Real Life Talk

Reading Slump with Anxiety & Why I Read

So I have some experience in reading slumps just like any avid reader, they can be caused by the book you are currently reading or by the environment you are trying to read in, however the worst one I personally have suffered with is the anxious and unable to focus slump!

It sucks! I suffered a nervous breakdown in 2015. Wikipedia describes my condition, that lasted for approximately 3-4 weeks, as the below;

“A mental breakdown (also known as a nervous breakdown) is an acute, time-limited mental disorder that manifests primarily as severe stress-induced depression, anxiety, or dissociation in a previously functional individual, to the extent that they are no longer able to function on a day-to-day basis until the disorder is resolved. A nervous breakdown is defined by its temporary nature and often closely tied to psychological burnout, severe overwork, sleep deprivation, and similar stressors, which may combine to temporarily overwhelm an individual with otherwise sound mental functions.”

I still struggle with remnants and after effects of the above.

I don’t know much about my family’s history with mental illness, even though we all think our families are crazy, I know I always felt like the black sheep. A few things happened leading up to my breakdown, but I don’t remember them all. My journey to where I am now has been a long hard road, but I think this is the last leg.

As a child I was a loner, I preferred my own company and a book than a group of people. I now know I am an introvert who went through life pretending to be an extrovert until my recovery started. I have taken several different MBTI tests trying to figure out what I am, to then hopefully find the best treatment for my INTP/J (dependent on the day) ways.

Treatment for anxiety and depression is partially medication however the other half of recovery feels very selfish, it’s all about re-investing your time into yourself, weird words to type. What made my recovery especially difficult was not being able to read! Growing up, reading was my hide out. When things were tough or scary or unbalanced I could pick up a book and find my calm again. But after my breakdown I couldn’t focus, the voices in my head were always louder than the worlds I was trying to create with the words on the page. Re-reading sentences and forgetting where I was or characters names I couldn’t find my calm again. I started seeing a therapist once a week and returned to my job part time. I spent a lot of time in my head looking for my old self, eventually therapy taught me that my old self was no longer me and I had to deal with this new one. There are still days where I fear the dark clouds will never fade and I’ll forever fear the noise of traffic, children and my own mind playing tricks on me. Eventually, I was able to re-open a book and read and fall back into all the worlds that gave me comfort as a kid and finding new worlds to explore.

Everyone deals and heals and fights this invisible monster differently and my way may not be the best but it’s mine. My recovery has caused this blog to become reality after months of trying to work up the courage! (I may even show my face one day ;)) So it’s not all bad! 🙂


One thing I will always struggle with is human interaction! So, I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I get asked, a lot;

Speech Bubbles


So, I have thought about this a lot and I went looking through the lists of books I have read the last few years, trying to remember the stories and what happens in each book or the character names or even the maps within these books.

And it struck me, I read because I love to, I read because it gives me a way to go un-noticed. I have still struggle with depression and anxiety and reading has been and continues to be an escape for me, especially when I am having a bad day!

However, when looking through my reading list of the past, I do struggle to remember certain facts and names and places, but the beauty of reading, I find, is how much I create in my mind and bring it into the world.

☆ ⌒ ★ ⌒ ☆ ⌒ ★ ⌒ ☆ ⌒ ★ ⌒ ☆

The smell of freshly cooked waffles reminds me of Nina (Six Of Crows, Crooked Kingdom), fresh rain on a hot day takes me to Eretz (Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy), old detached houses with porches and long driveways makes me want to knock on the door to meet Em & Sarah (Discovery Of Witches Trilogy) or even Jet and Franny (The Rules Of Magic & Practical Magic). When I am wandering around a new beautiful city and see a random door, you know the ones I mean, I am transported to Neverwhere or my thoughts spring to Narnia. Walking along the canal path to work and you hear a splash and see the ripple of water I dream of mermaids and sirens!

