We're All Mad Here

We're All Mad Here

Back in 2016 I had the pleasure of attending the launch of

We're All Mad Here:

The No-Nonsense Guide to Living With Social Anxiety

. At the launch, I got to meet the book's author, the rad Claire Eastham, who writes

on a blog with the same name

. This was the first time I had spoken to Claire, besides a couple of excited emails regarding the book's launch party, and as expected, she was incredibly lovely and welcoming! I found great comfort in swapping stories regarding the anxiety that bubbles when attempting to start conversations or as you enter a room full of people, and am so grateful she didn't mind signing my copy, as well as taking a couple of goofy photos with me too!

This year I am aiming to really up my reading game, but last week I was struggling to get stuck into the few books I have on the go, due to lacking concentration and intrusive thoughts. Instead of trying to force in any information that just didn't want to stick, I decided to try picking up something completely different from my forever-growing to-read

shelves

shelf that I felt might be easier to delve into. After spending mere seconds looking at what was on offer, I naturally reached for

We're All Mad Here

. Only two days later I was onto reading the book's final page.

We're All Mad Here

To put it very simply, I loved it. This is the first book I've ever read, or even seen, on the topic of social anxiety, and for me it felt like the perfect place to start. Claire takes you by the hand through everything. Using her own experiences and wider research, she provides the reader with a detailed yet graspable insight into symptoms and diagnosis, through to treatment and learning how to live and work with social anxiety. I don't often wish I had read books sooner, but this is one I know I would have benefitted from many moons ago. Particularly as Claire shares so many ideas and tips - including exercises (both physical and worksheets), recipes, things to consider when preparing for social situations and information on alternative types of therapy to try too.

What I especially loved is how Claire's ace personality beams from every page. Vibes of positivity are threaded throughout, and whilst reading I constantly felt understood and encouraged to keep pushing on. Not just that, the use of playful humour alongside the odd swear word every so often was very refreshing and uplifting too!! It's not often subjects like these are spoken about in this way, but this approach made it feel more so much more accessible. It didn't feel like talking to a doctor or reading clinical-like articles or the manual-sized booklet from a medicine packet, but instead to a honest and trustworthy friend.

We're All Mad Here

The book made me reflect on the impact social anxiety has had on my life and I felt I related to a lot of Claire's experiences. Especially when it comes to favouring a quiet room at a party, and not wanting to be chosen to talk in class was a particularly big one. Throughout school, even if I knew the answer I'd bury my face into my workbook and take dozens of notes to avoid being picked upon. I lost count of the times I put together entire PowerPoints and scripts for presentations, in various classes for group projects throughout the years, if it meant I didn't have to speak in front of everyone. My confidence came on leaps and bounds in sixth form, but unfortunately dwindled during a very rocky mental health patch throughout university. However, I am proud that I stood up in front of a group of my peers, in my final year to present a documentary idea, which they went on to vote as their favourite!

We're All Mad Here

has something for everyone. Whether you have social anxiety and are looking for something to relate to, know someone that is suffering and want to know how you could help, or are simply interested in educating yourself about the disorder,

We're All Mad Here

 has the basics of everything you need to know. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. And on that note, power pose out...

Sian / sianblogsWellbeing