Biographies, Discussion, Loved-it, NetGalley, Non-fiction, Women's

I’ve Been Thinking (And Reading) About Anxiety And Worrying Featuring The Worrier's Guide to the End of the World by Torre DeRoche

Is there a season for worrying, do you think?

A GIF of the full moon with a cloud passing over it

Is there a season for worrying, when we’re more anxious than at other times? Perhaps for most people, it’s the full moon, or maybe spring, when the seasons are changing. For me though? Life is the season for worrying. Every day.

Anxiety is probably an issue a lot of you have. We readers are often more prone to thinking about things deeply, we get swept into the inner conversation – perhaps that’s why we love reading so much. But that also makes us worry. Or maybe it’s not so for you – but I know it is for me.

I’ve always been prone to worrying, ever since I was small. The “what ifs” really do get tiring, but unfortunately, there isn’t always something you can do about it. Yeah, you can try being more positive. But positivity in the face of anxiety is like trying to defeat a gale wind by blowing at it with a hair dryer.

A GIF of a tiny dog, making swimming motions, while he’s being held out a moving car window in the wind (it sounds worse than it looks! He’s fine!)

Perhaps books can’t be manuals to help you out in these situations either. But it’s good to read about these things. It’s not that you’re happy that someone else is experiencing negative emotions – no, it’s more that you understand that you’re not alone with this in the world. Because it’s not enough to be told once – people who are prone to shut in and suffer anxiety always forget that they’re not alone. It’s a constant battle of reminding yourself you’re not the only steadily sad person in the world.

Positivity in the face of anxiety is like trying to defeat a gale wind by blowing at it with a hair dryer. But sometimes hearing about other people's experience helps. Click To Tweet

My current read is called The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World, and I’m wishing I had started reading it many months ago. I’m not even entirely sure how long I’ve had it, but it’s one of those ‘guilt’ titles – a review copy I got a while ago and couldn’t review at the correct time. After you fail to, you tend to just leave them hanging indefinitely. I wish I hadn’t. Because I can’t pry myself away from The Worrier’s Guide.

A GIF of a toddler, intensely reading a picture book

It’s a nonfiction book about a woman and her worrying ways, and how she went on an adventure to deal with it. Actually, several adventures. She’s been an anxious person all her life, and she meets someone who radiates belief in the world as if straight from the pages of The Alchemist. The funny thing is that I’m somewhere in the middle of these two women. I am as anxious and prone to work as Torre, the author of the book, but also prone to believing in the magic of the universe, like Torre’s travel companion, Masha. (Well, okay, maybe not The Alchemist levels though. The Alchemist has way too much sugar between the pages.)

But the book is also about the fact that reality is not just black and white – as much as we always want to make it that way. Maybe unbeknownst to ourselves? It’s rooted in our culture, and if a thing is good, it can’t be bad. If a thing is bad, it can’t be good. It’s got to be one of those. But life is so much more! It’s the same with the women’s story of the pilgrimage – perhaps the first time it’s one of them who is strong. The other time it’s the other one. The fact that you radiate joy doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It also doesn’t mean that you’re going to radiate joy steadily for the rest of your life. When it comes to my own thoughts and misconceptions, I know well enough that I tend to think like this as well – that some people just ‘have it together’ and some don’t (mostly me…) But is that really true? Or is it just a lie I keep telling myself?

The Worrier's Guide to the End of the World: Love, Loss, and Other Catastrophes—through India, Italy, and Beyond
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Another thing I am enjoying a lot about Torre’s pilgrimage with Masha is her incredible sense of humor and the ability to laugh at her own self. Sometimes I wish I could learn that, but then again – maybe it’s still in the future for me. The ability to laugh at one’s own self and one’s deficiencies of character is perhaps one of the things that can save an anxiety sufferer from a complete wind down into the darker regions of hell.

The Worrier’s Guide to The End of the World both talks about and laughs at synchronicities as well. It’s almost as if the author hasn’t quite made up her mind about them either. That’s kind of the way with me. Yet I have to mention one that happened while I was reading this book, because even if it’s not on par with the ones in the story, it’s still pretty cool. Do you know that talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the danger of telling only one story about people? I had seen that talk years ago. Seen it, loved it and remembered it. Curiously, I had not seen it anywhere for years. But then, I was just scrolling over Facebook and it was there the other day. I remembered it because it had been a while since I’d seen it – at least five years, and I thought that was curious. And then, just a few hours later, as I was reading The Worrier’s Guide, there it was – the author mentioned the very same talk. I thought this was the perfect illustration for how the book talks about synchronicity.

Anyway, in the book, Torre’s friend Masha kept saying that everything happens just as it was meant to be. Maybe it’s no mistake that I picked up this book so much later than I was ‘supposed to’. Maybe it was no coincidence at all. This book was very needed and much appreciated.

Not every book based on another person’s experience is a manual on what to do with your life. This one isn’t either. But sometimes, you just have to hear someone else’s story. Sometimes, that’s enough to help. If only for this time, until you forget it again – forget that you’re not really alone in your little bubble. And a lot of the times, that really is the best that can be done.

I thank the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange to my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book.

Do you suffer from anxiety? Do you sometimes also feel like it’s just you who suffers from it, and everyone else is fine? Does reading about someone else’s experiences help you feel better and less alone?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Taya
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I’ve dealt with a lot of mental health challenges. and I’ve come to understand that these things can be a natural expression of trauma or poignant emotions. Sometimes they really need a specific process to heal. Recently, I’ve found the Curable app to be really cathartic.

