First, We Make The Beast Beautiful | REVIEW

IMG_9225.jpgThe Chinese believe that before you can conquer the beast you must first make it beautiful. 

If I could get that tattooed on me, I would.

I absolutely loved this book.

This book was a very candid, casual approach to mental health, specifically, the topic of anxiety.

One morning there was a segment on the Today Show about reading and keeping the hobby/love of reading alive. Each of the anchors got to pick a book to talk about and Carson Daly picked First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson.

Thank you, Carson, for introducing this book into my life.

I am someone who self-diagnosed myself with anxiety.

A few months ago I had this overwhelming feeling of doom. Like a physical feeling of doom. I had no idea what it was. I do not remember ever feeling like this before. And that is where my “interest” in Anxiety came from. I was curious about what was going on with me. Why was I feeling this way?

I read Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig not too long ago which was interesting but I felt focused more on the negative aspects of anxiety and depression. I do not feel like I have been straddling the line of depression or suicide. My world did not see dark and scary. It just felt like physical pressure on my chest. But Wilson hit the nail on the head with this one.

I was a little confused at first with the formatting (which I still do not totally understand). Honestly, I almost put it down because I did not understand the way the paragraphs were broken down with these “weird” numbers on the sides. I am happy I stuck with it.

When this book finally came in for me at the library I was on the verge of making a doctor’s appointment – I was so concerned about my mental health. I knew something needed to be done. I could not go on any longer like this. I spent two good months really worrying. I was scared. Then thankfully, this book came along and told me to embrace it. Make my anxiety work for me is what I took away.

Yes, I’ve got these conditions […] But they are also my superpowers. I’m the canary in the mine and you need my sensitivity because I can smell toxins in the air that you can’t smell, see trouble you don’t and sense danger don’t feel. My sensitivity could save us all. And so instead of letting me fall silent and die – why don’t we work together to clear some of the poison from the air. […] Help us manage our fires, but don’t try to extinguish us. – Glennon Doyle Melton

Within the first few pages, it is said that there is no way to truly classify anxiety. There is no test for it. There is no way to measure it. No way of knowing what is “normal” stress and what is actually anxiety. I remember breathing a sigh of relief. I remember being thankful there is no box to fit in. Maybe I am just extremely stressed – who really knows. Maybe every time I was feeling stressed in the past it was my anxiety. Who. Knows.  Either way, stress is different for everyone. Whether they be actual fears or perceived ones.

Anxiety can just be in your bones. No reason required.

The biggest take away I got from this book is that I learned it is okay to step back. It is okay to take a breather. More so, sometimes you have to take a break to keep your sanity.

Because of this book, I have seriously looked into mediation. I have started practicing because of this book. I took away that, for me, my workouts do not need to be fast paced. They can be slow. Slow is better for me. When your mind is racing, physically slowing down is the only real option.

Take a walk.

Build your own boundaries.

Do the journey.

Do the work.

Anxiety is not a disease. It is not an imbalance. It’s merely a symptom of having got a bit off balance. We don’t fix anxiety. It doesn’t need a fix. It just requires a bit of rebalancing. 

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