REVIEW: THE LITTLE BOOK OF ANXIETY

The Little Book of Anxiety: Confessions of a Worried Life

Author: Kerri Sackville
Ebury Australia RRP $29.95
Review: Monique Mulligan
Anxiety disorders affect 1 in 7 people in Australia, making them even more common than depression. (Source: www.understandinganxiety.com.au)Ever been crippled by anxiety? Author Kerri Sackville has. So have I – there, that’s my confession for the day. Unlike me, Sackville has been brave enough to share her lifelong journey with anxiety in a heartfelt book laced with self-deprecating humour.

Dubbed a funny book about a serious subject, The Little Book of Anxiety is exactly that; it had me laughing one moment and nodding my head ‘me-too’ fashion the next. A self-confessed ‘born worrier’, Sackville traces her journey with anxiety from childhood to present, recounting her early fears of abandonment, failure and loss of control (which have carried into her adult life), her teenage obsession with appearance, the agony of sleeplessness, and more. Her story is refreshing in its honesty and engaging in its insight; it’s also well-written and testament to Sackville’s winning way with words.

As I read her accounts of frenzied eyebrow plucking and pimple picking, elevator angst, catastrophic thinking and sleep battles, I couldn’t help but admire Sackville for speaking out. Many, many people experience anxiety – at times, it’s debilitating – but not many are brave (or able) enough to describe exactly how they experience it. Why would you want people to think you’re weak? Irrational? Weird? A nail-biting neurotic? Sadly, while anxiety may appear this way symptomatically, it is often the person who is labelled as such; the unfortunate stigma surrounding anxiety and depression often prevents people from being open about something that just is for them. Added to this, it’s one of those conditions that, unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, is incredibly hard to understand. Yet, the impact on the sufferer and people around them can be so great, it needs more understanding.

Underlying the book is the sense that Sackville, once ‘shackled by anxiety’, to use her phrase, has come to a point where (most of the time) she accepts that anxiety is part of who she is – ‘I still have times when my anxiety gets the better of me…but eventually I will always get up again’. It’s a liberating thought and one that may help other readers too.

What more can I say other than ‘read this book if you have experienced anxiety’? (Come to think of it, if I’d just written that for my review, I would have saved myself the angst of getting the words right…). This book hit the spot for me, because I get it. It’s not intended to be a self-help book full of well-meaning advice – rather, it told me in no uncertain words that I’m not alone.

For more information about anxiety, visit the Understanding Anxiety website.

Available from good bookstores and Random House. This copy was courtesy of Random House Australia.