Am I good enough? What’s wrong with me? These questions, along with constant nervousness, stem from the paralyzing anxiety I deal with every day. Social situations can prove to be difficult and worrying about the smallest task is all too common. Struggling with anxiety is no easy task. It can cause me to lose focus, worry about the minute details of my life and, in extreme cases, make it so I cannot even function. There is no cure for anxiety and there is no universal list of symptoms. Each individual is affected differently, making it a difficult concept to understand and even more difficult to explain. There are certain aspects of my life that I have had to alter in order to accommodate the monster that is anxiety. I plan my days around the many lists I have made; if I don’t make these lists, my brain will become filled with overwhelming thoughts. While using lists is a new-found solace, my one constant comfort has been books.
When my world gets too hectic or complicated, books are my escape, my favorite solemn and solitary activity. I can run off to other worlds and live in other lives until I am ready to tackle my own. Books about anxiety or people struggling with it, like “First We Make the Beast Beautiful” and “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill,” are heartwarming companions for those who suffer. Anxiety is a very isolating illness and these stories make it a bit more bearable.
In fact, there is a new book I recently discovered, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, that has changed my life for the better. “Kind of Coping” by Marzi Wilson is a graphic novel of amusing and touching doodles that detail the author’s life as an introvert with anxiety. First, this book makes me laugh. Better yet, in a way I didn’t even realize I needed, this book gives me a new friend in Marzi. Marzi and her sketches make me feel understood by managing to put my own feelings into words when I have been unable to do so. Anxiety is an issue that is nearly impossible to understand unless you experience it yourself. I have shared the author’s doodles with my family and friends so they can better understand what I am going through. During bouts of extreme anxiety, this book is a calming presence which reminds me that I am not alone.
Books are magical objects that not only relieve us of the monotony of our daily lives, but also have the power to heal us. I don’t expect my anxiety to ever go away but, as long as I have a book nearby, I know I’ll be OK.
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