A Brief History of Anxiety...Yours and Mine
By Patricia Pearson
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781596912984, 192pp.)
Publication Date: March 4, 2008
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A bold new view of anxiety from an unerringly smart and funny writer who has suffered from it her whole life.The millions of Americans who silently cope with anxiety at last have a witty, articulate champion in Patricia Pearson, who shows that the anxious are hardly “nervous nellies” with “weak characters” who just need medicine and a pat on the head. Instead, Pearson questions what it is about twenty-first century American culture that is making people anxious, and offers some surprising answers—as well as some inspiring solutions based on her own fierce battle to drive the beast away. Drawing on personal episodes of incapacitating dread as a vivid, often hilarious guide to her quest to understand this most ancient of human emotions, Pearson delves into the history and geography of anxiety. Why are North Americans so much more likely to suffer than Latin Americans? Why did Darwin treat hypochondria with sprays from a hose? Why have we forgotten the insights of some of our greatest philosophers, theologians, and psychologists in favor of prescribing addictive drugs? In this blend of fascinating reportage and poignant memoir, Pearson ends with her struggle to withdraw from antidepressants and to find more self-aware and philosophically grounded ways to strengthen the soul.
Patricia Pearson is a contributing editorial writer for USA Today. She is the author of the novels Playing House and Believe Me, the essay collecton Area Woman Blows Gasket, and the groundbreaking investigation of female aggression, When She Was Bad, for which she won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best True Crime in 1997. Her commentary has also appeared in the New York Times, the New York Observer, and the Guardian, among many other publications. She lives in Toronto with her husband, her two children, and her dread.