Lyse
Guest
Really interesting thoughts. How would you describe the difference between being an anxious (or prone to worry) person and having an anxiety disorder (“suffering from anxiety”)? I’ve never considered myself a particularly anxious or worried person, but it turns out that I *do* have an anxiety disorder. I still don’t think of myself as an anxious person, just a person with an anxiety disorder. Maybe it’s all semantics. But your post here got me thinking about it. I guess a lot of the people I know with anxiety disorders don’t remind me of the hand-wringing “anxious” types I see in… Read more »
Lydia Tewkesbury
Guest

This sounds amazing. I am also the anxious type. Especially lately if I’m being honest. I also regularly convince myself that I am totally alone and the only person who feels like this and WHY did everybody else suddenly figure everything out somewhere in their twenties while I still feel like a flailing teenager… etc. I think I need to read this book in a big way. I adore memoir – for finding myself in it and for finding something else altogether. Officially on my list <3

Sophie
Guest

Worrier to worrier: this seems really interesting! And yes hearing or reading about others having the same feelings is really helping!

Laura Thomas
Guest

Excellent discussion, Evelina. I’ve always been told I think too much. Sometimes I can’t shut my brain off to go to sleep. My brother says I worry too much. His favorite saying, “It’ll be alright.” I’ve come to accept I’m just one of those people. Doesn’t make it an easier but it’s one less thing to stress about:)

ShootingStarsMag
Guest

I’m pretty sure I have this book on my to-read list on Goodreads. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I suffer from anxiety, and I do like reading about other people’s experiences, even if they don’t match up to mine. It just makes you realize you’re not alone, like you said, and it’s nice when something does really resonate.

-Lauren

Tanaz
Guest

This is such an important post! I deal with anxiety a lot, especially from October every year–I go into this very dark place. I will definitely pick this one up, because you are right about books being helpful and making one feel less alone

Kaleena @ Reader Voracious
Guest

What a lovely post, Evelina, and this book sounds lovely. I suffer from anxiety all the time: I am a very Type A person as well, so my perfectionistic tendencies really exacerbates the near constant worrying about the what ifs or not being good enough. The past year I have been working on finding ways to inject some calm into my day, which definitely helps, and I got on a good medication as well. I really do enjoy reading anxiety rep, it makes me feel less crazy and in my own head.

Daniela Ark
Guest

I know what you mean! I’m an over thinker too that is often anxious. It doe shelp to know about others’ experiences. Great post!
And thank you for letting me know about the freebie at Tor.com! xoxo

Norrie
Guest

Oh i need to check this book out! <3

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookworms
Guest

I’m lucky enough not to suffer from anxiety, it must be very hard at times! I do enjoy learning more about many different subjects, though. And your non-fiction books sounds really good, Avalinah!
I actually loved The Alchemist – it’s in my top five of favorite books ever 😀 Even with the sugar 😉 I just found it to be so very true – sometimes, we go to extreme lengths to find what we think we want and need, only to find that it was close to home.

Gayathri
Guest
I love this post. I am not a worrier, even when I should be worrying. And that has its own set of problems but I guess I am not alone in that either. On the other hand, I am surrounded by worriers and I am the one that is supposed to say ‘it is alright and it will get better’ every time. Maybe that is the reason that I have blocked that ou, but that is a topic for another day. I just wanted to say you definitely are not alone and there are lots of people you can talk… Read more »
Kristi
Guest

I definitely have anxiety. It gets really bad at times and I often feel alone. But I have found so many other people that suffer from it, too. I think it helps to hear from others and to discuss it with friends, too.

Brooke Lorren
Guest

When I worry, it’s usually about something specific. Not enough money. My daughter. Things I can identify.

As an introvert, I can get anxious about talking to people I don’t know in nonscripted situations, but it’s not a general thing either.

I’m glad you like this book!

sjhigbee
Guest

Great review, Evelina! This one sounds really interesting. I’m not sure I’ll read it though – when I’m not worrying, I tend to veer away from such books. And when I am, I’m too anxious to read about other worriers…

Charvi Koul
Guest

Love the post! Totally relate when you said anxiety is an everyday season. I’ve been a worrier ever since I can remember and in the past few years it seems to have got worse. I like the sound of this book and am definitely adding it to my TBR

Dani Eide
Guest

Excellent discussion Evelina! Anxiety is so prevalent. My BF was told she suffered from anxiety, she was surprised. I didn’t think she was as bad as they claimed, but it end up being the reason for her many health issues. Thanks for bringing attention to this topic and sharing about the book. Maybe reading it will help me understand what my BF is going through. ❤️❤️

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
Guest

I am not suffering from anxiety at the moment, but I guess I was in that phase when I was in college? I am not sure though because I wasn’t aware on those days that there even a thing like anxiety. But now when I read books and other people experiences, I do realise it.
I guess reading about experiences of others definitely help in dealing with your own 🙂 Nice post!

CG @ Paper Fury
Guest

Ooh this is VERy interesting and I am intrigued!! I definitely have an anxiety disorder and it sucks, and usually I like it when books talk about anxiety because it’s something to relate to for sure! Although I sometimes find anxiety-books can just feed my anxiety?! I was like SO anxious reading Turtles All The Way Down whoops. But anyway I’m glad this one has really caught your attention. I’ll have to keep a look out for it!

Caro @ bookcheshirecat
Guest

This is such a fantastic post, I really love how you incoporated the book and talked about anxiety!! I definitely worry 99% of the time about literally everything.

Andreea
Guest

I really enjoyed this post because I am a huge worrier!

I also think that positivity could work sometimes, but usually it’s more about trying to combat your worrying thoughts with facts, not positivity. I learned this at my social anxiety therapy group – worrying thoughts are just automatic thoughts our brain believes because we thought about them so many times that they became reality in our mind, so you kinda have to teach your brain to stop doing that and create thoughts based on facts. Not sure I explained myself properly or if this helps with anything D: