I have suffered from anxiety my entire adult life, but putting my experiences into words so the people around me can better understand what I'm going through has never been easy. That is, until I read Andrea Petersen's new book on the subject, because from the sticky dread that's always somewhere in the background to the paralyzing fear that can put your whole life on hold, On Edge completely nails what it feels like to have anxiety.
A celebrated science and health reporter, Andrea Petersen has been waging a war against her own anxiety disorder since childhood, one she describes in unflinching detail in her new book about the affliction affecting not only her but 40 million Americans every year. In On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety, the author unabashedly brings readers into her most intimate moments of panic and fear — from the attacks she suffered as a child to the physical symptoms of the disorder that took her out of college her sophomore year to the lingering paranoia that has stayed with her most of her life — and lets them route around in the deepest parts of her disorder in an attempt to help them better understand how anxiety works, and more importantly, how it feels.
More than just memoir of mental illness, On Edgeis a well-researched deep-dive into not only Petersen's own intense experiences with the disorder, but the biology, symptoms, treatments, and history of anxiety. A masterful blend of the personal and the scientific, of anecdote and hard research, it chronicles Petersen's experiences various treatment attempts — including several psychiatrists, yoga teachers, and the great outdoors — while simultaneously documenting the shortcomings of past therapies and the promise of modern medicine in the mental health field.
For anyone who is coping with anxiety, On Edge will feel like a validation of every panic attack, every irrational phobia, and every uncomfortable feeling you've experienced. What's more, Petersen's book will serve as a great comfort to not only those trying to understand their own mental illness, but those trying to grasp the experiences of those around them who suffer.
Deft and affecting, heart-breaking and fascinating, On Edge completely captures what it feels like to live with anxiety, and these quotes show how.