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Anxiety for Beginners: A Personal Investigation

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  372 ratings  ·  51 reviews
When Eleanor Morgan published a first-person account of her struggles with anxiety as part of the online series The VICE Guide to Mental Health, the response was staggering: it was read by five million people in 15 countries within four days. The article prompted tens of thousands of reader responses, and was endorsed by numerous high-profile celebrities, including Caitlin ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published May 31st 2016)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Lucy Banks
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I recieved a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Vitally frank exploration of a condition that is needlessly taboo in our society.

I suffer pretty badly from anxiety. There, I said it. Public confession finally managed, after 20 years or so. As such, it was hardly surprising that I'd go for a book with this sort of title, and I was keen to see what the author had to say on the matter.

I was expecting a fair amount of medical-speak and gobbledygook. What I got instead
...more
Adam Waldron
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a fellow sufferer of Depression and at times, extreme Anxiety, I was keen to read this book and it certainly did not disappoint.

But before I get into the book itself , lets deal with the cover. Brilliant. Deliberately. When reading, you can’t help but notice the bright cover bleeding in around the edges. And THAT captures anxiety and depression perfectly. Even on your best day, when you’re on your best game and life is good, you are still aware of those anxious feelings, that cloud creeping i
...more
Anna
I came across 'Anxiety for Beginners' on a library new acquisitions rack. It is one of those books I want to recommend to everyone, because it describes anxiety as I’ve experienced it better than anything else I’ve read, and also want to keep to myself, because discussing it with other people would get Too Real. Like Scott Stossel’s My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind, it deftly balances personal mental health memoir with socio-medical history. When I reviewed ...more
Emma
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read this year...*full review coming soon*
Ellis Moore
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As I am sure many readers have mentioned in their reviews, I found this book so relative to my own experiences of acute and anxiety and PTSD. I know there are a lot of books out there that have explored this, so so many; but never on such a personal level. The simplistic accounts of the dread of walking to the shop just to buy some frozen peas, or the hauntingly insightful feeling of not being able to move or eat, really made me think, 'oh my goodness, she actually gets "it"'. What pleased me th ...more
Falynn - the TyGrammarSaurus Rex
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone suffering from anxiety or with a loved one who does.

It really helped me crystallise my thoughts around how anxiety made me feel and reading about someone else going through similar things to me, made me feel really seen.

It's a mixture of memoir, science and self-help, that sounds like it shouldn't work, yet someone how does, and still keeps a sense of optimism for our future as anxious individuals and for the treatment of anxiety in the
...more
Natasha
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
Some good advice but on the whole the book just did not work for me.
Sharon
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this review copy.

As someone who has an anxiety disorder, this book leapt out to me. I’m interested in anything that will keep my anxiety under wraps, or at least just bubbling on the surface. I can’t say that I always follow what these books tell me to do, but they are interesting to read nonetheless.

The author has been dealing with anxiety since she was a teenager. The book covers everything from how anxiety comes about, treatments, living with anx
...more
Laura
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Anxiety For Beginners arrived I had a small chuckle to myself…someone at Emma Draude PR knows me well! I’d actually never heard of this book or knew anything about it until it turned up, unsolicited, last week. Being an anxiety sufferer I was eager to read it straight away; like anyone with anxiety I crave the validity and understanding that a book like this provides. It makes me feel less alone, more normal and, hopefully, gives me a deeper insight into anxiety and how it works.
Anxiety Fo
...more
Laura
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Eleanor Morgan has shared a lot of information in this book about her personal experiences with anxiety. These personal accounts are supplemented by plenty of information from professionals, and anecdotes from others, e.g. Adele suffering from anxiety to the extent of needing to vomit before going on stage. These anecdotes are likely to help normalise the experiences of anxiety for a lot of people. It is especially helpful that Eleanor has shared so much of her personal experiences, as this real ...more
Lizzie Cooper
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book. If you have or know anyone who struggles with anxiety, this honest and wonderfully expressed experience is incredible, and the exploration of what (mental) health and it’s associated stigma means today was so refreshing. This is my first delve into any real science behind anxiety and it has wet my whistle for more (bibliography included!).
Personal highlight was the chapter entirely about dogs.
Natalie
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think is a very necessary book. I admire the fact that such a young woman has bared all and investigated things that are so common yet hardly spoken of in such 'simple detail'.

I wish this book had been around when I was in my early 20's and first suffered anxiety and its sister depression; I am still grateful it exists.
Brooke
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A perfect blend of memoir and investigative nonfiction. Ms Morgan writes clearly and honestly, and at certain points it feels like she's just a good friend telling you about something she's recently been really interested in. She's clearly done her homework too, the number of interviews she conducted and case studies she pored over is astounding.
Siobhan
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book I found that though her symptoms were/are more extreme than mine I felt I could relate. I appreciated the candidness of what it has been like for her. And mentioning that it happened to happen after a major physical health issue and getting back into the regular flow of things I feel is important for her to mention because I think a lot of people don't understand how anxiety and or panic symptoms can be in reaction to physical trauma and that the symptoms can be very physical a ...more
Frankie
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
(Recently started posting reviews back on my wordpress, and will post them here too! https://frankiewildish.wordpress.com/)

“In My Age of Anxiety, Stossel cites a quote by the author Angela Carter: ‘Anxiety is the beginning of conscience.’ I’ve thought about it a lot and I think she might be right.”

I chose this header quote from Eleanor Morgan’s ‘personal investigation’ into anxiety firstly because I love Angela Carter and eat up everything she says, and because I, like Morgan, think she is right
...more
Josefine
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have anxiety. And I think this is important to state when writing this review, for depending on whether you yourself have anxiety, know someone who has it or just want to know more about it, you will understand this book differently.
I suffer from GAD and (as is described in this book) "pure O" OCD. This means I worry a lot about everyday things and have intrusive thoughts though without the compulsive behavior problems. It started roughly around two years ago, 1/3 of the way through High Schoo
...more
Melhara
Feb 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women with anxiety
I think this book should be renamed to “Anxiety for Women” (there was really only one chapter that touched upon men and their mental health issues).

