Health

Is it possible to overcome anxiety? Maggie says “YES!”

A review of Maggie Oakes' debut book on conquering anxiety disorders.

YOUR JOURNEY TO CALM: A GUIDE TO LEAVING ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS BEHIND
By Maggie Oakes
69 pp. *FREE between 27th-29th May* ($8.04)

Maggie and I crossed paths on Instagram. If any of you have been following my account recently (@helenariousig), you’ll know that I have been working very hard to talk about issues that are very important to me i.e. mental health. Maggie and I “met” when she commented on one of my self-love posts about acne. She had experienced the same self-confidence issues before and in talking to her, I instantly felt that I had found a soul similar to my own – eager to shatter the stigma around mental health and help people on their journeys of self-discovery. That’s why when Maggie informed me that she was publishing a book on how to overcome anxiety, it’s safe to say that I couldn’t wait to read it!

The book compromises of an introduction, 8 chapters and a section about the author at the end. The chapters are set out logically with a scientific look at the causes and symptoms of anxiety disorders first, followed by the various techniques one should use to try to alleviate anxiety and panic attacks.

The first real positive of this book is how authentic the material is. Not only is Maggie a doctor herself, doing her residency in psychiatry, but she has also lived through an anxiety disorder herself, meaning she can vouch for all the techniques (and indeed, medication) that she prescribes. Her use of first and second person is comforting in that you feel like she is directly talking to you just like a friend would. Better still, a short video is included with the book where Maggie actually does talk to you, so you get advice from her first-hand! This, combined with the fact that she asks people to email her if they want to discuss things further, truly makes you feel like she cares and thus makes the advice offered seem more genuine and reliable.

Secondly, the book is concise and easy to follow. It took me about an hour to read it cover to cover and I love how every technique is clearly laid out and separated. Even the science behind symptoms is described in such a way that you don’t need a scientific background to understand them (although if you’re looking for references from medical journals, you’ll have to look elsewhere).  It might have been useful perhaps to include page numbers so that one could get to their favourite sections more quickly, but the book’s brevity (69 pages in total) means it’s quite easy to navigate anyway. It’s clear that Maggie’s aim is to get you practising her techniques as quickly as possible, rather than make you read them for aeons, which I really appreciate.

Finally, the techniques themselves are the real deal. As someone who has been privileged enough to attend CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) lectures and one-to-one therapy, I know that the advice she offers works! Some techniques are quick fixes whilst others take time to implement, but Maggie takes care to tell you when exactly each one should be used and not to worry if some of them don’t work for you. She also reiterates that if you need extra help in terms of therapy or medication, that’s okay too. Ultimately, it’s very clear that she wrote this book to help people from all walks of life better their mental health, no matter the cost. After all, why else would the book be FREE to download between Sunday 27th – Tuesday 29th May? She really does want to stop the chaos that anxiety can needlessly cause in people’s lives and I’m all for that!

So do take time to read her book and let me know your thoughts. I couldn’t recommend it enough!


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