☆ ⌒ ★ ⌒ ☆ ⌒ ★ ⌒ ☆ ⌒ ★ ⌒ ☆

My world is magical, my mind constantly buzzing and excitable. Seeing the glimpses of magic and intrigue and adventure wherever I am. I see dragons in the clouds and faces in the flowers, mermaids in the lakes and fairies in the trees, birdsong is the soundtrack to all fairytales.


You have the power to make your life whatever you wish it to be, mine is magical, introverted and happiest when reading. What’s yours?


Thanks again for reading bookworms 8) I hope this post didn’t bring anyone down, but I have wanted to talk about the issues that can come with depression and anxiety. Please reach out to anyone, including myself if you need someone to speak to. If not and you are looking for anonymity, contact the below charities 8)

United Kingdom

Papyrus HOPElineUK Tel: 0800 068 41 41

The Samaritans Tel: 116 123 (Free)

United States

Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741. When you text this helpline, you’ll be connected to trained counselors for individualized support

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).If you are having suicidal thoughts, you can reach out any time for free and confidential support.

Mental Health America: This website offers anxiety screening tests that you can take, as well as a way for you to contact the program and speak to someone.

27 thoughts on “Reading Slump with Anxiety & Why I Read

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this! ❤️ I tend to stress over little things to the point where a minor stressor is all I can think about for the rest of the day. During those times, only reading helps me forget my problems. So I can totally relate to this.

    I love how you said things in real life remind you of stories from books. That’s so true and is the best feeling ever, right?! ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s a beautiful written post about a subject I know a lot of people struggle with to varying degrees and it’s very brave of you to put your experience out there like this. Sending you lots of love on your mental health and reading journey 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful, honest, and personal post. Thanks so much for sharing. I suffer from a general anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and depression, as well as endometriosis, and those nasty monsters sometimes prevent me from doing what I love most: reading. I find myself too tired, physically or emotionally to grab a copy and escape, and it saddens me. Sometimes it just takes me longer to finish a book, no matter how much I love it.
    ‘Treatment for anxiety and depression is partially medication however the other half of recovery feels very selfish, it’s all about re-investing your time into yourself, weird words to type’ I loved this sentence. It is so easy to forget to take care of ourselves, but it is so important to do so.
    I love how real life things remind you of books 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anxiety is a pain when you are trying to read or in my case write. I try to do yoga and look after myself. I’ve always had it and probably always will. I find a TV program to watch when I can’t read. Been tired lately and in a slump because of that but hopefully it won’t last long.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No. I’m only good at writing so things like crafting just cause stress. It’s a shame but I don’t think there’s anything that would be an outlet I’m not arty or anything.


  5. Thank you so much for this post. You have no idea how much it helped me.

    I’m a writer and a reader always hungry for MOAR. In the last two months I’ve been going through an extremely difficult period. I started to wonder whether I might be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I googled the symptoms and I found out I was ALREADY having a nervous breakdown. (This didn’t make me feel better.) And the worst thing was exactly what you described. I’ve always used reading as my escape. All of a sudden, all I could read were either books I know upside down and I was less reading them then moving my eyes over familiar words and sentences, or *short* articles online. This has only stopped a few days ago and when I realised I could read again I more or less swallowed two books in three days.

    It’s perhaps the worst thing that can happen to a writer – inability to read. I received a pre-pub copy of a book a friend has written, I got to page 60, then lost the ability to go on. The amount of things I used to take for granted only to discover that they, too, can just go away is growing. I feel fortunate both to be myself again (we’ll see for how long, as the situation I’m in hasn’t changed, I actually don’t know why I got better) and to read your post and see it’s not just me.

    Wishing you all the best. Again, thanks so much. I hope to find enough courage sometime soon to post on my own blog about this experience – which I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Firstly Bjørn, I am so sorry! So sorry, you’ve been feeling alone in this, it’s not ok and it shouldn’t be this way. And thank you for sharing your story. The one thing I will say is there are good days and there are bad days and sometimes the bad outweigh the good but when you get those good days and you can read and take joy in the smallest things, it’s incredible. I hope you find your peace again and one day start writing again. Always here if you need an ear. 💕💕


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