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Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves

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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.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published April 26, 2016

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About the author

Kat Kinsman

2 books116 followers
Hi there! I'm Kat Kinsman, senior editor at Food & Wine, former editor in chief and editor at large of Tasting Table and a former writer and editor for CNN. After I published a personal essay on my struggles with anxiety, people came out of the woodwork to share their own experiences and it felt like the beginning of a conversation that needs to happen.


Stigma kills, and frank, open conversation is the best weapon against it. In my upcoming nonfiction book, "Hi, Anxiety," I share my stories of my lifelong battle with anxiety in the hopes that talking about it honestly and unapologetically will make other people feel less isolated and get the care they deserve.

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5 stars
270 (22%)
4 stars
419 (34%)
3 stars
397 (32%)
2 stars
108 (8%)
1 star
33 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 154 reviews
Profile Image for Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Author 200 books1,129 followers
October 26, 2016
Hi, Anxiety is a masterfully written memoir that takes readers deep inside the experiences Kinsman has had living with the title ailment. She does an excellent job at vividly showing both the long-term effects anxiety has had on her life, in ways big and small, as well as how she's coped with it. Because so much of mental illness is invisible, this is a vital book in helping those who have no idea what anxiety is like to understand its real, powerful consequences, and Kinsman never flinches from highlighting its devastating effects, from letting car towing bills mount because she's afraid to go pick it up to assorted other fears that leave her often unable to do basic tasks many people take for granted. She intersperses her story with things she's afraid of, devoting enough detail that it's impossible not to feel sympathy for how the anxiety has shaped all of her decisions. There were many places where I found myself nodding along in recognition, while others made me wonder if anyone I am close to has felt something similar and simply hadn't been able to tell anyone, as Kinsman was at one point in her life. Yet this is not a depressing, but rather a hopeful memoir, even if there is no miracle cure or a-ha moment at the end where the nerves magically disappear. Instead, Kinsman simply opens the door into her world, hoarding, dominatrix job, parental mental illness, dating drama and all, and lets readers who share any similar traits that they are not alone. The writing itself is rich with detail, so much so that it was at times challenging to reconcile the person described on the page with the person spinning such words, but that is yet another lesson of this book: that people are not always what they appear, and may be leading inner lives that look nothing like what others perceive them from the outside. I encourage anyone who cares about mental health, has dealt with their own or a loved one's mental health issues, or simply enjoys memoirs to read this.
Profile Image for Book Riot Community.
953 reviews127k followers
November 16, 2016
Kinsman discusses her lifelong battle with depression and anxiety and explains why she believes people shouldn’t be afraid to come forward and get the help they need. A very brave and wonderful memoir, infused with a lot of humor and heart. She does a wonderful job bringing humor to a hard situation.

Backlist bump: Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom by Sara Benincasa

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books: http://bookriot.com/listen/shows/allt...
Profile Image for Laurie Notaro.
Author 18 books2,068 followers
September 8, 2016
Kat Kinsman is my twin, so I naturally feel sorry for her. Funny, wry, sometimes brutal memoir about life riddled with anxiety. I related far too much than I thought I would!!
Profile Image for Adam.
174 reviews17 followers
January 27, 2022
This book. Wow.

I've joked about being agoraphobic in the past, and this book made me realize: Oh hey, that's not really a joke, and also, you are definitely agoraphobic.

This book made me realize that I was more anxious than I thought I was, and that I've been carrying it with me for my entire life. That this weight on my shoulders might not just be "the way it is" and instead it's "the way it is... with crippling, life-altering anxiety."

I related to Kat Kinsman's life and her experiences more than I have ever related to an author, or any book. There were entire passages where I couldn't believe that I was reading a published book, not my own diary. Hiding in your house drinking only Diet Coke and being afraid to let anyone near your hot mess of a living situation? Been there, still kind of doing that (less mess, less Diet Coke, but still unpacked). Being in a relationship with someone you kind of despise, but you feel unworthy and you stay with them for way too long? Oh yeah. I lived that life for over two years.

I even shared paragraphs with a friend of mine who also struggles, and her response?

"She knows. She knows."

