Sunday, May 22, 2016

How to Live in Fear: Mastering the Art of Freaking Out, by Lance Hahn

Part memoir, and part inspirational instruction, How to Live in Fear by Lance Hahn is a refreshingly candid and transparent look at one pastor's struggle with panic and anxiety. With honesty, humility, and humor, Hahn takes the reader deep inside his personal story, sharing his individual journey with a panic disorder, as well as the steps he took (and continues to take) to manage it.

As someone who struggles with panic and anxiety, particularly as of late, this book was a balm to my exhausted and weary soul.  Mr Hahn's willingness to so openly share his experiences not only provided the much needed relief of knowing that someone else gets it, but also an overwhelming feeling of hope and inspiration along with the motivation I needed to more proactively seek help and healing myself.  Hahn never once condescends or speaks down to the reader, instead choosing to take an understanding approach;  one built on partnership and encouragement, from someone who is in the same boat.

Lance Hahn comes across as a gentle friend and cheerleader, giving the reader many good points to consider in their management of their own panic and anxiety.  When it comes to the topic of treatment, therapy, and medication, he employs a balanced approach.  True to his established style, he is very open about what avenues have worked for him, but offers no judgment on those who choose different paths.  Instead he encourages staying open-minded, and not being afraid to explore all modalities of treatment to find what works best for you. He also spends a great deal of time talking about additional steps to take when it comes to self-care, from adjusting your lifestyle, to learning tips to control your mind, to evaluating your spiritual journey (and what an important role that spirituality plays when it comes to your mental health).

This was a beautiful and hopeful book, and one that should be read by any believer who has or is experiencing any form or panic or anxiety.

I received this book for free from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

How To Weep In Public, By Jacqueline Novak

I have to start by saying that this book left me a little confused.  To be fair, Ms Novak was very clear from the start about what the book was, and what it was not:  Her little disclaimer in the beginning states:

What This Book Will Not Provide:

Useful exercises
Insights of lasting value
Relief from depression
Help of any kind

And indeed, it did not provide any of those things.

What the book was meant to be was a funny, irreverent look at depression from someone who was deep within its trenches.  It was meant to offer a sort of camaraderie from someone who understands.  And it was those things.... kind of... but for much of the book it left me feeling more depressed than when I started.  

As someone who's struggled with depression for most of my adult life, I'm definitely not above looking at it through a lighthearted lens.  Jenny Lawson's book, Furiously Happy, was one of the funniest things I've ever read.  This book though, didn't leave me with the same reaction, and I'm not sure why.  Jacqueline Novak is a great writer, and describes the depths and complexities and layers of depression well.  It's entirely possible that it just took me awhile to really "get" her sense of humor, and that by the time I had, the book was nearly over. Perhaps if your sense of humor is different than mine, you might love this book.  

One word of caution is that it's one to skip if you are offended/bothered by profanity and sexual references, both of which Novak uses liberally.  Otherwise, check it out to see if it's your style, but definitely heed the author's own disclaimer at the beginning.  

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*