Through the filtered lens of Instagram, it may seem like life’s a peach, but in reality, journalist Caroline Foran has been living with crippling anxiety since her early 20s. Here, in Owning It, she chronicles her journey from the kind of all-consuming fear where leaving the house for milk was too petrifying a prospect, and holding down a high-octane Editor job was no longer possible, to spending every day crying under her duvet, wondering how the hell she was going to pull herself through. But then she did; she owned it.
For those facing the same struggle, Caroline explores exactly what anxiety is, its triggers and the various treatments. From CBT, acupuncture, diet and the often debated role of medication – she examines with honesty, humour and a bullsh*t free perspective what worked for her and gives us a no-frills account of anxiety from the front line.
What intrigued me about this book was that Foran was quick to point out in an interview that she’s not offering a quick-fix for anxiety. Instead she offers a guide on how to accept anxiety as part of your life and manage it effectively, guided by someone who has “been there”. I’ll admit I’m rather sceptical when it comes to self-help books but I’ve indulged in some pretty good ones and Owning It is no exception. I bought it in a matter of hours after first hearing about it, and I was not disappointed.
I couldn’t put this book down and I found so many helpful tips in it that I’m already starting to employ into my everyday life. For instance, it helped me realise my fitness regime was doing me more harm than good both mentally and physically, so I’m switching to exercises that suit me and nourish me inside and out.
The book also contains exercises to carry out for when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to ground yourself. My favourite is the 5,4,3,2,1 game that works as follows:
Describe 5 things you can see right now
List 4 things you can feel
Name 3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 good thing about yourself
The best part is that it’s a book you can carry around with you for whenever you need it (as if my handbag wasn’t heavy enough!). I’m going to tag the pages I found the most useful so I can quickly refer to them when necessary.
I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. Even if you don’t suffer with anxiety, it is still worth a read. The one thing I will fault it on is the chapter on Alternative Therapies and Treatments, where Foran spends a little to much time romancing about acupuncture!