I’m going through and entering all of my most recently purchased/organized books to my libib library as a way to motivate me to read more of them. I very much favor buying books that fit into one of these categories:
- short story collections
- graphic novels
- short non-fiction
I’ve come to accept that I really prefer reading books in a single sitting, and I’m realizing that I always have? Like, even when I’m knee-deep in a novel, I just read it ravenously instead of doing anything else. I enjoy novels and longer books, but really I prefer to pick something I can read entirely and be done with.
It’s not that I have a short attention span for books, and maybe it’s the opposite? I read very quickly, and have been reading books in a single sitting since I was a kid and it was cute to read all of a new Harry Potter book marathon-style, barely getting up. Maybe I should write a post sometime about my recent favorite single-sitting books. I feel like I’m slightly cheating at my “read 52 books in one year” challenge by only reading shorter things, but #YOLO. I’m at 50 so far, and I have a ton more time to go.
cw: mental health, disordered eating mention
My homework from my therapy session last week (which is due tomorrow, whoops) is to create a list of the five things I’d like to focus on in therapy going forward. I’ve been seeing my therapist every week for almost three years, and we’re doing a checkpoint. When he assigned this to me last week, I told him I suspected that the things I actually need to work on are the things I don’t think are important, so let’s see how thsi list goes. 🙃
- Believing that I’m good at things without receiving external validation.
- Determining what habits and activities keep my mental health good and how to keep doing them. Conversely, determining what actually hurts my mental health and avoiding it.
- Weakening my trauma responses to certain stimuli.
- Any kind of noticable breakthrough in my disordered eating. Knowing why I’m like this hasn’t helped. Let’s figure out a measurable goal.
- Being able to accurately detect and label emotions like happiness, contentment, and calm; instead of jumping to labeling how I feel as anxious, depressed, or sad.
Idk if that’s the final order, but those are my five.
I realize that I only do things like write on my blog and update my personal portfolio site and use healthier social media (like Mastodon) when my mental health is doing good. And then I completely drop off when I’m not doing well, which makes sense I guess. If I’m depressed and hating myself, it’s hard to be creative and think about myself.
The thing I’m trying to understand, though, is if not doing self-reflective creative tasks is the result of depressive episodes, or the cause of it. Do I start getting depressed because I’m not doing affirming creative tasks? I know that skipping those acts of self care that are important to my well-being doesn’t help. Maybe they’re just the first things I skip when I’m low on spoons?
Sure, I could do some quantified self tracking to figure this out. I’ve used Exist off and on for a few years, but it inevitably makes me hyper-focus on activities and correlations I don’t actually give a shit about, and just gives me more anxiety triggers. Maybe I should just create a little spreadsheet and form to self-report:
- Did I write a blog post today?
- Did I write for five minutes, self-reflectively and processing my thoughts?
- Did I post something on Mastodon?
- Did I make something today?
- Did I read something that wasn’t Reddit or Twitter today? Bonus points for books.
- What are some emotion words to describe my mood today?
- How would I rate my mood today?
Just take a bunch of data, no judgement, and see what happens. Maybe add in some other questions for confounding variables, such as:
- Did I eat three meals today?
- Did I drink water today?
- How much sleep did I get last night?
- Am I physically sick in some way?
- Did I leave the house today?
- Did I socialize with people (not just Adira) today?
The trick is not to ascribe value to any of those tasks, and just record what I’ve observed. As my therapist says, I just need to be curious about myself and my emotions, and not judge.
If I end up whipping up a spreadsheet like this, I’ll letcha know how it goes!