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7 Books That Helped Me Through My Toughest Times With Anxiety

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I’ve had anxiety for a long time, and I had my first panic attack when I was 14. I went through a bad episode that lasted a few months when I was 17, in which my anxiety was a lot more persistent.

It’s easy to forget the pain once it went back down. Yet, whenever it spiked again, I vowed to myself to never forget how real and unpleasant it could be. Through my persistent anxiety, distractions were one of a few things that would help. I would watch movie after movie in an attempt to distract myself, mainly children’s movies and Charlie Chaplin movies. I would also read, but nothing really stops the feeling of fear that lingers.

Nevertheless, distractions can ease the pain for a short moment. Through the years, I have collected quite a collection of books that I can often go back to and read when times get tough. These seven books helped me through my toughest times:

1. “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This intelligent and funny book entertained me, distracted me and made me laugh. It reminded me not to take things too seriously, even when my anxiety told me otherwise.

2. “Dracula

This well-written classic has a story that captures interest through centuries and kept my mind busy through hard times. Having been to Transylvania, this book is extra special to me.

3. “Clan of the Cave Bear

As an anthropology student, this book could capture my interest, even in high school. It is particularly well-researched and based on real anthropological and archaeological findings.

4. “Lord of the Flies

Another classic that managed to distract me from the non-stop fear that started to feel like a permanent part of me.

5. “Man’s Search for Meaning

Written by a psychiatrist who lived through a concentration camp, this book encourages people to find a meaning in life in order to avoid feelings of emptiness. This therapy is called logotherapy.

6. “The Collector

A story about a fictional kidnapping, reading this book about someone else’s pain made me forget my own for a short moment.

7. “Flowers for Algernon

Though this book’s main character deals with mental health related issues but does not identify as having a mental illness, I could identify with the issues it brought up.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: November 16, 2016
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