Y Kant Anoni Read
October 31, 2011 12:29 PM Subscribe
Grad student can no longer read. ADD reading strategies sought, please.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (20 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I am a grad student in the social sciences. This year I was diagnosed with ADD and prescribed methylphenidate (Ritalin). It has helped in some areas, especially in boosting my ability to truck forward on more active tasks such as writing papers, but it hasn't really helped my ability to focus on more passive tasks at all. Specifically, I am almost completely unable to read in any meaningful way. This is very distressing because 1) I have to do a ton of reading for my degree, and 2) I was an extremely avid reader from a very early age and it is disturbing to have suddenly acquired this inability in the past few years. My ADD symptoms have definitely been getting worse with time, not better. I spent a few years working between undergrad and grad school, so I'm really feeling the escalation of my symptoms, suddenly being back in an academic program.
It's not that I'm inherently bored by what I read, it's that I just can't focus. Either what I'm reading is boring, and I'm distracted by other, more interesting things, or the reading is actually something that interests me incredibly, and when I try to read it my mind goes into "OH MY GOD THIS IS SO EXCITING I AM SO EXCITED THAT I AM READING ABOUT THIS AAAAH LET ME THINK ABOUT THIS TOPIC WHILE RUNNING AROUND THE ROOM OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS TOPIC". It's totally absurd. The hardest part is that most of my reading is on the computer, which makes it 20 times harder, but I'm doing my best to print out as frequently as possible, though it's not always practical. Nonetheless, reading in print is really not that much easier. Weirdly enough, even though I tend to enjoy nonfiction a lot better in theory, I find it much easier to read fiction now-- it's much easier to get into that locked-in reading trance. In fact, now that I write it out, that's exactly what I suddenly lack-- the ability to just get into that groove where you're locked into what you're reading, and unconsciously following along; what normal people seem to be able to do and what I used to be able to do effortlessly. Now every clause is a true struggle and I never get into any sort of flow.
I'm in dialogue with my psychiatrist about this, so I'm interested in non-pharmaceutical coping strategies you can suggest. Nothing I have tried has worked; I always just end up sitting in front of unread text for an hour.
Thanks muchly in advance.
Throwaway email firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer to answer anonymously.