Monday, October 7, 2019

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety, by Sarah Wilson (author, narrator)

HarperAudio, ISBN 9780062847270, April 2018

This is a really excellent book about living with anxiety.

The author is not a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or any other kind of medical professional. She's an author and journalist, and a woman who lives with chronic anxiety. Over a lifetime of dealing with it, she became interested in understanding what it is, where it comes from, and history of treatment for it, including the fads and fashions that affect medical treatment.

Some of what she has to say may strike some as borderline woo-woo, but she's very clear about talking to medical professionals knowledgeable on the subject to ensure that known of her advice is safe, and the importance of medical support when you're going off medication.

Also, medication is really helpful for some people, and not as helpful to others. She's also really clear about the need to pay attention to how you react, not how other people tell you you should be reacting.

A very important aspect of this book is that she talks about the positive aspects of anxiety. No, not kidding. Anxiety can push you to make the projects you're working on better, or alert you to the fact that you're going in the wrong direction altogether. It pushes us to be that little bit more perfectionist. We see evidence of anxiety and depression in other primates--and the primate troops that have some percentage of members so affected have higher survival rates. Why? The anxious and the depressed are hanging out on the edges of the group, paying attention to things the others aren't, and sometimes that's life-saving.

No population could survive with only the anxious and the depressed, but having some benefits the whole community.

So learn to use your anxiety, and also pay attention to what really helps you cope--medication, meditation, long runs on the beach, or, in my case, a dog who responds to my moods and my needs, and will go as far as pulling me toward an exit if I'm getting over-stimulated by the place where we are.

You're not broken; you have different strengths and challenges than most people. Pay attention to what helps you, and be aware of your strengths.

Very much recommended!

Borrowed from my local library.

No comments:

Post a Comment