Exploring Anxiety Through Memoirs

Book List – There is a variety of self-help books concerning mental health. Memoirs are my favorite genre, featuring real stories from real people who share their raw experiences with mental illness. The following books explore anxiety through memoirs.

Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went From Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things by Courtenay Hameister

In her memoir of goals, the author challenges herself to attack her fears face to face – an admirable task to take on, in a year. I was particularly interested in the chapter on using a Sensory Deprivation “Float” Tank – an adventurous activity, especially for the claustrophobic.  Hameister’s writing can come across as crude, due to her bluntness of storytelling, but I enjoyed how she narrated her inner monologue with each new experience. The book concentrates on fear, which I feel is strongly related to anxiety and the fear that prevents us from venturing into new and terrifying futures and endeavors.

Little Panic : Dispatches From an Anxious Life by Amanda Stern

The author’s memoir details her childhood growing up with anxiety and worry. I enjoyed reading of Amanda’s experiences, but also found them stress-inducing. Plagued by daily panic that her mother will suddenly die, or forget her own daughter exists, Stern lives in constant fear that everyone she loves might suddenly leave her. As a child of divorce, she is also caught between two conflicting worlds: that of the bohemian, free-spirited life with her mother and the strict, cold sterile environment with her father. I appreciate her honest and detailed narration, growing up a child fearing that her whole world could fall apart in an instant.

Other related books include: On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Petersen, and Hi Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat Kinsman.

 

 

Seeking Calmness Through Art – Books to Clear Your Mind and Explore Your Creativity

Book – Coloring books are not just for kids.  There are a ton of drawing and art books out there for adults meant to help relax and embrace your creativity.  The following are just a few that our library offers, from drawing to painting, to Zentangle and more.

Drawing Calm: Refresh, Relax Refocus with 20 Drawing, Painting, and Collage Workshops inspired by Klimt, Klee, Monet, and More first and foremost has an impressively long title.  Written by Susan Evenson, this book is perfect for getting your artistic juices flowing.  The projects are relatively simple and each is inspired by a specific work of art.  My favorite craft from the collection is very simple.  You tear apart pieces of tissue paper, lay them on a sheet of watercolor paper and then brush over soaking them with a paintbrush and water.  Leaving it to dry, you then peel off the tissue paper and are left with a beautiful stain from the shapes that can be used to write on, color a pattern in sharpie and anything else you can dream up.

Paint Yourself Calm: Colourful, Creative Mindfulness Through Watercolour  by Jean Haines is strictly dedicated to watercolor techniques.  I love using watercolor paints because they’re so multi-functional.  You can create something abstract or detailed, blending colors, and changing the intensity with just a drop of water.  Simply browsing through the images in the book can have a calming effect!

Florabunda Style : Super Simple Art Doodles to Color, Craft and Draw by Suzanne McNeill is a great book if you love drawing floral designs.  The designs in this art book are simple, beautiful, and easy to follow, and McNeill also introduces fun crafts projects.  Check out McNeill’s book on Zentangle art The Beauty of Zentangle : Inspirational Examples From 137 Tangle Artists Worldwide, and explore the maze-like designs.  Happy doodling!