This book is important. It's so, so important. This book is a rallying cry (sometimes whimper) for anyone who has ever struggled with anxiety and all of its painful symptoms. It's a reminder that you are not alone. You are not unloved. You are not a freak. We are all in this together.
Profile Image for Margarita Garova.
429 reviews164 followers
February 21, 2020
A very intense and brave account of what it feels like to have a crippling and debilitating case of anxiety. I salute the author for having the courage to relate her experience and the listening to her own voice made it all the more personal and at times painful to witness the suffering of another human being, albeit indirectly. What I didn't particularly enjoy about this book is the dense and chaotic storytelling which makes it difficult to follow (I, for one, prefer a more straightforward approach in terms of style and writing) and the overly acerbic tone at times. Overall, however, it makes a good read for those who want to know more about severe cases of anxiety from a first-person perspective or, if you are already aware of how it feels, to at least know that you are not alone out there.
Profile Image for Erika Provenzano.
39 reviews5 followers
February 7, 2017
I wasn't a fan of this book. I found myself really working hard to pay attention and to actually finish it. The only reason why I am giving it 2 stars is because she has a good sense of humour, and there were funny moments. But other than that, I really didn't feel this was a book about anxiety. It had a few moments where she would talk about anxiety in some detail but then would tell us more random stories that I really didn't feel were relevant. I just felt the book didn't really connect its thoughts together that well. A bit of a let down, wouldn't recommend it for people seeking advice, so to speak, about anxiety.
Profile Image for Shaun.
425 reviews
October 3, 2019
Most of the one-star reviews of this book center around some argument to the effect that the author's book strayed off-topic -- that it didn't talk enough about anxiety but, instead, told irrelevant stories about her life. The subtitle of this book: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves should make it clear to prospective readers that this book is autobiographical in nature and that it's about the author's life through the lens of how her anxiety has impacted that life. Readers who are looking for a book on the mechanics of how anxiety works or how it should be treated will be disappointed (and should have read the subtitle).

This book is interesting and mildly funny. The mom/vacuum cleaner/letter story made me LOL. Minor spoiler alert:
Profile Image for biblio_mom (Aiza).
587 reviews202 followers
May 30, 2020
I pick up a good book during a bad day to read. As the mental health awareness month almost ended, I randomly pick this one out to read. I finished it within a couple of days and oh boy, i am triggered! obviously i do. because i have anxiety too.

so kat kinsman, wrote about and talked about her lifelong battle with depression and anxiety. from childhood when it happened after seeing her mother battling it, growing up as a teenager, towards adulthood.

she took a few different of prescriptions after years of procrastinating or should i say holding back because she is too "nervous" of getting diagnosed.

besides her family history, she talks about an unhealthy friendship with a girl friend, toxic relationship with a married man that she doesn't even know married, her education background and her working life.

i love how she wrap it up at the end of the book. she put me at ease by making me feel like "i am not the only one".
Profile Image for Shana.
1,091 reviews16 followers
July 18, 2017
Jenny Lawson's 'Furiously Happy' may have ruined me for all future memoirs about mental health issues. I not only deeply identified with some aspect of Lawson's depiction of her mental health issues, but I was incredibly entertained by her gift of story telling.

I also identified with some aspects of Kinsman experiences with anxiety. Unfortunately, I was just not entertained. It some parts of this book my anxiety was even triggered. This one was just not for me.
Profile Image for Ruthi.
45 reviews
January 19, 2017
Who let someone write my biography without my permission????

