First, We Make the Beast Beautiful
Sarah Wilson, author of the 'I Quit Sugar' series has released a story about her experience with anxiety and bipolar disorder. She gives some great strategies, albeit some a little unusual which are rather humorous but probably actually quite effective - going to the cheapest grottiest Thai massage place in order to not be disappointed and getting the guy in shoe store to touch and measure your foot when you crave that little bit of grounding personal contact. As she tells the story of how her life has played out it felt like she was the same person as me - high achieving, determined, over worked, obsessive and anxious.
She talks of how being anxious constantly is a lonely place to be, a feeling I know too well. "Anxiety is a very lonely condition; when you're anxious you've got to suffer alone. But we can all reach out and let each other know that we're not on our own, there's other people going through the same thing."
I love how the book reads quite like my own mind works. It rambles and switches things up frequently. It reads like an anxious persons mind which is oddly comforting as thats what I'm like. It's not exactly a preachy self help book, although it does have some helpful aspects. It makes you go "Oh thank god, here is this super successful person who is just like me! Thank god I'm not the only one like this!" It is raw, honest and touching.
“There have been a lot of successful people throughout history who have had anxiety – including people like Churchill ... If you look at the history of writers and entrepreneurs, many have some sort of anxiety disorder. I thought it was time that we [had] a new conversation around it.”
This book is perfect for anyone who is anxious or anyone who loves someone who is anxious. It will give you a good insight into the way their world works.
Early this year, I visited the Sydney Writer's Festival to see Sarah Wilson discuss her book and all things anxiety. I sat there in the front row, shaking a little - it was the first time I've been any where in a while. To be entirely honest, to make it there did require a little of my emergency supply of valium but I really wanted to go. Sarah was so honest, so funny and so relatable. Everything she said resonated with me.
I was lucky enough to ask her a question at the end, I awkwardly put my hand up and then down again and a few women around me waved on my behalf, I was likely visibly quite anxious by this point so thanks very much to them!! I asked Sarah what she would want her 20 year old self to know. Her 20s sound an awful like what mine have been like, full of new scary diagnoses, most of which I share with her, many hours spent with psychiatrists, feeling like you're totally losing it but being cognisant of exactly what is happening but yet it still continues.
She told me to make my journey mine. She told me that I was clever and wonderful and would figure it out. She signed my book with a smile and told me that things will come together and I'll see that one day. I said in reply - "I hope" and thanked her. I left and quickly burst into tears when I got outside. Her recounting that she decided quite promptly that she didn't want to live anymore hit me pretty hard, I've been at that point many a time over the last two or three years but it is good to know I'm not the only one and that like she has, I can get through it.
This book shows that anxiety can be managed and you can be successful and high functioning but first, we make the beast beautiful. We have to accept it, we have to learn to live with it and it can be done.
Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000. If you live outside Australia, link to worldwide crisis numbers can be found in the sidebar.