Sunday, 10 February 2019

Book Review: First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson

I feel like books covering mental health topics are quite personal - what works for you may not work for another. Luckily this one really worked for me! Wilson is funny and relatable, and she describes anxiety in a way that I truly understood. It’s unapologetically raw and personal, and I was sad to finish it.

“Purposeful, creative, bold, rich, deep things are always beautiful.”

It’s written in a very conversational style, the structure is a tad chaotic and repeatedly jumps around to different things but that does appeal to me - as my brain is very much like this! It means that I never got bored. She covers triggers and treatments, as well as her own personal anecdotes and little quotes and tidbits from fellow anxiety sufferers.

However, what I loved most about this book were the parts where Wilson tried to approach anxiety in a positive way, in other words - make the beast beautiful. And she’s right! For all the negativity that anxiety can bring to our lives, it also makes us the people we are. If you simply removed my anxiety from my personality, I would be a very different person. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t receive treatment or counselling if it is impacting your life in a hugely negative way, but there’s something to be said for how anxiety can be beneficial in some ways. For me, it means that I am extremely efficient and organised; time management is my jam, even if it also turns me into a little bit of a control freak.

Near the beginning of the book, Wilson states that this isn’t a self-help book, it’s more an account of her experiences with anxiety. But I would disagree. I found so many tips in here and just being able to relate and agree with her about so many things provided some help in itself.

It’s an awkward one to recommend because reviews seem to be quite mixed. Like a lot of things targeted towards mental health, I think it’s really down to personal preference. And hey, even if you hated it, the book itself is GORGEOUS. 4 stars!


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