JK but really tho as someone with intense anxiety issues I found so much of this book relatable. Some of Kat's deepest fear chapters gave me secondhand anxiety :&!! She comes off as very warm and genuine; it feels like reading about a friend. A+ book would recommend to people with anxiety and people in general.
Profile Image for Rosamund.
13 reviews9 followers
February 17, 2017
Some of the scenes from this were scarily familiar. Recommended for anyone with anxiety, or anyone trying to understand it.
Profile Image for Kylie.
238 reviews
February 9, 2017
This book touches on a lot of issues that I am quite familiar with. While my personal levels of anxiety differ from Kat's from situation (sometimes more, sometimes less), it's important to know that people have found ways to survive in this crazy, hectic, crowded world while dealing with the kind of thing I've been putting up with every day for as long as I can remember. The stories are both funny and sad, well presented, and heart-felt. This was an excellent read.
Profile Image for Liz Overberg.
361 reviews31 followers
October 30, 2016
Really well written. Sometimes relatable, and other times not. I found the chronology to be very confusing. Various stories, even within the same essay, jump around in time and space in ways that are difficult to follow.
Profile Image for Jacquie.
32 reviews1 follower
March 22, 2017
This is more a biography of a person that I had never even heard of rather than a book about anxiety. The title seems to indicate more of an anxiety focus. Kinsman does touch on anxiety, but not in a way that would provide answers or coping strategies. It has some parts an overly anxious person can relate to. But if you are looking for more of an anxiety slant.....keep looking. (less)
4 reviews
January 5, 2020
I rarely write reviews, but this book is well worth it. Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves was something I never imagined I'd find when I started reading it. I'm not even sure how I came across it, but I did, and I'm forever grateful. When you spend each waking moment dealing with anxiety, you feel incredibly isolated. Few people truly understand what you're thinking and experiencing, and after a while, it's easier to hide it. Imagine my surprise when I saw myself in this book. Every line, every chapter. We may have different lives and experiences, but those are my thoughts. That's my thought process. YES! Someone else gets it! I understand how she made the decisions she writes about, and if I can understand her thoughts, that means that she, and other people, can understand me as well. If you have severe anxiety that you grapple with every day, read this book. It doesn't give you tips or tricks or some magical way of thinking to cure yourself--that's impossible. But it brings comfort to know you're not alone. You're not crazy, and you're not the only person who thinks that way. If you don't have an anxiety disorder, but you care about someone who does, and you want to understand what they can't seem to express--just read this book.
Profile Image for Joanna.
1,740 reviews36 followers
May 1, 2020
Vor einigen Jahren hielt jemand in der Schule einen Vortrag über das Wacken Open-Air, das die Mitschülerin jedes Jahr besucht. Ich sass still da und wusste von da an, wie die Hölle aussieht. Ein paar Jahre danach hiess es ofifziell: Angststörung mit Soziophobie.

Dass mich deswegen Kat Kinsmans Buch auch persönlich betrifft, war mir von Beginn an klar. Und vieles, wovon sie berichtet, kenne ich nur zu gut aus meinem persönlichen Alltag. Wobei es Kat noch viel schlimmer getroffen hat. So schlimm, dass ich oft leer schlucken musste. Ich bin mehr als zuvor froh, dass meine Ängste sich auch ohne Medikamente in den Griff bekommen lassen und ich ein eigentlich ziemlich normales Leben führen kann.

Manche Dinge im Buch wurden mir etwas zu ausführlich behandelt (Liebesbeziehungen von A-Z), aber ich denke, vor allem Freunde und Familie von Betroffenen, die wissen möchten, wie sich das Leben mit Ängsten anfühlt, finden diese Stellen ebenfalls aufschlussreich.

Kat Kinsmans Buch ist enorm wichtig, da es das Schweigen bricht. Wer gibt schon gerne zu, unter Ängsten zu leiden? Vor allem, wenn es um solche geht, die anderen lächerlich vorkommen. Ich z.B. habe auch Panik vor Ziegen und Schwänen. Da wird man schnell mal belächelt, "Die sind doch niedlich". Nicht für jemanden mit einer Angststörung.

Wer jemand Betroffenen im engeren Bekanntenkreis hat, kann durch dieses Buch ein wenig besser verstehen lernen, dass manche Sachen für jemanden mit einer Angststörung nicht "einfach so" gehen. Betroffene selbst bietet Kinsman Trost - Ihr seid nicht alleine!

