the anxiety of reading.

If there was ever a question that I have too much stress and anxiety, rest assured, there is no doubt.

I have a shit ton.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading. A lot. Thirty-eight books in about three weeks. Perfectly imperfect books about love, many complete with delicious sex scenes. And all with happy endings. Not that kind. Wait… yes, that kind. But the other kind, too.

How is this stressful, you may ask?

Of course, I’m going to tell you.

You can’t have a story without conflict. I mean, you can, but it will be significantly less interesting, captivating, satisfying, and realistic. [I use the word ‘realistic’ loosely. If these stories are anyone’s reality, my life is even worse than I thought.] So… inevitably, the conflict comes. It [almost] always works out in the end. Fuck, if it doesn’t, I just ditch that author forever. I can’t handle an unhappy ending. Stresses me out.

But well before the ending, I’m anxious as fuck. The conflict. I’m worried. I’m yelling [in my head, as it is usually the middle of the night or some shit].

Don’t let her go, you fucking coward!
Give him a fucking chance to explain, you bitch!
Fucking tell her how you feel, dumbass!
For the love of god, please do not sleep with that slut, you idiot!

Just imagine that’s a book, not a laptop, okay?
Well, okay, a phone because I usually read on my phone.
And imagine that I’m Ice Bear.

As I’m reading through the conflict, I can feel my anxiety creeping up. I can feel my heart hurting. I can feel my eyes watering. I start to tell myself, “Don’t worry. It’ll be okay. They’ll work it out in the end.” Fuck me if that works! By the way, it doesn’t, so I guess I’m not getting any tonight.

Am I too invested? When I read during the day, I’ve had my daughter ask me what’s wrong because I look so distraught that she’s concerned. I’ve also been caught laughing at, as far as she can tell, nothing. Laughter and tears. That’s normal, though. It means the book made me feel things. Right? Fuck, I cry at the end of Tangled every time I watch it, and I’ve seen that movie easily a hundred times. That may not be normal.

All of this conflict-induced anxiety can only be resolved in one way: I must read to the end of the book.

Cue sunrise.

I’ve been up to see the break of dawn more times lately than ever in my life. I’m not waking up… no no no—I’ve not been to sleep yet. I’m sure it’s contributing to my anxiety because I’m not ‘postponing‘ my sleep—I’m getting less. But when I sleep is a problem anyway, so even postponing likely wouldn’t help.

Last night was particularly bad. Six in the morning. Daylight. I have trouble falling asleep during daylight. Even with the blinds drawn. Woke up at ten. Couldn’t get back to sleep. My head is pounding. Has been all damn day.

My lack of sleep isn’t insomnia. I’m not reading because I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because I’m reading. I’ve tried to force myself to stop and sleep, but I’m too stressed over the damn fiction I’m reading. Fiction, dammit! I’m going to survive no matter what happens in the damn book. Yet I can’t put it down and sleep until I’ve made sure it’s all good in the end.

On the other hand, I’ve had stories that stress me out so much that I’ve abandoned them. They’re not bad stories. They’re quite good [in my opinion, anyway], but I feel like I can’t take anymore. My god, my heart hurts. I can feel the impending doom. I have to stop. What the fuck? Of course, inevitably, I can’t handle not knowing either. I end up going back to them eventually…

So here we are. The conflict… the loss of sleep… Even something as simple as reading stresses me the fuck out.

p.s. — So much for my assignment. I haven’t posted since 15 June. But… I haven’t talked to the NP since 11 June, so maybe it’s not so bad. But I’m still feeling isolated and lonely, so maybe it *is* so bad. I don’t think I’m getting the desired outcome here…

©2020 what sandra thinks

About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, sometimes blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Italy, but she would settle for a non-oceanfront home in Italy. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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35 Responses to the anxiety of reading.

  1. M says:

    That many books? Wow, I can’t even imagine. Regardless, I love it when I see a post from you!🥰

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. That’s a lot of books.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, insomnia and anxiety aside, that’s a solid number of books to have finished in three weeks. Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ice Bear thinks sleep is overrated. Ice Bear only sleeps when hibernation comes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ogden Fahey says:

    Sounds like a pretty good read! 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jrvincente says:

    I understand. I am a happy-ending kind of person, and I really hate not knowing how it ends. I would definitely forego sleep in favor of reading, but my body physically won’t let me.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow, that’s an impressive amount of reading!! I can relate to the anxiety over endings—but I’m the opposite: happy endings make me sad and irritable because I’m not sure it’s reality. Maybe, for you, fretting over bad endings really means you have a positive outlook on life and you believe in the good? I appreciate the perspective 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wao so many books, take care give yourself some relax time too.
    stay happy healthy and safe

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mydangblog says:

    I sometimes won’t watch a movie if I know that it’s going to make me too anxious, so I can relate!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s kind of crazy that I get this way when I know the couple in question is going to end up together in the end. But somehow, I get anxious anyway. I understand the movie thing, too, though. I’ve avoided ones I think will give me too much stress.


  10. That’s an impressive amount of books!!
    Damn I get overly invested into books and movies.. I totally yell at the characters too albeit in my head.
    And oh my when the waterworks starts it takes a while to stop…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. AP2 says:

    I think trying to read that much would stress me out! Amazing that you managed that much. Have you considered reading something a little more mellow? Or less? I tend think too much of anything isn’t a good thing.


    • I don’t know. If it’s too mellow, I get bored. I wasn’t trying to read that much… I just got very involved so it just happened. My issue is probably that I don’t have anything else to do to fill my time. Or, at least, nothing else I want to do.


  12. alexraphael says:

    Books are wonderful. Always lovely to see your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Welcome to my life. I work pretty late, so lately, it’s been ‘oh, it’s 10am, what have I been doing for the last six hours?’. And then you’re cranky for the rest…ever. Seems like reading has become more of a ‘job’ for your mind than an escape. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: the anxiety of reading. — what sandra thinks – Reading between the lines

  15. charlenemakk says:

    Impressed with the number of books. I hate conflict too when my anxiety is already up


  16. Swankie says:

    Read more books there than I have in my entire life! Great read, I just posted an article all about my mental health called Twenty Four, should give it a read think you’d relate to a few parts 🙌🏻


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