Hi, Anxiety by Kat Kinsman
Published by HarperCollins on November 15th 2016
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Medical, Mental Health, Social Science, Women's Studies
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Joining the ranks of such acclaimed accounts as Manic, Brain on Fire, and Monkey Mind, a deeply personal, funny, and sometimes painful look at anxiety and its impact from writer and commentator Kat Kinsman.
Feeling anxious? Can’t sleep because your brain won’t stop recycling thoughts? Unable to make a decision because you're too afraid you’ll make the wrong one? You’re not alone.
In Hi, Anxiety, beloved food writer, editor, and commentator Kat Kinsman expands on the high profile pieces she wrote for CNN.com about depression, and its wicked cousin, anxiety. Taking us back to her adolescence, when she was diagnosed with depression at fourteen, Kat speaks eloquently with pathos and humor about her skin picking, hand flapping, “nervousness” that made her the recipient of many a harsh taunt. With her mother also gripped by depression and health issues throughout her life, Kat came to live in a constant state of unease—that she would fail, that she would never find love . . . that she would end up just like her mother.
Now, as a successful media personality, Kat still battles anxiety every day. That anxiety manifests in strange, and deeply personal ways. But as she found when she started to write about her struggles, Kat is not alone in feeling like the simple act of leaving the house, or getting a haircut can be crippling. And though periodic medication, counseling, a successful career and a happy marriage have brought her relief, the illness, because that is what anxiety is, remains.
Exploring how millions are affected anxiety, Hi, Anxiety is a clarion call for everyone—but especially women—struggling with this condition. Though she is a strong advocate for seeking medical intervention, Kinsman implores those suffering to come out of the shadows—to talk about their battle openly and honestly. With humor, bravery, and writing that brings bestsellers like Laurie Notaro and Jenny Lawson to mind, Hi, Anxiety tackles a difficult subject with amazing grace.
I too have Anxiety. Mine comes with my Bipolar, but I still have the same crippling sensations of fear. I wasn’t always an anxious person. I can in face remember life before I had this crippling anxiety and wonder what I did to bring it on but alas today I have it, and I must figure out a way to live with it. Which is why I love books where OTHER people write about how they deal with their anxiety. It makes me feel less alone, and sometimes I will glean something new to try.
What I Liked
I loved how open and honest Kat Kinsman is about her anxiety. I mean I am open about the fact that I HAVE anxiety, but it is not often that I will go into detail about it with just anyone. Most of the time I reserve the nitty-gritty details for my mom or close friends. But in Hi! Anxiety Kat Kinsman gives us an intimate look into her anxiety. She goes into detail so that we can see excakly what it is like living with this illness.
I also like how she tells the truth about Effexor. I am one of the people that Effexor works for. It pulled me back from the dark abyss of depression and allowed me to live my life, BUT if I miss a dose a few hours later, I get sick of a bitch as withdrawal symptoms set in. I have people tell me that it is all in my head that THEY don’t get sick and at times I have felt that maybe it is just me. Kat Kinsman tells it like it is for many of us if we are late taking a dose or if we try and go off of it. I admire her for going cold turkey. I was reading, and I was like OMG YOU ARE DOING THIS WITHOUT STEPPING DOWN?! And you know what she was honest that she was sick for WEEKS after she quit. She explains why she did not see a DR first and I can’t fault her for that, but still, i was like holy fuck. She even tells us that it was two YEARS before the brain zaps stopped. Damn, i guess I am stuck on this for life cause I don’t have that kind of courage. Heh
My friends like to joke that I am a “modern-day shut-in” and at times I felt really bad an about it but this book made me realize that I am not alone and that agoraphobia is a very real thing that people live with. It made me feel less isolated, and that is the point of Kat Kinsman sharing such stuff in the book for the people who CANT speak up.
In the end, she admits that she is “privileged as hell” with her illness and I realized that I too was privileged. I have access to great insurance; I can work from the comfort of my apartment. I am manged to snag a great apartment that has everything or almost everything I need or want on the same block. I can be open about my anxiety with my friends. My friends get me when I tell them I am not in a going out mood. I have a FANTASTIC Dr., And the list goes on. I will admit there are days I wish I were the kind of person that liked to go out of a one-mile radius but I am not. I am lucky in that I don’t have to drive anywhere as we have buses here. I do feel for people who have agoraphobia and who do not have this kind of choice, and they are indeed stuck in their house.
What I Did Not Like
There is nothing about the BOOK that I did not like, but I wanted to add something about how I hate that most people who live with crippling anxiety do not have the resources to live life as they choose. They have to go to work in a place that gives them even more anxiety. They cant be open with it or worse they live in a place where they cant get treatment for it.
For example, I take a million milligrams of Neurontin for anxiety. Kidding I only take 900 three times a day. cough here in Cleveland I can get my pills easily. Hell, I don’t even have to leave my apartment building as the pharmacy mails them to me. Life here is pretty good I must admit. Then I visited my mom at her house in South Eastern Ky, and I find out you gotta take a drug test, AND you have to leave your home to go pick up the pills and sign a paper and blah blah blah. I mean can u imagine how hard that would be for someone like me who hates leaving my apartment which is afraid to drive ( there is no public transportation in SouthEastern Ky) who hates dealing with humanity in general? Seriously it is a pain in you know what. I hate that the way I live is the way the most privileged of us with mental illness live. I wish that everyone could have access to fanatic dr and pharmacies who will mail their meds and that everything they needed was within a one-mile radius. But they don’t. And that makes me sad.
I feel that Hi! Anxiety by Kat Kinsman is a book that is important in the cannon of dealing with anxiety and mental illness. There are not enough books on the topic of severe anxiety in my opinion. This book tells it like it is and if everyone understood what it is REALLY like living with anxiety then maybe, just maybe help can be found.