I usually pick something fun and fictional for my Weekend Reads series, but this time I felt truly moved to share some non-fiction. You’ll also learn a little bit about me from the review; I seldom discuss the days when I suffered from agoraphobia. It was very much real and debilitating … and I now know that it is possible to get past it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don’t talk about it often, but there was a time in my life when I was rendered agoraphobic by panic attacks. I have a number of friends who deal with anxiety, whether it be high-functioning or socially crippling. This book would doubtless help them, as it did me.
One night about 20 years ago, in the midst of all of this, I fell asleep with the TV on. When I woke up, there was an infomercial on. Ordinarily I would have turned it off, but the woman speaking was literally telling my story … she was talking about how her panic had made her agoraphobic and what she did to overcome it. She had decided her life’s work was to help other people in the same situation.
That woman’s name is Lucinda Bassett. She was selling an expensive tape program, but she also talked about her books. I bought this book 20 years ago and recently unearthed it in the book purge at our home. I’m re-reading it and finding her gentle wisdom extremely helpful. I have put her techniques into place since the day I first read the book, but it never hurts to be reminded.
So, I re-read this title and am reviewing it for the first time. Bassett’s willingness to share her experiences, and the things that helped her cope with anxiety without medication (although she acknowledges that some people may need such further assistance) is a boon to all who cope with anxiety. She talks about the importance of acknowledging the feelings are real, positive self-talk, and controlled exposure in order to overcome panic attacks.
What I know from experience is that Bassett’s methods work. The panic attacks become minimal or non-existent, and on the occasions that they happen you have tools to manage them.