Updated: Jan 7, 2018
Have you ever noticed that anxiety can make you a little bit obsessive? Of course, anxiety manifests differently in all of us, but for me, I get obsessive. Like, full blown OCD. I wake up in the morning and clean like a lunatic, scrubbing skirting boards, getting the toothbrush into the secret nooks and crannies of the cooker and you know, leaving the ambrosial scent of neat bleach in my wake. All this before my porridge. How does she find the energy you ask? I don't. I'm permanently exhausted and nap like a pro.
Books are another obsession, an obsession triggered by anxiety, which is particularly unhealthy for my bank balance but one which feeds my soul marvelously. Reading is a great way of escaping from the things that are worrying you. You can pick up a book, dive in and hopefully get swept away to another place, another time, another life. A life that isn't the one you're living right now. I couldn't even guess at how many books I currently have on my 'to read' list. Like, it's a lot. A lot, a lot. I've got historical books on various different eras, books about feminism, I've got Enid Blyton books, autobiographies of all sorts of people, funny books, clever books. All seemingly unconnected, but with one thing in common. The buying of them soothed my aching soul for a while, from the initial spark of intrigue in a subject, to the click-click-buy part, the thud of neat little parcels on my doormat and the positioning of sparkly new treasure on my bookcase.
So. Many. Books.
The books don't always get read straight away. Sometimes they sit there for years. At this moment in time I'm heavily into Philippa Gregory's The Cousins' War books. Here's the part where I go officially coo-coo-catchoo. The anxiety I'm struggling with at the moment has manifested itself in the purchase of seven books about The Tudors and The War of the Roses. SEVEN. All because I watched The White Princess. Just before I watched it, I was moving into a Civil Rights and slavery phase, after watching The Birth of a Nation, resulting in the purchase of four books. Before that was my Holocaust phase. To be fair, I am always poised to be in a Holocaust phase and have at least twelve books on my shelf ready to go. Before that it was the Geisha culture that sparked my interest, which led to a Murakami phase because, well, they're both Japanese and that's all the connection I needed to get obsessed. There's just no time to worry when you have this many books to escape into.
I don't know about you, but anxiety really affects my attention span. I'm completely at the mercy of my mental health when it comes to reading. I am a mercurial book nerd. This week it's the Plantagenets, next week I may be back in Moominland. Or maybe I shall be doing some soul searching with poetry. Because when I'm in a state of anxiety it calms and comforts me to buy things. I like knowing there will be nice things coming for me in the post. Things to look forward to. To anticipate. Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey; it's winging its way to me as we speak. Eek.