At a family reunion last summer, I was shocked to learn that we had anxiety problems on every branch of our family tree. Second cousins who’d never met had lengthy school absences because they were too anxious to attend classes. Nieces and nephews made limiting life choices based on fears of getting a job or perusing higher education. Recognizing the impact of anxiety on my extended family was sad and sobering.
I think that’s why I appreciated On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Petersen. She had her first panic attack as a college student in 1989 and has battled anxiety throughout her life. This book is part memoir, part mental health history, and part science of medication and a cure. Petersen’s grandmother was a 39-year-old Wisconsin housewife when she tried to set fire to her three young children while they slept. She lived most of her remaining life in a mental institution.
Much of the treatment for anxiety uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (essentially changing your thoughts about an anxious situation and forcing yourself to do it anyway). I found it especially interesting that there are now interventions for preschoolers to teach them how to cope with anxiety. This approach encourages bravery and taking small steps toward goals, versus letting the children quit an activity because they are afraid.
This book will be of interest to anyone with anxiety or who has loved ones who suffer.
Sue Allen Clayton is a website content writer, author and speaker. She writes newsletters, website content and marketing materials for a wide range of businesses. Over her two decades as a professional writer, Sue has written several books, hundreds of newsletters and magazine articles, and thousands of blog posts.