’s pathetic but, at least in my head, if I can finish this book which I’ll blatantly love, it’ll mean I’d of broken this no reading spell I’m in and I’ll be able to study and focus and soon enough I’ll be able to finish my dissertation and therefore degree and live will be brilliant. If I can’t though, then I’m stuck not being able to read anything ever again because if I can’t read something I like as much as Ben Goldacre, how will I ever read again? There’s a lot riding on this Amazon delivery tomorrow. I have so much hope. Writing this makes me feel kinda weird because I have just realised that actually, I have kinda built a pop science book into a possible life changing moment. We’ll see.

On an entirely separate note, I made a roast dinner today. I haven’t made roast in ages (actual years) because a) so much calories and b) it’s really long, but today I did. I cooked like a normal person. I didn’t measure anything or look at any calorie info. I used as much oil as I needed and lots of seasoning and stuff. I just picked for taste, not health. It was good. Roast beef covered in wholegrain mustard with a shit load of garlic, roast garlic and thyme potatoes, honeyed carrots, shredded cabbage and leek with spring onions and pecans (we’d run out of walnuts) and toasted brocoli. Om nom nom. And also, cherry frangipan with custard. I have so little idea of how much I ate today and I really enjoyed cooking and it was good. It was  just entirely normal eating. I feel like I’m actually at a point where I’m recovered to a point where my eating disorder is fully in remission and it’s totally nang. Bare hapz. I really didn’t know food could ever be this easy again :D.

Wish me literate luck.

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3 Comments

Filed under eating disorder, eats, rant, recovery

3 responses to “reading books.

  1. I also want to marry Ben Goldacre. He’s freaking awesome.
    The reading thing, I seem to have like peaks and troughs of ability to read.
    Although I have to say that these meds make reading so much better, because I too used to have those conversations with people in my head as soon as I read one or two lines (they’ve somewhat died down now and only come out to play rarely). It’s one of the reasons I had to quit my course. Having to read 100 pages every 2 days physically and mentally wore me out, and I found I ate less, and drank more booze to try and stop myself escaping into my own head.
    One thing I found helped, was downloading books and changing the background colour to yellow. Apparently, everyone’s brain has it’s favourite colour, and it can make it easier for your brain to read, and then less likely to disappear off into your own head because your brain is concentrating less so wont want you to talk about how awesome it would be if there were pink unicorns and how awesome you would be for having one (it’s also a trick dyslexics use, and some of them who have never been able to read can now read with different colour lenses in their glasses and I only discovered this recently. Dang).
    I know what you mean about reading, it totally is one of the best things to do, and I totally understand you being upset at not being able to do it.

    Roast dinner is yum! Well done you! I haven’t cooked one yet, but I sure have eaten one. Roast dinners are the best, when I read that I instantly wanted a Toby Carvery. I totally feel like you with the food thing, I think probably I could eat anything now.

    Love and well done hugs, because really, you have come a long way too. xxx

  2. I can totally relate to this. I devoured books when I was very sick – both food related and not. Who knows how much my brain was actually making sense of, but I think I loved the peacefulness and distraction of it. Then suddenly, making strides in recovery, I could not focus on reading long enough to get through a sentence for the life of me!
    I still find that my mind wanders and drifts off when I read now. Little old habits seduce me with anxieties and planning (so fun… Not!) But I’ve rediscovered my passion for it, and I really really hope and believe you will too! I think it fascinated me at first that I could focus on a book again. That novelty has worn off now, and I love reading again.
    Mmmmm roast dinners. So heartwarming! It was Canadian thanksgiving today, so I had a delicious roasted feast too! I love hearing that your eating has become easy – I looooove that feeling, life is so delicious.
    Big hugs
    Alex

  3. Ellie. dont let this book be a make or break. Thats not gonna get you anywhere nor solve anything. Just try it, and mostly; try to enjoy it. That way, it doesnt matter if it takes a little longer. Just savor the moments instead of getting yourself worked up

    Thinking of you&fingers crossed for your stuffs coming week xx

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