Have You Heard About... My Age of Anxiety

… the brave and honest memoir that takes an unflinching look at anxiety disorders? In My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel, the author constructs a story that is part memoir/part scientific and philosophical look at the history of anxiety and how it has become a commonly diagnosed psychiatric condition in the last 30+ years. For readers with a casual interest in the history of psychology, this could provide enough information to entice them into reading. The research is very thorough, and the writing is conversational and witty while maintaining a level of academic authority.

But for readers (like myself and several of my family members) who have been diagnosed with clinical anxiety, or who know someone who suffers from anxiety, this book isn’t just an interesting exploration into its history. The author uses his research as a way to make sense of his panic disorder, so he uses a lot of his own personal experiences as examples to back up the history.

This was a powerful reading experience. Scott Stossel provided the words to help me explain aspects of my own anxiety, and as most anyone with a psychological disorder can attest to, there’s a large stigma still attached to mental disorders, so any sort of explanation can be a powerful tool.

I can take a pretty good guess as to how difficult this book was to write, and I have tremendous respect for anyone who can turn their anxiety into something so vulnerable and graceful and brave. Its biggest audience will be people who have first-hand experience with anxiety disorders, but judging by the reaction the book has received, that should be a large group of people indeed.


Reviewed by Katie (staff)