Obsessive Distraction

LittleBigFoot

Confident
Or more specifically, how many books is normal to read in, say, a week?

I don’t know what to call one of the things I do, but I call it obsessive (addictive or compulsive) distraction. I go through periods of being completely engrossed in one particular thing (be it a hobby, a food, a career idea) for maybe a month and then drop it and move onto the next obsession because I’m sick to death of whatever it is. But there is no quiet in between because I strongly dislike alone time with my brain.

The last year has been intensely stressful and that’s made this particular coping mechanism much much worse. Reading is one of the things I manage to have stuck with for several years off and on. I don’t mean having a book I’m slowly working through over several weeks, Nope. I’m talking a full length (300-400 page romances usually) book a day or more. Kindle Unlimited is how I can afford that.

But there’s a few problems- I’m not exactly reading anymore. I’m compulsively skimming through 3-4 each day (especially in the last couple weeks) to catch certain parts and hurry up to the next one. I feel physically stressed if a book sits on the Kindle longer than a day I HAVE to hurry up through it and get to the next. But I’m bored, because they’re all the same, but I can’t stop. I’ve tried. I’ve tried leaving the Kindle home, putting it across the room at night, trying to bring my focus onto playing The Sims on the computer. But I can’t, I can’t focus on shit and NEED to get back to it but all it is is downloading, skimming, and boredom. It’s in the way of real life- you do not want to look at my house right now and I can’t f*cking sleep. I bring it to work and break rules because I can’t focus on just work, I can’t leave it alone, I can’t not do it.

My thought is to limit my books to however many a normal person would do in a week and force myself to actually read and not skim and force myself to enjoy it like normal people do. But I’m also thinking that won’t be successful and I don’t know how to fix my brain.

Help?
 

Teasel

Not Active
You could try acceptance and commitment therapy on it. I did that for compulsive shopping it helped. A lot. To be fair you can learn the ideas n practises in books. Eg by Russ Harris. He has free audio files in his website too.

We're all different, what works for one might'nt help at all for another. Wish you well tho finding a way forward
 

Friday

Moderator
It’s in the way of real life-
This piece right here means it doesn’t really matter how much anyone else reads.

When is a problem a problem? When it’s a problem.

For my own self, the average 400p novel takes me about 90 minutes to 2 hours to read. In an 18-20 hour day? That’s nothing. Ditto, if I decide to spend a weekend laying in the sun/shade devouring a 10 book series? They’re both just very small components of an otherwise balanced/healthy life.

The last year has been intensely stressful and that’s made this particular coping mechanism much much worse.
This. You can’t just WANT something to be different. IE you want to spend more time on life and less time reading, and just try and drop the coping mechanism. The coping mechanism is just a symptom of the problem. You’re gonna have to go after the root cause, and get stress levels lowered…. Or …replace the coping mechanism you don’t want, with others that you do. Just like people do with cutting, smoking, disordered eating, drinking, etc.

It can also be worth sourcing // double checking if the coping mechanism is PTSD (stress cup! &/or trauma) related… and it very well may be 100%… if you’re uncertain. As addictions, obsessive compulsive, impulse disorders, etc., have methods of dealing best with the exact same expression of the problem. It’s often the other way around; someone thinks they’re dealing with an addiction issue, but unlike how most addicts get better once they stop using, people with stress disorders usually get worse, as do self medicating bipolar, schizoaffective, adhd, MDD, etc. <<< But speaking as someone whose unhealthy coping mechanisms usually take the pressure off of TWO disorders? If you’re not gaining any ground, or even losing ground, using the best methods for one disorder? It’s usually worth making sure you don’t need to be coming at the problem from 2 directions at once, instead of just 1. Like bailing out a boat? Is useful. It’s more useful to plug the hole and then bail it out.
 

LittleBigFoot

Confident
This piece right here means it doesn’t really matter how much anyone else reads.

When is a problem a problem? When it’s a problem.

For my own self, the average 400p novel takes me about 90 minutes to 2 hours to read. In an 18-20 hour day? That’s nothing. Ditto, if I decide to spend a weekend laying in the sun/shade devouring a 10 book series? They’re both just very small components of an otherwise balanced/healthy life.


This. You can’t just WANT something to be different. IE you want to spend more time on life and less time reading, and just try and drop the coping mechanism. The coping mechanism is just a symptom of the problem. You’re gonna have to go after the root cause, and get stress levels lowered…. Or …replace the coping mechanism you don’t want, with others that you do. Just like people do with cutting, smoking, disordered eating, drinking, etc.

It can also be worth sourcing // double checking if the coping mechanism is PTSD (stress cup! &/or trauma) related… and it very well may be 100%… if you’re uncertain. As addictions, obsessive compulsive, impulse disorders, etc., have methods of dealing best with the exact same expression of the problem. It’s often the other way around; someone thinks they’re dealing with an addiction issue, but unlike how most addicts get better once they stop using, people with stress disorders usually get worse, as do self medicating bipolar, schizoaffective, adhd, MDD, etc. <<< But speaking as someone whose unhealthy coping mechanisms usually take the pressure off of TWO disorders? If you’re not gaining any ground, or even losing ground, using the best methods for one disorder? It’s usually worth making sure you don’t need to be coming at the problem from 2 directions at once, instead of just 1. Like bailing out a boat? Is useful. It’s more useful to plug the hole and then bail it out.

Thank you for all this. I do think it’s definitely PTSD related and so yeah it makes sense that I need to be treating the root and not necessarily the symptom. But I’m not sure what the root of this one is. Well that’s not true, it’s distraction, or a way to keep my brain focused on one innocuous thing. But that’s not totally accurate either, because the content of the books, especially the parts I skip to are . . . not the healthiest for me to read, usually assaults of some kind, the drama and if it’s not dramatic enough with “enough” of a bad assault on the heroine then I’m really bored and disappointed and move on faster. I don’t even bother reading assaults on the hero unless he’s a kid at the time. I don’t get it. I should be shying away from all that, not obsessed with reading more and more of it. I don’t know what the root cause of *that* is.

You could try acceptance and commitment therapy on it. I did that for compulsive shopping it helped. A lot. To be fair you can learn the ideas n practises in books. Eg by Russ Harris. He has free audio files in his website too.

We're all different, what works for one might'nt help at all for another. Wish you well tho finding a way forward

Thank you for the recommendation, I’m not sure if he’d be effective for me though. I really need to be able to cut through my obsessions/addictions and I mean I get that you want to make your refuge homey and stuff but has he *actually* helped with the shopping? I know you’re extra stressed out right now though so I don’t know. Has he helped you cut contact with your abuser too? Cause I struggle with that as well and I think it’s in that compulsion thing again cause not having contact for awhile feels so wrong.
 
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