Tuesday, June 24, 2014
They're Doing It In England!
Well, doctors have been prescribing books for those with mild to moderate depression. While I don't think that it would help me, I applaud the practice. It's called bibliotherapy.
Apparently it has been going on for quite some time according to this article on Smithsonian.com.
When I was an inpatient at a psych hospital we were given books to help with the majority of our problems. While none cured me, they did give me something to think about on my road to recovery.
Books themselves have always been a form of therapy for me, anyway. I can escape between the pages and my troubles are held at bay for a few hours.
It is only in my worst times that my mind robs me of even this activity. When I am very, very down my comprehension skills are nil and therefore reading is more frustrating than soothing. Even books that are old friends are no help in those times.
I have found, however, a new friend in audio books. I first started listening as a means to get to sleep. For years my sleep was catch-as-catch-can. I would have trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep if I did happen to drift off. Then I found out that I could put audio books on my iPod. I have always loved reading aloud and this was like having someone right there reading to me! And It worked!
Audio books make me concentrate on the words and my mind will stop racing. It helps when I am experiencing very bad tinnitus. Occasionally they have even helped with my panic attacks.
And I was thrilled to find some old friends available on audio. Stephen King books It and The Stand, The Shining and Tommyknockers are there, as is Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song. And I have about a dozen Dean Koontz novels downloaded. I also have newer novels like King's Under the Dome and Doctor Sleep. Can you see that I am a big fan of the horror genre?
Although I have an iPad mini that has a few free books downloaded onto it, I find that it is not the same to me as holding an actual book in my hands. So I have yet to be converted to that medium.
Even though the book you are reading may not be considered therapeutic, I believe that the act of reading is. Whether it's a new novel or one that you grew up reading again and again, I think that your mind likes that little trip into another reality. It is like a rest stop for your head.
I hope that eventually the practice of prescribing books becomes commonplace in the United States. So often people who are a little depressed are not aware of the fact that there are books that can help them. In my head my depression is chuckling right now, daring me to try to throw a book at it. It will not help in all cases, but it is worth trying in those cases where it just might.