Is Excessive Reading a Form of Dissociation?

Hey Fellow Evolved Teacher!

Let's chat about something that may be just a bit triggering.

Last week, I found this post: 

Now, hold on just a minute, before you go rolling your eyes because of the Tik Tok reference. TikTok is filled with professionals, like me, who share our scholarly work and insights for free. It's actually ridiculous to discount knowledge because of the platform, without doing our own due diligence. (Whew- rant over- ha!) Let's get back to it. 

First, I immediately began to conduct research and messaged a few friends who are therapists and psychotherapists.

After all, I was thinking of this little girl (Little Me), who DEVOURED books! (Can you find me in the crowd? By the way, I'm not related to anyone in this photo. They were all friends of my mother's friends. Not my friends...I'm sure I had a book somewhere and couldn't wait to go grab it!)


So...was devouring books and being an excessive reader a form of dissociation?


The answer is... YES... but, breathe...that doesn't mean that it's a "bad" thing.



According to Megan MacCutcheon, LPC of

"Dissociation, or the feeling of being disconnected or separated from oneself, is a common experience, especially as a means for coping with or escaping from stressful situations."


But, MacCutcheon also added this:

"A little further down the spectrum is the type of dissociation used as a defense mechanism to cope with stressful situations or feelings of being completely overwhelmed."


Now, this is when I began to lean in my seat because although I have always loved reading, I also know that the summer when I read over 100 books and was written about in the local paper at around 11 years old, my family was also homeless.


Books gave me the therapy and escape that I needed and didn't have.


As I thought more deeply, I realized that some of my childhood heroes used the same manner of escaping or "dissociating." Like my favorite, the one and only, Matilda.



And, apparently, I wasn't the only one! Here are some of the comments that were under my social media post.





So...since excessive reading was so helpful for so many of us and it gave us a coping mechanism when we didn't have one?


Then, why bring it up?


Excessive Reading can be a sign that a child does not have the tools to communicate their needs.


The Mental Health website, "The Mighty," asked members who deal with dissociation to reveal signs of their dissociation that they demonstrated as children. Here's what came up in this article by Haley Quinn.


Woah!!! Did you read #4?


There's obviously so much to unpack here, {{first_name}}. But, this is enough to get you thinking.


By the way:


 Psychotherapist Matt Cartwright and I will chat about this on Instagram Live tomorrow at 1pm EST. Join! And let's unpack, discuss, and continue to evolve together. 


Keep Evolving,



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