Freaking Out: Real Life Stories About Anxiety

Freaking Out: Real Life Stories About Anxiety by Polly Wells

Annick Press, 2013

130 pp.


Ages 12+

ISBN 9781554515448

Reviewed by Raphaella Dixon

This extremely readable collection of 13 accounts of anxiety is based on interviews with teens. It is not a self-help book. Rather, its goal is to help adolescents recognize what excessive anxiety is, and give them hope that it does not have to take over their life. Each account is written from the viewpoint of the teen interviewed: giving the history behind their anxiety, describing how the anxiety exhibited itself, and ending with how they moved beyond the anxiety. The stories are diverse, ranging from fear of dogs to anxiety due to leaving one’s family behind in a war-torn country. While the route to recovery is slightly glossed over, the stories effectively portray how everyone’s experience with anxiety is different, and how the recovery takes a different path for each person. There is an excellent afterword by Stacie B. Isenberg, Psy.D. A resource list of books (fiction and nonfiction), websites and hotlines is also provided.