The Necessity of Reading

War and Peace rested solidly on her nightstand, glaring blindly, innocuously at her. She felt a twinge of sadness at not having picked it up for weeks, after reading six pages and six pages alone. She reached out a hand and lazily caressed the cover, tracing the letters with her forefinger.

“Soon,” she whispered.

She couldn’t remember when the title had first come to her attention; something about it being an extremely long novel. It seemed like a challenge, meant for her, but it was never a book that crossed her mind at any of the bookstores, never suggested by Amazon when she finished another story on her Kindle.

Then last month it was there, in a place of honor on one of those long tables at a yard sale, waiting patiently for her to show up and bring it home. Waiting for her to lavish hours on the words inside, curled up in her reading chair, toasty warm beneath her reading blanket.

The nurse knocked once before entering the room, pushing the tower of vitals monitoring equipment.

“Honey, you know you have to leave your patches alone if you want to heal up well and be able to read that book. Lie back and let me tape them back, please. We just want you to get better.”

She sighed, and with a last longing glance at War and Peace, lay back and closed her eyes for the nurse.


WIDW #1: Self-Diagnoses

The first Wednesday of the month is What I Dislike Wednesday!

I dislike self diagnoses. You can’t just claim this as an excuse for whatever you wish to excuse. It doesn’t work that way.

Someone I know decided she is autistic now. Her significant other’s penchant for claiming new and interesting mental illnesses isn’t helping the issue.

Someone else has a history of deciding she and her husband suddenly developed an allergy to–well, you name it. Onions, green peppers, and chocolate have all made the list at some point. Briefly. Then a miracle cure takes place, without fanfare.

I don’t know how many cases of ‘OCD’ I’ve heard of in my circle of acquaintances. No, washing produce before you eat it does not prove you have OCD. No, washing your hands after eating, smoking, or using the bathroom does not prove you have OCD. NO! Bringing the same water bottle every time you work out does not prove you have OCD!

The same goes for depression. One bad day at work does not cause depression. A hot bath cannot possibly ‘soak depression away.’ It’s hard not to take this one personally; every mis-self-diagnosis of depression chips away at my fragile validity as a person with depression.

As much as I adore Google, I blame Google. The Internet has given us all doctorates in self-diagnosing. It’s even become a joke–we know it’s always cancer.

But it’s not a joke. Cancer, depression, OCD, allergies, autism: when they’re real, it doesn’t get any realer.

Self-diagnosis belittles those of us who live with reality every day.