On December 5, 1989, Andrea Petersen suffered a crippling panic attack. Over the next year, she would be in and out of doctor’s offices, attempting to figure out what was wrong. Finally, sitting in the campus health office of her college, she hears the words that will mark her life forever: anxiety disorder.
Of all the books in the world, I figured that I would relate to and appreciate this one.
Weirdly, I didn’t.
Petersen is a medical reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and this shows in her writing. Instead of straightforward memoir, she fills the chapters with an overload of background information about synapses and chemicals and medications, leading to a denseness that was difficult to get through. Having read many books on this topic, I know that there is such a thing as too much information, especially if one is reading these books in an attempt to understand and therefore battle anxiety in a more effective way.
That, perhaps, seems odd. How can there be too much information? In answer, one word: Overload. Knowledge may be power, but overload is crippling.
Petersen should have written two books: one memoir, one technical. Trying to have both forms in one volume results in a disjointed read.