Friday, November 15, 2019

My Reading Pace Slowdown or What Has Led Me Astray

This post is mostly off-topic for this blog.  The information shared should fully explain why my reading pace has slowed to a crawl.

In June, I wrote about how my reading pace had slowed.

2019 Mid-Year Reading Update
With everything that has happened in recent months, my interest in publishing reviews continues to be rather low and does appear to be further diminishing.  I can also see by my reading progress to this point in the year that I am reading at a slower pace than in each of the previous five years.

2014:  262 books
2015:  231 books
2016:  355 books
2017:  403 books
2018:  315 books

So far in 2019, I have read 114 books.  If I keep that pace, I will read 228 books by the end of the year.  Yes, that is still a fabulous number of books to read in one year, but it does show that my pace is dropping off.
Right.  Well, I'm not going to have read any 228 books by the end of the year.  I was recently still on pace to read 200 books by the end of the year, but I no longer expect that to happen.  It is possible, but my habits would have to change.

I detailed in the post linked above how stressful last school year was due to a textbook adoption that didn't go well.  I ended the school year very sick and sick into nearly half of my summer break.

I have autoimmune thyroid disease, known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  The autoimmune aspect causes the trouble.  My body even launches attacks on the medication sometimes.  When that happens, I feel like I have the flu.  By the way, if you search online for information about the condition, the websites say how easy it is to treat. Clearly, the writers don’t have the condition, or they’d know better.

In early August, I finally was near optimal for the first time in five years.  It was great. Unfortunately, Acella Pharmaceuticals changed to a different supplier for one medication I take, NP Thyroid.  While Acella claims that the pills did not change, they actually did.  The pills are a different size and color.  Just know that any change in thyroid medication is the kiss of death for me.  My body goes through a hard adjustment that takes 2 to 2 1/2 months.  This doesn't mean that I feel awful all of the time, but I do have a lot of bad side effects and can feel sick for parts of each day.

Understand that my life is not horrible.  I am actually doing okay and often fine, in spite of what I just mentioned.  However, I often feel bad for part of each day.  I can actually feel fine one moment, awful a minute later which can last for just a few minutes or for 30 minutes up to a few hours, then instantly feel fine again.  On some days, I feel fine all day.  Unfortunately, I usually pay for it by feeling awful the entire next day.

I am nearing the end of my body's current hard adjustment to the change in medication.  I bottomed out right about on Wednesday, October 16, which coincided with the events described in this post.  It’s really unfortunate to be in a position where I must limit stress, and then I have people going off on me because they aren’t getting what they want.  I don’t think much of people who throw fits online in an attempt to bully others.

I also want to point out that my medication dosage has to be changed fairly frequently and that I typically go through at least one hard adjustment per year, sometimes two of them.  If I ever seem off, then you know why.  I cannot always cover the symptoms, even though I try hard to do so.

All of this, of course, slowed my reading pace.  But that wasn't the main cause.

In early 2017, I felt like I needed to explain why I read so many books in 2016, due to comments that expressed a bit too much amazement.
As I updated my reading progress this year, a few people had trouble grasping how I read so many books.  Reading is my favorite activity.  That should be enough explanation, but here's some more.  I read instead of watching movies.  In fact, I believe that I watched not even one movie in 2016, which may be the first time that has ever happened.  Think about how much time you have spent watching movies, and there you go.  There's nothing surprising about watching lots of movies, and there shouldn't be anything surprising about spending that same time reading lots of books.
My obsession has been reading, and I have stayed away from all other obsessions during the last six years.  Of course my reading pace was going to be fast.  Why wouldn't it have been?  I remain astounded that people thought it was so weird.  I can’t imagine what they will think when they read the rest of this post.

This is what happened.  Since around late May, I have been completely, totally obsessed with watching YouTube videos of Queen, Freddie Mercury, Queen + Adam Lambert, Adam Lambert, and anything connected with any and all of them.  I have been sucked into an abyss, and I cannot escape.

Now, here's the backstory.  This has been a latent interest for years.  I have liked Queen since the 1990s.  I watched American Idol in 2009 and liked Adam Lambert back then.  I didn't follow his career because I have no interest in modern music.  Besides, I was too busy reading.

It was earlier this year that I heard that Queen + Adam Lambert would open the Oscars, so I watched.  It still took a couple of months for the reaction to set in, but by late May, the flame had been lit.  I watched dozens of Queen + Adam Lambert videos and concerts.  Actually, I probably watched hundreds of them.  I spent the summer watching video after video and watched some videos over and over again.  I watched at least five Queen documentaries, the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and the Queen + Adam Lambert documentary.

I thought that this would die down when school started in August.  I would have less time, right?  No, that didn't stop me, not that I wanted to be stopped... Don't stop me now, I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball...

Next, Adam Lambert released his Velvet: Side A.  I didn't think I would care, because this is modern music.  I was wrong.  Adam Lambert reeled me in with his "Superpower."

I read only seven books in October.

Last night, I got the great idea of searching YouTube for performances of “Somebody to Love” by Queen and Adam Lambert from 2014.  I watched “Somebody to Love” over and over from different venues.  I didn’t get much reading done last night.

Reading is currently a low priority, although at least I am still reading.


Amanda from Seattle said...

I have the same problem in that the internet (social media) and streaming video services have sucked my time away. With the ability to stream an entire season of a show at once....there goes several nights of reading. I used to read during my down times at work, but now we have wifi on the aircraft and streaming video, so I end up on social media or watching You Tube or whatever movies are on offer, TV series that I don't have access to at home etc. I still read a lot and more than most of my contemporaries, but my personal numbers are definitely down from years past.

Evelyn said...

My mom has an autoimmune disorder and it's very tough for her some days, so you have my sympathy! She tries to make the most of the good days, though.

I hope that you are on the other side of your medication adjustment soon!

paul binotto said...

Sending good thoughts your way.
Hope you turn the corner soon.

Jennifer White said...

Amanda from Seattle - It's impossible these days to have time for everything. We have so much media available that whatever we do causes us to miss out on tons of content.

Evelyn - Thank you. :) Autoimmune diseases are the pits.

Mousecliff - Thank you :) I am definitely better than a month ago. I will find out one week from Monday where I'm at.

I live my life by the spoon theory, as many of us do. If you are not familiar with it, this page explains.

What is the Spoon Theory?

I have the following article saved, since the subtitle describes the situation brilliantly: "I had an autoimmune disease. Then the disease had me."

What's Wrong with Me?

Albert Alioto said...

Jennifer, Just want to wish you all the best, always. Albert Alioto