Gut, dass Kat Kinsman offen mit ihren Ängsten umgeht - das braucht es einfach.
Profile Image for Eric.
3,524 reviews21 followers
April 24, 2019
The work was well done, but the more I listened I was of a mind that an entire couple of generations have been medicated into their roles. Kinsman had many "first names" for the drugs of her various anxieties, and she seems not alone. I am quite sure that a significant number of sufferers are little more than the victims of pharmaceutical success in marketing. I am glad that Kinsman seems to have found her way through the maze, but wonder if some people with garden variety jitters about some big event upcoming won't see her experience as a rationalization for availing themselves of a regimen, or lifetime, of popping pills.
Profile Image for Sarah.
822 reviews12 followers
August 22, 2017
I really enjoyed Kat's book, so much so that I found myself folding down the corners of pages to share with my partner or with friends. The book is comprised of shorter chapters describing 10 of her fears (many of which I could relate to!) and other chapters that were based on her anxiety journey, both what she experienced as a child as well as how she coped with it as an adult. I find the format of many vignettes works well for these types of books. I also appreciated how strongly Kat's voice came through in what she wrote -- she really put herself out there, getting vulnerable about love, work, and family in a way that helped me further process my own anxiety. A strong recommendation for anyone who struggles with their mental health or someone who wants to support a friend or family member who struggles with mental health.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Davies.
132 reviews16 followers
November 22, 2017
2.5 stars. The author is pretty unlikable and seems rather judgemental of other people’s definitions of mental illness. Also, half of her chapters on her “irrational fears” really aren’t all that irrational - they seem more of her personal opinions and preferences towards certain things and, to me, it felt like the underlying theme was “I think I’m special because I have this ‘irrational’ fear.” I don’t recommend if you are looking for mental health memoirs.
Profile Image for Aimee.
61 reviews
May 24, 2017
This wasn't exactly what I thought it would be but it was still quite valuable. Be ready to be confronted with the true brokenness of anxiety and depression. It isn't pretty, but it is important. This big gave me the ability to truly empathize with those who struggle in this way and gave me greater awareness of why it should be discussed openly and not stigmatized.
Profile Image for Amy.
656 reviews
September 10, 2017
I bought this book after reading a small section that made me laugh. There were plenty of "uncomfortable, I understand this far too well" laughs throughout the book. Some parts were a little slow but I am assuming that is more because biographies aren't my favourite thing. Even the slow parts managed to pull back nicely into the point of the book. It may be a worthwhile book for someone without anxiety issues to read in order to have a better understanding of how an anxious person's thought process and behaviours.
Profile Image for Katie.
270 reviews6 followers
April 28, 2019
An honest look into life with anxiety, I appreciated this honesty and raw glimpse but I had difficulty following her writing and storytelling. I know this is a product of her anxious mind, but I grew restless of trying to keep up and piece together the tangents of each story. I love that this conversation is being held and that she shares so much of what she’s experienced.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
597 reviews45 followers
April 7, 2020
This read as more of a biography than a self help book. It was still interesting and VERY easy to relate to. The author lived an interesting life and doesn’t seem to hold back when discussing any aspect of it. I really enjoyed this book and hope to read more the author in the future.
Profile Image for Adibah Nur.
46 reviews13 followers
September 23, 2019
“Did your throat close up just a little bit reading this? Spine prickle and tighten, stomach twitch, or did you feel the sweat pooling at the small of your back because it sounded painfully familiar? You’re not alone. There are millions of us struggling to fight anxiety in all its forms, every waking (and sometimes sleeping) hour of every day, and we’re suffering silently because we don’t want to be judged or add to anyone else’s burden”

Ahhh... yes. Just what I feel writing this review. Thank you anxiety for waking me up at 3 am, and refused to let me fall back to sleep.

“300.02 is the number of my beast. It’s The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classification code for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and it’s clawed its way into the top slot as the most frequently diagnosed mental illness in the United States of America (USA).”

Oh wow okay I am actually sick.

“Generalized anxiety disorder entails ongoing, severe tension that interferes with daily functioning.”

“It is a wretched thing to be a slave to your body’s chemistry. It lies to you, stoking fear and guilt and horror where none is called for, turning shadows to predators and neutral interactions into mental films played on endless loop so you can dissect the moment that you screwed everything up forever”

Yes it does.

“Fear is good. Fear is logical. But the kind of worry we’re talking about is magnified to such a degree that it becomes an act of violence upon one’s own soul.”

