My Age of Anxiety – Scott Stossel

I was up at 4:30am this morning for Lauds, breakfast and reading. After the first two of these three, I did my twenty minutes with Old Thunder, My Age of Anxiety, and Into the Land of Bones.

4:30am, by the way; it explains why at 8:43pm I am now drinking tea to keep myself awake long enough to write this!

As Land of Bones concerns Alexander the Great I will be talking about it over on my Alexander blog and, as it happens, have already written my first post. You can find it here.

Old Thunder was enlivened by a surprise ‘appearance’ by Gertrude Bell but in this post I’d like to tell you about My Age of Anxiety: I finished it! Hurrah!

If you would like to know about anxiety, what it is, how it can be treated, what are its symptoms and roots, what is its history and much else besides then this book is absolutely essential. It is a comprehensive and really great work.

It’s strength is also its poignancy for Scott Stossel does not speak as a disinterested author, or doctor, but as someone who has suffered from anxiety his whole life.

He has probably taken more drugs than Aerosmith and Guns N Roses combined, drunk a fair amount of their joint alcohol intake as well, and been in therapy for longer than a lifer has been in jail.

And he doesn’t just speak as someone who suffers from anxiety but places his story dead centre of the book. Read this book and you will come away not just with an increased understanding of anxiety and its background but of the human pain it causes. Along the way you may share Stossel’s frustration with his condition but by the end your love for him in his suffering and bravery will overcome all that.

My Age of Anxiety is a difficult book but never an impossible one. It is a mighty work and I had better stop there in case I start writing in verse. 9/10. Yes, nine. I would give it a 10 but no book is perfect and I’ve probably embarrassed Stossel enough with my praise.

Credit Where It’s Due
My Age of Anxiety book cover: Wellcome BookPrize

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