Monday, September 2, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Freaking Out: Real-Life Stories about Anxiety by Polly Wells

Freaking Out: Real-Life Stories about Anxiety

Time to get personal, I suffer from some sort of anxiety. All of a sudden I get that feeling that everything is wrong, I start getting really hot and just want to burst out in tears. Over nothing. Usually if I'm trying to do something and one little thing doesn't work or its not as simple as it should be. My cure is usually punching a hole in the closet (but since we've moved I'm not allowed to do that anymore :) ).I've never gotten it officially diagnosed, because well I hate doctors and for me to go and admit something is wrong about me to them freaks me out---see anxiety, it's a cold hard bitch.  And I know that my anxiety causes me to have panic attacks and forces me into having a quiet night in watching TV instead of going out into the social world being the life of the party.

Anywho, enough about me and back to the book. Based on myself, when I saw this title floating around netgalley I was compelled to request it, and I'm thankful I got approved to read it. However, upon reading it I didn't feel any more or less knowledgeable about anxiety. It was like oh that's nice.

This book is a collection of 13 stories written by teenagers who suffer from varying degrees of anxiety. A thing about these stories, a few of them didn't seem like anxiety at all. Not that I'm taking the worrying factor out of any one's perception, but from the get go we are introduced to some very simple definitions. Fear is the known or actual danger. Anxiety is the possible or imagined danger.  And like I said, some of the stories seemed like they were legit fear- like the boy who was terrified of dogs. Yes, it has anxious undertones but phobias- as unimaginable and unrelatable they might be are still fears.  Or the girl who was anxious to go to school because she was being bullied.  To me this seems more fear than anxiety. 

Yes, maybe the teens were anxious but the anxiety was triggered by some outside force. A lot of the examples in the book also showed that anxiety and OCD come hand in hand. I just don't think this is the case in everyone who has ever suffered from anxiety and the book makes a bit of a generalization in this sense.

I do like that they said that people need to understand the warning signs of the anxiety/panic attacks and to transfer that energy to someplace else, writing, art, punching a hole in a closet (ok-prob not the best way).  With that being said the book featured a lot of teens who through accepting their anxiety turned to theater. This makes me wonder if the author found a bunch of her 'samples' at the local drama gig.

I did only give this book 2 stars because it wasn't what I was hoping to get out of it.   The gist of it was that anxiety is caused by some external factor ; phobias, post traumatic stress, bullies, etc. and I guess I wanted to read those anxiety cases where people were just shy (there was 1 story) or just had random attacks for no 'real' reason. It is good to know that you aren't alone in this either adn that it can and does get better, you just need to talk about it.

It's hard to review a book like this because you can't not put personal feelings into it. You also can't take away someone else's view on what they are feeling. Nobody can understand what's going on in your body except you, and even then its difficult to define. One thing I did take away is this quote (from story #2 I believe) "All that is important is how I see myself, knowing where I want to go and what I want to do." I think I definitely need to remember this.

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