“A panic attack may include: pounding heart or chest pain, sweating, trembling, shaking, shortness of breath, sensation of choking, nausea or abdominal pain, dizziness or light-headedness, feeling unreal or disconnected, fear of losing control, “going crazy” (not in the fun Prince way) or dying, numbness, chills, or hot flashes.”

I experience this and I hate it every time.

Sounds exhausting, right? You damn right it was.

I also found the words that I can never express in this book, but I'm just gonna let the quotes do the talking for me, because I can't quite articulate it as well as she did.

“These were for girls who didn’t pick their skin bloody, double over sour-stomached from fear of going to the mall with their friends, whose mothers didn’t scream in psychic pain then crash to sleep, who’d never stood at the edge of their world and considered doing it a favor by stepping over. They get love and you deserve scraps.”

Didn't relate to the mother part but other things, yes.

“You can’t argue with a love that long-lasting—it just is, but at the time I saw it as a failing in me. She had to be prettier, smarter, fundamentally better than me, and I clawed myself to pieces trying to figure out what I was lacking.”

Sounds like me every time I like a guy.

“It’s a form of communication I dread on a good day, but with my level of dependence on his contact increasing by the hour, it felt too risky, too intimate. E-mail, I could handle, take my time and craft the perfect response. But attaching an actual living person to the Sam I’d built in my head was a little too much.”

Hah! If this isn't me...

“He saw me for the flinching, tender soul I was behind my high, hard boots and bloodred lipstick and he wanted to let me know that he liked me despite it—and because of it. Hell, he just liked ME and he didn’t mind that I knew it. That sure felt like a first.”

“I felt gleeful and graceful and settled in my skin for the first time I could remember, tuned into the unfamiliar and wholly welcome bliss of someone whose soul buzzed on the same frequency as mine. He felt it, too—I knew it because he told me. He TOLD me, said the words out loud so I could hear them loud and clear, etch them onto my bones, and run my fingers over them. God, I felt loved and I gave as good as I got.”

"You see why I didn’t let you come over before? If you don’t want to live with me, say the word. Go ahead and do it now and I’ll take everything back from the apartment. Just tell me now, so we can get it over with.”He stepped forward and drew my tear-sogged, hysterical face to his shoulder, wrapping his arms around me to still me. “I love you. Thank you for trusting me. What can I carry home to our place?”

Good for you, Kat. You deserve a good man like him.

“Even if someone is easy to love, that doesn’t necessarily take the gravity and terror out of the situation”

“And we both braced for impact, all the time. I could see it in the little pauses before our carefully selected words, the flinch before each revelation of a flaw, the almost overeager need to please and serve—as if our presence wasn’t present enough. Is that okay with you? Do you need anything? Do you mind if I . . . ? What can I get for you?

"Is that enough? Am I enough? I’m terrified that you’ll stop loving me. Please don’t.”

“Douglas he could stop loving me now if he needed to. You’ve seen what’s in store. Get out while you can.”

“I would be fine with or without marriage and I would stay so very happily for as long as he’d have me. But the worry that he wouldn’t have me was starting to eat me alive.”

“There was a box. And a ring. And the demon hissing in my ear, “He feels sorry for you because you made such a fool of yourself, asking about marriage that night. He’s just letting you save face. Why would a good man saddle himself with the likes of you?”
“You don’t . . . have to . . .” I stuttered.”

And this is exactly me and why I never fully commit the idea of being in love because it's terrifying. Unless he could handle it.

Don't even get me started on meditations or medications.

“A friend was laughing at me tonight when I told him about my quandary. “You’re anxious about something that relieves anxiety? This is the Kat Kinsman I know and love!” he wrote to me, but that’s just it. If I’m not bracing for the next bad thing, how will I be ready when it comes?”

“Shhh!” I whispered to the buzzing horde. “Just let me have this moment. This is supposed to be my time to be free of all of this. To achieve calm. Wait . . . why aren’t I achieving calm? Calm down, what’s wrong with you? ACHIEVE DIVINE CALM, FOR KRISHNA’S SAKE!”