I originally got this book because I suspected that my friend had anxiety and wanted to read more on the topic so that I can help him and be a more supportive friend. This was not the right book for that (there was only one super short chapter at the end of the book on how to behave around people with anxiety).

Pros:
Anxiety for Beginners offered a f
...more
Ellie
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
No one can deny the amount of hard research that clearly went into this book and I really appreciate all of the research that Morgan did to write it.
The book is split into four parts. I knew when I picked it up that it was a personal investigation but for me personally I found the first part of the book very hard to read. This is the part where Morgan talks about her own experience of anxiety and for me it was too much only an enabler. Every time I came across something she got anxious about or
...more
Michael Clark
I came across Eleanor Morgan’s Anxiety for Beginners by chance and purchased a copy with the hope that it could give me more insight into what those who are struggling with anxiety are going through. In this respect this book definitely delivers. The personal, unpretentious and deeply honest account of Morgan’s own struggle was hard to read but incredibly eye-opening. The book highlights the constant ruminating and physicality of anxiety - something that affected me deeply given those close to m ...more
Tara
A great balance of anecdotes about living with anxiety and useful facts that explain the how's, why's, what's of it. I appreciated her willingness to divulge some of the more embarrassing aspects of how it affects her, and the humour she uses to tell us. Really puts my recent meltdown to Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' on the radio into perspective. I also appreciated her reassurance through personal experience and science that medication shouldn't be so feared or stigmatized. It was also nic ...more
Dawn
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't offer any firm answers about anxiety (for either its causes or its treatments), but it does provide insight into what it's like to live with anxiety. As I do have anxiety, I found this very refreshing. Sometimes, you just want to read something by someone who understands what it's like to have consistently fretful thoughts.

As a result, knowing that Morgan has been there and bought the proverbial T-shirt, I'm much more willing to try some of things she suggests (and it is only
...more
OldBird
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A frank and sometimes quite brutally honest account of anxiety told from both a personal perspective and reporting around the issues of living with and treating mental health problems. Morgan writes in a very open, accessible way. There is some medical speak, but none of it overwhelming. The only complexities are the systems themselves regarding the diagnosis criteria and treatments (or lack of) in the current climate. There are stories to break your heart mixed with statistics to make your bloo ...more
Andi Wilk
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was liberating to hear a first hand account of the struggle with anxiety from an educated, functioning, articulate writer. She bravely spoke out about many personal issues. I asked my husband to listen to this audiobook. After the death of my mum back in December, my anxiety spiralled. I felt this book spoke on a personal level about the daily struggle, or non struggle (depending on the day) people with anxiety have. And the massive ‘overthinking’ battle they contend with. It’s also helped me ...more
Lucia
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I usually don’t write book reviews, but I think that this one really deserves it. As a person that lives with anxiety and sometimes copes with the side effects that come from a condition like this, this book has given me a new perspective, a kind and understanding one, mostly with myself. And most importantly, the feeling that if you live with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, you aren’t alone.
I would recommend everybody to read this, because it is an enriching and illustrative
...more
David Swallow
Not sure if it was a good or a bad idea to read a book all about anxiety during a hugely anxiety-inducing global pandemic. Like everyone else, I've felt very distracted and struggled to concentrate. The book is a very frank, honest, personal and funny account of the author's near-lifetime experience of anxiety. And when Morgan is describing her experience first-hand, the book is electric, really powerful stuff. But it's when Morgan cites third-party studies and snippets of other people's books o ...more
Natalie S
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Anxiety for beginners is perhaps not the best title for this book.
It was very much a memoir of her time dealing with anxiety and all the research she found to help ease it (anxiety is often a fear of the unknown). Some information is useful and sparks positive ideas. It's nice to hear about someone who has had a similarly hard time (not that I would wish it on anyone). Most of the research was done in the UK, however she often compared/added info about Canada or Canada's equivalent which was hel
...more
K Sung
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: help-thyself
I think this is objectively a 4-star book for what it is, which is in the title itself. It is indeed a [witty, real, beautifully-written, informative] book for *beginners*. It’s one third a terrifying and sad personal account of the author’s struggles with anxiety, and the other two thirds is discussing the anxiety’s cultural and psych/neuro/science positions. For one in the throes of anxiety, they already know this stuff. Skip reading this if you’re intermediate or advanced.
Victor
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great window into the live of someone suffering from GAD. I learnt so much from her. The fear of having a panic attack, how to help someone having anxiety attack etc. Just be there for the person. See how you can help him/her. Aid the person. The worst thing you can say is "there's nothing to be anxious about". They know.
Lisa Hynes
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m a fiction lover so wouldn’t normally read this kind of book. I don’t know if it counts as a self help book but as someone with several close relatives who struggle with anxiety, I found this book incredibly helpful.

A refreshingly honest account of life spent struggling through mental health issues plus a comprehensive summary of anxiety, depressive disorders and OCD.
Highly recommended.
Kara Hill
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anxiety can shred confidence and spark but this has helped (with lots of nerdy science bits) with learning to accept it’s a part of who we are.

Let the wind blow through your heart
For wild is the wind

-Nina Simone / David Bowie
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Eleanor Morgan has written for a variety of publications including The Guardian, Times, Independent, GQ, Harper's Bazaar, The Believer and others. She also worked as a senior editor at Vice UK. Eleanor is the author of the book Anxiety for Beginners: A Personal Investigation. She is currently training to be a psychologist. ...more

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