As I began to read Eleanor Morgan's personal investigation into anxiety disorders, instead of being put off by her horrific experiences, I was fascinated to learn how many people face invisible monsters on a daily basis. It was eye-opening to start to unpack the emotions, battles and wars waged in what to me were considered everyday events, objects and situations. I realised how little I understand, and how I've never even considered that my neighbour, colleague or child may be facing these demons all by herself.
This book changes that. Eleanor Morgan draws us in to her fraught world in a very personal way. She is a talented writer, with a knack for getting to the point. She adds a dash of humour too, because we all need to laugh at ourselves more. She covers the build up of anxiety from a child's perspective. (And from a conversation with a teacher friend, I know that children as young as 8 or 9 are suffering from forms of anxiety disorder). She talks about the varied encounters with doctors and therapists - some good, some not, and the medications that can help. Helpful strategies and coping mechanisms are presented, as anxiety disorders need to be managed, like so many diseases and disabilities, they can't be cured.
We need to talk about anxiety disorders. We need to read about mental illness. We need to understand the battles others face on a daily basis. We need to think about how to create an atmosphere of sharing, openness and trust. Mental illness is crippling enough for anyone to face, but we, the very society who created the environment in which it can grow and flourish, do very little to help those struggling, and they find themselves isolated and alone. Like we've banished them to an institution, locked up in their own frightening world. Except we don't even know that we've done it, or what that world looks like.
This is an excellent way to start the process.