How much do you love to read? Do you stay updated on the latest books? What would you do…
If you couldn’t process what you read anymore?
I used to believe as long as you were physically fit, you were pretty much healthy. I never paid any attention to my mental health. Actually I never had time to think about my general health.
You see, a year ago, my life consisted of taking five classes every semester, including summer; working full-time as an assistant manager; participating in a few clubs as an officer; and trying to be a good fiancé/housewife. It was seriously overwhelming and that in itself is an understatement.
I aspired to be the Mrs. Beaver of my neighborhood, the one who was capable of managing everything without help. Mrs. Beaver would never admit or confine to anyone about her personal problems. I would never admit to overextending myself but at the same time, it was expected from me. And with that, I was in denial that I was a train-wreck waiting to happen. My pride intoxication blurred my rationality. I continued on fooling everyone that I was fine and perfectly capable of doing all this shit by myself. I was incredibly wrong and I paid a heavy price.
In September of last year, I had a mental breakdown. The absolute worst experience in my life. I never had amnesia before but it might as well been that: my mind expelled the person I once was. I lost myself and didn’t know what my purpose in life was anymore. I was a shell.
To me, the worst part of my mental breakdown was that it formed a barrier around my psyche and I lost my ability to acknowledge what I read. I would sit there and read and read and read, but I couldn’t decipher any of it. What’s worse was that I would have to reread the same sentence because somehow my mind would block it out. The words were obviously English and I could sound them out, but I couldn’t understand the message. I cried a lot because I was taking classes, which dwindled from full-time to part-time to withdrawing with two incompletes because studying became impossible. It was terribly frustrating to need someone to explain every freakin’ page.
In the beginning of February, I was slowly able to decode my readings. It began with simple things, like comics, short works, and finally, novels. Being able to understand what I was reading was like completing a math problem. It finally made sense.
This past June, I’m happy to report that I finished reading a book. Yes, it sounds odd but reading the damn thing and remembering what happened feels like the greatest accomplishment I ever made. I never thought how much I underappreciated learning until I had my mental breakdown. I’m absolutely happy that I can read and become versed without assistance.
It’s so easy to take our literacy for granted when there are many citizens in our country who are illiterate, in most cases because of social class and/or personal circumstances. I’ve been blessed with a loving family and a good education system whereas others haven’t been as fortunate. I will never take my learning abilities for granted ever again nor will I neglect my mental health in the way I did before. I’m not completely ‘healed’ from the meltdown because there will be days I can’t decipher anything I just read, but I force myself to try and not get frustrated. To this day, I have been reading, writing, and learning more than ever and I never want to lose that ability ever again.