*The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating – Book Review

Yesterday I spent my entire day drinking tea, eating way too much chocolate, and reading through The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating – a new book written by Hattie C. Cooper.

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Hattie suffers with Generalised Anxiety Disorder  and having never been kissed until she was 22, she – like many others – was incredibly anxious when it came to dating. But now happily settled down with her someone special, she shares some insight into what she’s learnt over the years, through comical anecdotes from her life intertwined with practical advice and solutions for us to follow.

What I love most about this book is the author’s sheer talent for making me think she’s my friend. The witty language, embarrassing truths and comical denoting actions throughout made me smile, laugh and relate to everything she said *claps in awe*. There are also questions dotted throughout from readers (both men and women!) much like a magazine advice column and handy summarised bullet points at the end of each chapter which make for easy and simple reading.

As well as those of us with crippling anxiety disorders, I think The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating also works for those that are just naturally anxious when it comes to dating (I mean, who isn’t? – I’ve never understood those people who actually enjoy it non-ironically). In addition to that, it’s also for the people that have to deal with us anxiety-riddled people! The book does a great job and taking into account the other relationships in our lives – our friends and family – as well as a chapter fully dedicated to what the person on the other side of the relationship can do to make the anxiety easier (take note, Nathan).

Personally, my favourite part of the book is where Hattie discusses how we should be less negative and start replacing ‘sorry’ with ‘thank you’ more often in our relationships. Instead of ‘I’m sorry for crying too much’, we can easily say ‘thank you for being so understanding’. It’s something I’m guilty of, so this simple tip is something I’ll be carrying through into my own life amongst lots more of your suggestions – thank you for that!

By the way, I actually challenge you to read this book without once saying ‘stealing that!‘ or ‘ha! that’s so me‘ –  you’ll fail, it’s impossible.

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I think to write something that gives advice on dating alongside openly discussing disorders that can really limit a person’s life, and yet still keep it light-hearted and non-patronising is a tall order. Hattie fully admits that she doesn’t have the answers to everything and so it doesn’t feel like you’re reading one of those typical self-help books where someone with a million letters after their name (which make absolutely no sense to you) preaches the right and wrong ways to do things.

Instead, it’s like talking to your mate that just gets it.

The best way I can sum up The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating is this – it’s like serious girl power, but not just for girls. I know you’re probably reading this thinking ‘really, that was the best way you could have summed that up?’, but yes. It made me feel uplifted, stronger, and made me want to dance around my living room to the Spice Girls. But it’s just not just for us women, despite the title of the book.

Please purchase the book by clicking here if you have a Kindle, or by clicking here if you don’t.

http://www.hattiecooper.com/
https://twitter.com/CooperHattie

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Reading up on your disorder – more harm than good?

I’ve only ever actually bought one book relating to mental health – The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide which I bought straight after my diagnosis. I also have Cyclothymia and anxiety, but BPD was the diagnosis I found hardest to understand and get a hold of what it actually is.

Obviously it goes without saying though that I have constant access to Google – and I do research my other conditions sometimes as well.

20150125_221637But what I want to know is, is it a good idea? Is it a good idea to gain clarity on what’s ‘wrong’ with you, or does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Is it better to just get a diagnosis and allow the doctor or psychiatrist to decide what they feel is best for you, and you continue only knowing as much as they think you need to know?

Do I for example read:

It simply means that you have a pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving that may be hindering your ability to have a high quality of life, keep your relationships going strong, or reach your goals.

…and make that a reality for myself? Do I read that clear defining statement of what BPD is and begin to automatically think that I can’t be in a strong relationship and therefore push my boyfriend further away until the relationship breaks down? Or do I read that I can’t reach my goals and therefore decide to leave university early because it’s been said that it may be too difficult for my personality type to handle?

Being someone with BPD, I already don’t have a strong sense of identity, so what’s stopping the things I’m reading from becoming apart of my already shaky identity and not necessarily in a positive way?

It’s natural instinct to want to find out more. As humans we are inquisitive and seek answers to our problems. But is it wise? Just because we are programmed to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

I’m not necessarily talking about the world of blogging, because that’s on the whole about sharing personal experiences. It allows for us to have a way of letting our frustrations go and it allows us to feel comfortable in the knowledge that someone will listen and understand.

Blogging is like a world where people are OK with talking about their problems and don’t feel ashamed of it (which is great!), and it should happen in the real world too – but it’s not medical.

Is that where the line needs to be drawn? Is it negative when we start to get medical?

Should we know about the ICD-10 of medical classification unless we’re trained to know this stuff for professional reasons? Should we be able to so easily gain access to lists of symptoms that allow us to become self-fulfilling hypochondriacs?

Is it self-destructive? Does it make us more prone to fitting into these black and white labels because we become what we’re told we are?

I don’t know.

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