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The book every anxiety sufferer needs to read

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The book every anxiety sufferer needs to read

I don't like to tell people they need to read a certain book, who am I to tell you what to do? But today I'm breaking that rule because Scott Stossel's My Age of Anxiety: Fear, hope, dread and the search for peace of mind is a must-read for anyone who is dealing with anxiety. Anxiety disorders are so complex and there is so much about anxiety we don't know. I, like Scott, have suffered from an anxiety disorder since I was in grade school and I consider myself very informed about the disease. But after reading My Age of Anxiety, I realized there is so much I didn't know about how this disease effects my life. I didn't know that so many of the fears I suffer from are actually phobias. Did you know that a fear of fainting is actually a phobia? It's called asthenophobia. Scott suffers from many phobias, most notably, emetophobia, which is the fear of vomiting, another phobia I suffer from that I didn't know was actually a phobia. Learning about all these phobias could be a negative thing it can be alarming to find out you have a phobia. But I found it so comforting to realize that I'm not crazy because I have these fears. I'm actually normal! The book isn't just about the effects of anxiety, it also explores the disease's history and the many different scientific names given to anxiety throughout the years. And of course the book has to explore the controversial topic of what causes anxiety is it genetic, is it biological, is it created by our environment or is it created by money-hungry pharmaceutical companies. There really is no definitive answer, but Scott brings up valid points for each theory. If you're looking for a light read, this isn't it. The book is dense and full of lots of medical terminology and lots of philosophical musings by the likes of Hippocrates and Darwin . Darwin actually suffered from anxiety, he had what was called a nervous stomach. For months his anxiety was so bad he was throwing up daily. But it's the personal stories like Darwin's that are the real gem of this book. Scott shares many of his own stories about battling anxiety. Parts of it are terrifying to read as a fellow anxiety sufferer reading how he nearly fainted at his own wedding makes me fearful for my own wedding day. But there is also a lot of humour. I couldn't contain my laughter while reading Scott's experience of nearly shitting his pants while on vacation in Cape Cod with John F. Kennedy Jr. You have to laugh at the ridiculous situations anxiety sufferers find themselves in and take solace in the fact that you're not alone in having these humiliating moments thanks to a nervous stomach or loose bowels. Scott also shares the stories of many famous people who are anxious, like Gandhi and Barbra Streisand. Did you know Hugh Grant has panic attacks when he's filming movies? It's so surprising that so many accomplished people are dealing with anxious thoughts. But the key is they don't let their anxiety cripple them from achieving success. Scott is the perfect example of this. Despite his fear of flying, public speaking and his separation anxiety, he is a successful author and editor. Of course he has to down alcohol and anxiety meds to get through the day, but he makes it through. And to a fellow anxiety-sufferer that is inspiring. I think that's the main reason why any person who is anxious needs to read this book. You become inspired after reading how Scott continues to thrive despite his fears and anxiety. Scott gave me the faith that I can persevere through this disease and so can you. What books do you tell people they have to read? Photo courtesy of Random House
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The book every anxiety sufferer needs to read

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