Book Reviews

Anxiety Girl: A Descent Into Unholy Madness, A Journey Through Acceptance

        Imagine waking up to hysteria, doom, pessimism, and denial. Now, imagine living with those as if they were your only companions! This is the situation that Sadie Valentine, the main character in the book Anxiety Girl, finds herself in. After a series of disappointments in her professional life and a relationship that breaks into despair, Sadie suddenly begins experiencing strange symptoms of feelings she cannot understand that are aided with brutal and physical side effects. She is seeing herself swimming in deep water thoughts and choking on negative thinking patterns that are disseminating her bright and cheery personality.

        Changes blow in like a tornado and sweep Sadie into a desperate struggle of survival and chaos. At first, things are fantastic for her. She is selling art that she creates, she has a wonderful boyfriend, and lives in a lavish apartment and is replete with what she believes are close friends and admirers of hers. For a while, things are well and prosperous in Sadie’s life. However, like a golden calm before an ebony storm, the monsters of panic and pandemonium are hurled with biblical force right into the center of Sadie Valentine’s life. The author, Lacey London, erupts the lid off of anxiety and fear with remarkable and catastrophic, but cleverly arranged details and scenery. The art of her theme horrifically transcends from a Michelangelo canvas to a Bosch one!

        Sadie discovers that descent into anxiety is a slow process; she finds herself confused, misunderstood, nervous without reason, and physically sick with no cause to draw in. Luckily for her, one friend, Aldo, has remained curious to the sudden change of behavior she has been displaying; he commences on a plotted task to investigate the cause of her sudden ‘change’. Not satisfied with what he discloses, he advises Sadie to seek the help of a Doctor; she, of course, remonstrants over this horrid idea and still ‘believing’ nothing is seriously wrong with her. Her path of fear and panic widens over her reasoning and confidence; she is terrified to continue her life as she once knew it. Finally, after some desperate contemplation and increasingly horrifying episodes of panic and doom, Sadie seeks out help from a group of anxiety survivors. This becomes one of the positive turning points in the book.

        With much support and the commencement of new friendships being forged, Sadie slowly gains back her confidence and title of identity. However, this process, as she eventually settles on terms with, does not arrive without an expensive cost. Anxiety and depression have brought on alienation, uncertainty, gloom, madness, worthlessness, loss of self-control and dignity, and mood swings and preternatural thinking processes that can only be understood by someone who suffers from the same set of symptoms. Panic and doom are the light and darkness that encompass this once lavish, attractive and creative women; but despair is not the theme of this work of praise. Eventually, Sadie regains her confidence, resurrects her humanity, and gives birth to a fresh new spirit. This theatrical resurgence is populated with positivity and accentuated charm that even her friend, Aldo, winces in serrated disbelief.

        I was impressed with the level of chary toxicity that the author harnessed while demonstrating, through gloomy and tameless scenery, the maddening and chaotic world that anxiety and depression creates around a human. Sadie’s infallible denial of her illness maximizes her translucent and false narrative that all is well. A descent into reclaiming her life through the acceptance of her illness is the primary objective that the author is aggrandizing; it is the most sparkling nuance in Sadie’s recovery process.

        Through the fatigue and isolated hardship of overcoming her anxiety symptoms, Sadie is offered an unusual position within the support group that she has emotionally and personally attached herself with. After serious discussions with her counsellor, Sadie is offered the unique position, due to unforeseen circumstances, to continue the group meetings with herself as being the mediator. She accepts. This is a pivotal shift in the novel; it is gorgeously christened as an eternal tribute to the depths of anxiety and how a person can, with acceptance and time, be made whole and feel worthy again. Sadie Valentine is a character who exemplifies the cruel and articulate process of mental illness and behavior; she is also a champion of recovery and serenity. Her struggle is impressive and expansive. She finds herself at the bottom of madness and decay and, through the support of a close friend and several close companions, establishes for herself a dissimilar albeit gratifying and prismatic new life.

        Anxiety Girl is a powerful and brutal story of a young woman’s account of survival and recovery. It is also an intriguing and uplifting testament to the human condition and spirit. While the novel shifts from seriousness to gratitude and back to desperation, it never loses sight of the positivity that is required to defeat the unholy madness that anxiety and depression can manifest. Symbolism and imagery is also consulted to make the theme of the whole real and terrifying. While Sadie demonstrates herself as an attractive and highly social creature that lives in a beautiful home, has a terrific boyfriend, is prosperous in a career that she adores, she is also blind to the unforeseen tragedies that are about to take hold on her and shake her humanity to its foundation. Typically, this is how anxiety usually manifests itself, when one is put to a test that is incomprehensible and excessively hideous. Sadie becomes the heroine of her ordeal. Through acceptance and the support of a few friends, she exemplifies this courageous act by braving the deep waters of mental illness and demeanor. The treatment and possible cure that has darkened her light is ambiently flickering inside her passionate and solid cavern of self-reliance that she has accrued through valor and trial. Medications and therapy are of no use to her. This is the miraculous message of this young and vibrant creation. Through pain and anguish and uncertainty, no matter how deep one is under the waters of depression and madness, the light of hope and victory is always swimming right next to us. Sadie Valentine’s struggle is a lesson for all of us. The etymology of anxiety is a tower of darkness and dread. It binds, with its scaly cords, our innocence and well being. It is a shadow box of clever tricks and false narrative that roars like a fierce lion, but has the bite of an infant. Through practice of acceptance, Sadie fills her lungs with the breath of audacity, something her body and soul got separated from as the result of her thinking and feelings. As she climbs higher up her mountain of recovery, her life begins the pleasant process of rediscovery and self-awakening to all of the interests and episodes of a prosperous and focused life; this is another absence that one suffers from in the ocean of disquietude and abhorrence. For those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression, this book is a mammoth suggestion of advice and technique, if practiced with patience and tamed with time, can having an eternal impact on the outcome of any episode or darkly thoughts that enter the body and soul and become entangled by paper monsters of the human perception and auditory monologue. Recovery always lies on the side of the obvious.

“You who are suffering and read this, turn your attention to the WAY YOU THINK, not YOUR FEELINGS. Come to terms with your ATTITUDE, and your FEELINGS will look after themselves.” The late Dr. Claire Weekes (A pioneer in the treatment of anxiety and depression.)


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