“And when she asked if I felt better, I lied, like I have to countless therapists, family members, lovers, friends, and so many well-meaning people who have offered me care and calm.

"... and benzos—like Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, and Ativan—they work well. So well. Too well for a lot of people (some of whom I love very much), who then struggle painfully to kick them. I fear becoming one of them.”

“I felt that way about Effexor for the first few years before it backfired on me, and it gave rise to a few brand-new phobias for me: a fear that the meds won’t work, that the side effects will be untenable, or that they’ll work too well and I won’t be able to quit.”

[Honestly at this point it just feels hopeless]

“Leave them dazzled and breathless, then go home, strip down, and calculate if you’ve earned your keep that day. If not, then no rest for you; work more until you drop from exhaustion. In the morning, your bank is back down to zero and you have to fill it up again.
Other people are allowed to rest, but not me, never me. Not the anxious one. They’re enough, just by the fact of their existence. They can take breaks, go on vacation, have a life, interest, hobbies, friends that don’t revolve around what they do for a living, but not when you’re Mumsie’s daughter, her father’s granddaughter. Let your limbs still for a second and you’ll sink, taking everything and everyone with you."

"My terror has a hair trigger and it can be set off by a long pause from my boss, a side glance from a colleague, a particularly lengthy silence after an e-mail—something that means absolutely nothing real, but which I take to spell my doom”

“I got my work done (though mostly in the middle of the night), met my deadlines, showed up in cute shoes with lipstick on to meet my friends, and no one had any idea what it cost me to get there.”

“For a lot of us who deal with anxiety and panic, it can be an act of courage and will to approach the front door and walk through it. The thought of leaving your little cocoon—be it whatever level of fancy or humble, neat as a pin or as messy as a hoarder’s hovel—can be paralyzing, and that’s completely mortifying.”

"Or just, like me, they may dread it for no rational reason, just a deep dread of crashing into the “maybe” that may dart from out of nowhere [A car, a truck... just anything massive]

“The stomach roiling, jaw clenching, cheek biting, finger picking, muscle tensing, and headaches take their toll, and my impulse had always been to do whatever I could to make it stop as swiftly as possible.” “Assume guilt, apologize, rectify, appease, even if it came at a cost. Mumsie’s crying? I’m so sorry, what did I do? Boyfriend seems distant? It can’t be because he’s stressed about work, it must be because I’ve been too needy—or possibly fundamentally unlovable. I’ll work on that. Someone else got the assignment I wanted? I suck, I suck, I suck. Must work through the night and not sleep. Ever.”

“If the appointment is on a weekend, that means that I have to be at a certain place at a certain time, and all the hours before it are effectively useless. I can’t start writing, working, relaxing, reading a book, cooking a meal, or doing much but muck around on social media until it’s time to leave my house.”

“Prepared? HA! That’s all I do is prepare. That’s what I’m built for. I spend all of my waking moments (and a good chunk of sleeping ones, too) putting hammer, nails, scratched skin, and blood into constructing the worst-case scenario and armoring for battle against it.”

“Not just the big stuff—love and work and real estate—but everything from the route between the subway door and me to scoring a decent seat at the movies to finding the party host to say good night to how late to work I’d be if I hit the snooze alarm another time.”

“Okay. Okay. Building is still standing. Good. That means I didn’t leave the stove on and burn the place down. Whew. Was worried. Victory number two—key works in the front door, so Ralph hasn’t evicted me for . . . I dunno what. Something. Something bad I did, or forgot to do. Next hurdle . . . oh God, oh God, what’s come in the mail. Maybe the eviction notice is there. Or a bill I forgot to pay. Or final warning on . . . something, the universe, yes, the universe telling me that I suck and everyone knows it. Or maybe that a relative has died. Maybe Mumsie died and everyone forgot my cell phone number and they don’t have my e-mail address and this is how they’re telling me. Oh, whew—just the gas bill. I’ll pay that. Okay, I hope Ralph won’t hear me lugging my suitcase up the stairs. He’ll want to ask me how I am and want to hug me and I just . . . I just can’t right now. Whew . . . made it. One more flight to go aaaand, thank goodness, my key still works. I still live here. OH MY GOD, the light isn’t turning on, did the electricity get “turned off?! Oh . . . just a burned-out bulb. I’ll ask Ralph to bring his ladder and fix it . . . but I have to clean up the hallway first so he doesn’t see how awful I’ve let the place get. I’ll do that tomorrow, I just need to sit down for a little while.”

