Having a mental illness is becoming something of a fashion accessory.
If you think that, then it is clear that you have always been ‘mentally healthy’. Which is great, for you.
It is not that mental illness is more common, or that people are making things up to be “#relatable” or popular. It is because people are feeling a lot more confident expressing what is often a large part of their multi-faceted personalities. And believe me, anyone who does suffer from anxiety or depression would really rather that they didn’t. It is a topic which is covered really well in Eleanor Morgan’s pop-science/memoir ‘Anxiety For Beginners’, along with everything else you didn’t know you didn’t know about anxiety.
I picked up this book in the middle of having an anxiety attack of my own. As I stood there at the stall examining the book, I had already started reading chapter two before I realised it. The book starts with a detailed (and somewhat graphic) description of Morgan’s first panic attack. While a panic attack is a pretty traumatic and scary experience, Morgan brushes it with humour creating a relaxed environment for the reader.
Books like this NEED to exist. Though Morgan’s experiences are different from my own, it made me more aware of some of my thoughts and actions I had never really thought about, and how they stem from anxiety. And I am quite a self-aware person. I can only imagine how reassuring the read would be to someone who has done little self-examination.
I thought, somewhat arrogantly, that with my psychology degree, the science part would be old news to me. However, she included so much, including a chapter dedicated to the future of anxiety, that much of it was new to me. While I think that my background helped me to understand the chemical processes and genetic aspects that she described easier, she describes everything in laymen terms. It is also incredibly detailed and researched.
As much as I love pop-science and nonfiction books, I have a very short attention span and I can quickly find my enthusiasm waning while reading. Morgan however, peppers her book with stories, humour and anecdotes, always just at the point when my mind is beginning to wander. This kept me engaged in a way most non-fiction doesn’t.
Morgan’s story, though unique to her, is an experience that millions will understand. It is also an amazing educational tool for those who are new to the concept of mental health or are perhaps a bit judgmental. I highly recommend you buy a copy, read it and then lead it to those friends and family members who maybe don’t quite get your ‘little quirks’.