Having Anxiety and Expanding My Reading

This morning I woke up very pensive (which is normal to me) but two things have stood on my mind for the past few hours: anxiety and expanding my reading.

When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. The depression I manage good sometimes but the anxiety is a daily battle. I battle with social anxiety, PTSD, and panic attacks. There are days that I wake up not knowing why I have anxiety and I have to play this question game:
– was it something I dreamt?
– maybe the book I’m reading?
– did I think about something last night that triggered me waking up anxious?
– was it something I read on social media? …… etc. etc.
I ask myself these questions because usually when I find out what triggered me, I can go to the root of the problem and fix it, control it, remove the anxiety in it of itself. (By remove anxiety I mean write how I feel, ask myself why that gave me anxiety, breathing exercises).

Today is one of those days that I woke up with anxiety and I have finally figured out what has me anxious. It’s this feeling of wanting to expand my reading. Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble, the first section I always go to is YA. But while I was in the YA section, I realized that I had heard about pretty much all the books on there and I decided to walk around to other sections of the store. There were so many books that I had NEVER heard about and they sounded really good. But I kept placing them back on the shelf because I NEVER heard anyone I watch on Booktube or follow on Goodreads talk about them. So to me it was like “ehh I don’t know, what if I don’t like it?”

I’ve been really reflective these past few hours though. Maybe those books aren’t boring, just because they aren’t popular doesn’t mean that I should dismiss them. I find myself complaining about the same tropes (recurrent themes) and same personalities in characters, and what am I doing about it? Nothing, I keep reading the same books with the same stuff. Now this isn’t an attack towards YA or popular/hyped books (because some I will always love YA and there are popular books out there that are my favorites). I just feel like it’s time for me to expand my reading taste. Maybe I’ll feel less anxious, I’ll have a better reading experience, or I’ll find my next favorite that I would want to share with everyone.

I’ve been really getting into fantasy lately but I would like to read more adult fantasy. Sometimes I don’t know where to start though which frustrates me and then causes anxiety. My anxiety gets easily triggered and I hate getting triggered by something I love. All of this also connects with being comfortable and sticking to what I know, scared of taking risk. Because again, anxiety.

This time though I’m willing to take risk and go outside my comfort zone. I love reading and I would hate to get tired of reading because “I’m reading the same stuff” when in reality I’m not expanding and looking for other books.

I just wanted to share with you my thoughts this morning/early afternoon (here in NYC). Any thoughts? Any unpopular recommendations that you love?

Have a lovely day everyone!

While writing this I was listening to Coffee by Yuna and I Don’t Know by Nick Hakim.

13 thoughts on “Having Anxiety and Expanding My Reading

  1. I totally feel you.I have anxiety and it sucks.Last night I was reading an ARC I received from netgalley which was about a girl who is depressed and tries to kill herself,I actually had to stop reading because it totally triggered my anxiety.And it’s ironic that my favorite book is All the bright places by Jennifer Niven which deals with similar issues.However,great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely understand! There are some books that I have read with similar topics and some I can read but others I can’t read another page. I think it all has to do with how the topic is handled in the book. Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If there is anyone in this world that can overcome their anxiety and expand their world of reading it is you . You may not realize but you make strides day in and day out to overcome it. I will always be proud of you and always support you in all you do .keep it up love xo.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow Gretchen! Thank you for writing about this very important topic. I struggle with anxiety, panic attacks & mild OCD as well since the age of 13 & reading has always been my therapy. This is a topic that I find hard to talk about with people who don’t know how it feels to deal with this on a daily basis. Lately I’ve been hearing more & more Booktubers talk about the pattern that book lovers fall into when buying books, we go for the one we’ve heard about the most. I’ve gotten comfortable with YA lately but I’ve been slowly going back to buying across genres. Sam from Novels and Nonsense has some of the best recommendations for Adult Fantasy & I love that she also recommends for those that are new to the genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy that you are buying across genres. If you find a book you love that isn’t popular, let me know so I can check it out. I’ll check out Sam’s channel! I’m happy that reading books is our outlet for our anxiety, I think it’s an healthy outlet ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have anxiety as well and I really understand what you mean about having to question what may have triggered you. You are not alone in wanting to explore new genres, I have actually been trying to look at other books which aren’t YA as well so I gave The Cuckoo’s Calling a read and branched over into mystery and crime fiction and I really enjoyed it. It was a whole new experience, sometimes my anxiety can be triggered by reading a YA book that is really popular because then I worry what if I don’t like it? then if that is the case I worry if I somehow read the book wrong? [like anybody could read a book wrong, but my brain’s like something went wrong]. I’m working on that though!

    Great post! I’m looking forward to any future posts you have on your new finds 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keep working on that! It is definitely okay to not like a popular book. I had to work on that myself because I would get embarrassed putting a low rating on it. But sometimes it helps knowing that it isn’t everyones cup of tea. And you never know if you make a friend out of a common opinion. It’s not easy but I believe in you!!

      Thank you, I look forward to talking about my future finds =)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing this post ♥ I was diagnosed with all the things you mentioned (funnily enough) at 15 too. It’s definitely a struggle and I go through a lot of the same things you do.

    It took me a really long time to read out of my comfort zone, mostly because I was just really scared I wouldn’t /understand/ certain things and I didn’t want to feel stupid or whatever. Like, the main one for me is classic literature. I never read classics in school and I was scared to start. Then I started watching BookTubers who talk about other things besides YA like Jean BookishThoughts, squibblesreads, ChapterStackss and books and pieces (she talks a lot about fantasy!). They really helped me make the leap.

    I also feel really worried when I don’t like a popular book. I recently posted a less than positive review for A Court of Thorns and Roses and I felt so nervous. I was almost considering just saying I liked the book because of my anxiety. I’m really glad I was honest though.

    I definitely understand that it’s not easy, but I really recommend just picking up a book you’ve never heard of before though. You might end up loving it and then it’ll slowly start to make it easier to read out of your comfort zone! I love just walking around bookstores and finding random books. It can be so much fun.

    Good luck with everything ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!!!! I’m planning on reading an “unpopular” book a month. Since I’ve started blogging last week, I’ve heard of really wonderful books. Vs. when I’m booktubing (I have a YouTube channel) I feel like a lot of the people I’m subscribed too talk about the same things (and I know I should expand my booktube views to other channels that talk about different things). I follow chapter stacks and love her channel. I’ll check out the other two you mentioned!
      And I understand how anxiety plays apart when you want to give a low rating to a popular book…there’s been times when I hesitate to voice my opinion also. But I’ve learned that I’m giving my opinion on a book not a human being and there are people out there who may relate to your review vs. the other popular 5 star reviews. Once again thank you reading, commenting, and sharing your thoughts. ❤️


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