Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Today I am a rebel. The review you can find below discusses my issues with a book. Now I won’t rekindle the debate about whether or not we should review books we didn’t enjoy. My blog, my choice. I find it important to let you know why this one didn’t work for me. However, I will turn off the sharing option. Tagging the author or publisher has never even crossed my mind, so we’re safe here. Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to read this post or not! 🙂
Title: The Anxiety Cure
Author: Klaus Bernhart
Date of publication: 2018
How did I get it: I bought it (Dulwich Books)
Live a life free of anxiety in as little as just a few weeks.
If you have ever experienced anxiety and panic attacks then it can feel like there is no escape from an endless cycle of thoughts that can leave you exhausted and on edge.
Combining the latest research in neuroscience with psychotherapy, Dr Klaus Bernhardt has developed a fast and highly effective approach to anxiety. Leaving CBT and medication at the door, you’ll learn a new approach to manage your mental health that relies on neuroscience and positive psychology.
The Anxiety Cure will show you how to rewire your thoughts and responses for fast results using a series of clear examples and practical exercises which include the central component of Dr Bernhardt’s method which is a kind of journaling that will encourage you to focus on the positive elements of your everyday life and explore these through all of your five senses.
If you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks The Anxiety Cure will help you regain confidence and control.
I bought The Anxiety Cure a year ago. It took me a few months to get to it, and even longer to finally begin a review.
How do I feel about this non-fiction book? I wish a Gif would help here. In a nutshell, I blame myself for falling for such a title. Of course, I was not expecting a real cure, but I was curious as a long-time anxiety sufferer. Which theories would the author pick and probe? Would he offer solutions? Would it be truly medical? After all, The Anxiety Cure is a powerful title. A promise to help struggling people with a debilitating issue that they can better understand the causes of their anxiety, how to stop it, and how to work on their thoughts patterns. What a program.
You might wonder why I gave this book a chance if I sound so skeptical. Well, a program saved my life from agoraphobia. The day I decided to give every available tool a chance was the day I found my way back to a ‘livable’ life. So when I picked The Anxiety Cure, I decided to give the author the possibility to prove what he was selling.
It took 12 pages for me to disagree.
“As long as we have to fully concentrate on something. A telephone call, for example, a tricky chore, or just a pressing deadline, then our conscious brain has enough to do and we are largely free of anxiety and worry.”
You may agree, everyone is different. But my anxiety grows with each task, or even the thought of having to do something. If I am working on something, anxiety might come and say hello, crippling me until I give up and lie on the couch feeling like a failure.
But this one a tiny element, wasn’t it? So I kept reading. I found similarities with the agoraphobia program I followed. How panic attacks work. How they are actually protecting you. Yeah, it’s crazy, isn’t it?
The truce didn’t last long.
“What I want is for you to take responsibility for your life again, instead of simply blindly relying on the pronouncements of doctors and therapists.”
While I remember having to consciously take the decision to get better, I really needed my doctor, family, friends, and medication as clutches to find a way out. I wasn’t happily waiting for others to cure me, I had not given up. The responsibility was always mine. This statement irked me. I had the voice of a father telling his kids to “snap out of it and don’t wait for everything to magically drop on your nap.”
The last traw happened during the Exposure Therapy chapter. When Klaus Bernhardt literally stated that this treatment only worked in the very early stages of anxiety, I saw red. Exposure therapy is how I managed to move to London for an internship after three years stuck in my house. Having someone telling me this exposure makes things worse, without nuance, without giving the reader the opportunity to hear both sides of the argument, felt wrong.
I then realized this was the problem. The book is clear on one point, the author has a theory and a cure to sell, and no other options are valid. Anxiety, or more broadly, mental health, is so much more complicated than this. A treatment might work wonders with someone but completely fail with someone else.
What I have learned from my battles is that trying is winning, and this book had me wanting to shout it loud!
The remaining of the book, filled with stats and examples from Mr Bernhardt’s personal cure experiences, didn’t make me change my mind and felt more like an ad sold to get you to his clinic.
I will keep giving books about anxiety a try because I want to keep learning and give my personal opinion on what is out there. But this case reminded me to be careful. After putting the copy back on my shelf, I wondered if people had found help through this book.
In the end, I just hope no one felt worse after reading it than they did before.
Klaus Berhardt is a psychotherapist and runs his own anxiety-focused clinic in Berlin. He developed his treatment methods with staggering success rates which are detailed in his first book The Anxiety Cure. His podcasts have now been heard by more than 350,000 people in 80 countries and supporting information can be found on his website: http://www.Panikattacken-loswerden.de