Hope with Anxiety by Lynn Crilly
Published by Hammersmith Health Books on 19th November 2020
Mental illness makes the headlines almost every day, often because of the stigma and misunderstanding that still surrounds it, and it is books like this that play a key role in breaking that taboo. The author and her family have their own experience of mental illness and that shines out of the pages of Hope with Anxiety.
Lynn's tone is not that of a doctor or a psychotherapist. While she is an experienced counsellor for young people with mental illness, her voice is clearly that of a mother, daughter, wife and friend. That is ultimately what will make her words resonate with many.
The book covers anxiety in all its forms, and helps readers understand the link that exists with other mental illnesses. The author considers how anxiety affects the young and old, those at school and those at work. Crucially, she helps partners and friends understand how to cope when someone they love is in the grip of anxiety and gives hope to all readers that there is always a light - however faint - at the end of the dark tunnel of mental illness.
Despite the huge breadth and depth of information covered, Hope with Anxiety is extremely easy to read. Broken up by the experiences of real people, every fact and statistic is brought to life. I think it is this in particular which sets it apart from many other books about anxiety.
The book was completed at the start of the pandemic and, while it references this unprecedented experience, it came out before the long-term mental health implications of the virus became fully appreciated. I imagine that some readers may want more information directly related to this precarious time in all our lives and may wish that it was covered in even more detail in this guide. That said, I think that everyone who has experienced anxiety, whether related to the pandemic or not, will find a huge amount of help and understanding in Hope with Anxiety and I would particularly recommend it to those with loved ones whose growing worries are having a negative impact on their lives.