Living with Anxiety: 6 Moving Memoirs About Anxiety
Living With Anxiety
Eighteen percent of Americans are living with anxiety every day. Panic attacks, devastating dread and crushing worry make sleeping, eating, and working a daily struggle. Even with scientific texts and self-help books readily available, understanding what it is like to live with an anxiety disorder can be challenging.
Memoirs and first-hand accounts of anxiety can contribute to a better appreciation of this fairly common mental illness. These poignant stories vividly communicate the pain and frustration of this condition in personal terms. With that in mind, the six memoirs listed below can contribute to a better understanding of what it is like for someone who is living with anxiety every day.
On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety
by Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen is a celebrated science and health reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She has been living with anxiety for more than 25 years. In this book, Petersen describes the many symptoms of anxiety that she has to deal with on a regular basis. She also relates her experiences with emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and therapy sessions. She discloses the variety of drugs and alternative solutions she has tried to alleviate her condition. This memoir also honestly reveals the multiple ways that panic attacks have crashed into the author’s life. It effectively forced her to reschedule and rethink how she lives her life.
But this book is not just a set of personal memories of the past two decades. It is also full of medical and scientific facts and research. Peterson explores practical information about anxiety attacks. She traces the history and development of anti-anxiety drugs. The veteran reporter also reviews the methods of therapy used to treat anxiety disorders. She even looks into the factors involved in the inheritance of genes that lead to the disorders.
The author relates her personal experiences with sensitivity. She also presents thoroughly researched practical information. The book is insightful and at the same time knowledgeable. It offers a remarkable look at living with anxiety. Anyone with the condition will relate to, sympathize with and learn from it.
Caging the Anxiety Monster: A Memoir
by Cathy Donaldson
Cathy Donaldson is a writer, mother, and happiness enthusiast. In her book Caging the Anxiety Monster, she describes what it is like to be living with anxiety. She recounts how anxiety and depression turned her world upside-down. It even led her to the psych ward. Ultimately, it forced her to find ways to restrain her “anxiety monster”. Since then, she has kept the beast under lock and key. Her story is at times tragic. But it is always full of encouragement to get up and try again. She ends her tale with advice for how we can be gracious and generous to ourselves.
Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves
by Kat Kinsman
This book is the memoir of noted food writer and editor Kat Kinsman. It takes readers deep into the experiences the author has had living with anxiety. It is deeply personal, funny, and sometimes painful. The author vividly recalls her adolescence with humor and much emotion. She eloquently recounts her skin picking, hand flapping, and other nervous tics. All these habits made her the recipient of many harsh taunts.
See also: Children’s Books About Anxiety
Kat is now a successful media personality. But she still battles anxiety every day. Her anxiety shows up strange, deeply personal ways. She finds relief from periodic medication, counseling, a successful career and a happy marriage. However, the illness still remains. And she does not come up with a miracle cure. She simply opens the door into her world. She exposes her hoarding, dominatrix job, parental mental illness, dating drama and all. Readers who share any similar traits realize that they are not alone.
This book is for anyone who cares about mental health. It is for those who have dealt with their own or a loved one’s mental health issues. Or anyone who simply enjoys reading memoirs.
My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind
by Scott Stossel
Scott Stossel has been living with anxiety for decades. His assorted phobias and neuroses began to show when he was a toddler. In this book, he provides engaging and hilarious anecdotes of one who suffers from anxiety. But he goes beyond the stories. He presents the condition from various perspectives. His viewpoints range from the philosophical, medical, cultural, and experiential. From the different perspectives, he explores how anxiety has affected humans for centuries. Yet, he notes that there is still no “cure”. He observes that anxiety is a “riddle” with very personal and diverse factors and symptoms. It also affects people from all walks of life. Even great minds, including Darwin and Freud, documented their battles with anxiety.
See also: 3 of the Best Anxiety Relief Toys
The author explores a variety of treatments, their risks, and successes. He provides a unique insight as both a journalist and victim. As a journalist, his priority is an impartial investigation. But as a sufferer, his imperative is to get well. These two roles are not necessarily complementary. He inserts himself into the narrative as a case study. But he does not discuss his treatment in the context of therapeutic techniques. Instead, he just relates how he feels about the treatment. In the end, the author’s beautiful prose and careful research form a perfect blend. The potent combination makes this book informative, thoughtful and fun to read.
Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
By Daniel Smith
From outward appearances, Daniel Smith seems content with life. But a sense of looming calamity clouds every waking moment of his life. He has been living with anxiety since his childhood. In this book, he deftly articulates what it is like to live with anxiety. He recounts his personal experiences with great humor. In the process, he defangs the disorder. He not only evocatively expresses its self-destructive foolishness. He also lays bare its painful inner turmoil.
This book is a wildly acclaimed New York Times bestseller. It is not only an uplifting, smart, funny memoir. It also provides hope and understanding to those who suffer from anxiety disorders.
Anxiety as an Ally: How I Turned a Worried Mind into My Best Friend
By Dan Ryckert
Dan experienced his first panic attack on New Year’s Day of 2003. Since then, he has been living with anxiety. This book is a 12-year chronicle of his struggles with anxiety disorder. He is sincere and honest about all the things he went through and is still going through. This book is an easy read that provides insight into what it feels like to deal with anxiety.
The book is not a self-help guide. Neither is it inspirational. It is also not clinical.
But the book is meant to help. Dan tries to let anxiety sufferers know that they are not alone. There may not be any cure, but they need not suffer in vain. Finally, he gives readers an idea of how to cope.
See also: Selective Mutism Memoirs