Hey peeps, this is what it looks like. Especially the last one.

I hope this is more than adequate for a review. And if you're struggling with anxiety, may we one day be free.
Profile Image for Emily.
764 reviews41 followers
August 15, 2020
Partly self-help book but mostly memoir, I saw myself more than a few times in this author-narrated audiobook. I don't suffer quite as much as she does from anxiety, but I could relate to many experiences and feelings Kat Kinsman shared. I could have done with a bit less explicit discussion of her temporary stint as a dominatrix, but aside from that chapter, I very much enjoyed this book. Kat writes very well and is humorous to boot. Although this is mostly a very personal work, woven of stories of her own life, there is education to be gained as well.
Profile Image for Lynne Nunyabidness.
324 reviews2 followers
August 5, 2018
This book was a tough read from the first pages, where her description of what she experiences as she prepares to leave for a trip hit way the hell close to home. So close to home that I asked my husband to read it, to give him some insight into what's happening inside my brain and the rest of my body when I insist that we leave 40 minutes early to catch the bus to the airport that is a 10-minute drive from our apartment.

I had grabbed this from the library in large part because of her nomenclature in the title. "Nerves" was the term I heard growing up for what now would be referred to as depression or anxiety, the same way that "the sugar" was what people said instead of diabetes. So, I wasn't surprised to learn that Kinsman is from Kentucky/Ohio, just a state over but culturally rather similar to where I grew up. Kinsman is an experienced journalist and moves seamlessly between discussion of the humor and the not-so-great in her own life, in presenting how her mental illness has made the the person she is. Her Irrational Fears chapters made me laugh as well as nod my head in solidarity.

Her story isn't always easy to read, especially for those who recognize themselves (I had to periodically leave it for a few days and then come back to it.) But it's definitely worthwhile for the anxious and those who know them, which, considering current statistics, is all of us, whether we know it or not.
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719 reviews20 followers
November 18, 2016

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself

Kat Kinsman has been dealing with anxiety and depression in their myriad forms her whole life, from her mother's retreats to her silent bedroom, to her own fearful hidings under the bed covers. Now "out" about her anxiety, Kinsman is done hiding what she has always felt, and is sharing her story.

As someone who has been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, having people be so public and honest about their own struggles with anxiety means a lot to me. Kinsman does not shy away from the frequently brutal truths about her life, and does a service to others through her truth.

I liked the way the book is structured, larger episodes interspersed with chapters about more specific fears, such as driving.

Kinsman has a nice, flowing style of writing that lends itself well to her storytelling.

It's not that I didn't like this aspect, but this is not an easy book to read. Sometimes I could feel Kinsman's anxiety right there with her, and had to step away from the book for a bit.

I have been reading and re reading a lot of books about anxiety lately, and this is another important addition to the canon.
May 20, 2019
Kat has a tough life with anxiety. She is honest and raw. You want her to do so well. She is honest enough to really let you in and let you know that it just can't be fixed like waving a magic wand. Kat’s life is not perfect and all the fears and anxiety don't vanish. She just figures out the best thing to do is stop hiding it. It helps to just be able to say, I suffer from anxiety, that's why I don't do this or that. She does this, and is still able to have a good life. All my best, keep going, Kat
602 reviews4 followers
August 5, 2017
As someone who also deals with anxiety, I found myself nodding as I read parts of this book. Others didn't resonate quite so much, as (thankfully) my anxiety has not hit the levels Kinsman deals with (in part, because I am lucky enough not to have encountered the bullying and sociopathic behavior from boyfriends that she dealt with--those would be enough to give anyone issues), but were still interesting to read. I applaud the author's courage--she doesn't prettify the effects of anxiety, but throws it all out there for her readers. That takes guts.
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