For starters, this was such an easy and relaxing read for me. With a little of humor here, some romance there, and a lot of psychological therapy going on.
It’s about this kid, Audrey, who was suffering from social anxiety disorder. She takes us through her treatment journey from when she got the panic attack after being bullied by a group of girls in her school. It had taken a toll on her and it affected the way she thought about herself and what she thought others thought about her – she would be filled with negative thoughts of being a failure. It also affected the way she would respond to people – on first sight of people, her brain would automatically tell her to run away or hide. She called it the lizard brain, which she found rather challenging to convince otherwise or ignore like a normal person would. She wore dark glasses everywhere to avoid any form of eye contact, that she was even nicknamed a celebrity wannabe by her neighbors.
She shares with us how her family has been dealing with her condition. Hers is a typical family. From her mother quitting her job to constantly be with her and take care of her as she goes through her treatment (and being in everyone’s business, more so her brother Felix), to her interaction with her siblings, and her dad just being a dad, oblivious of what’s happening around him, in a comical way. While she’s in the process of getting her treatment, she encounters her brother’s friend, Linus, a cute boy who used to come over to their house to play Land of Conquerors. With him, they gradually build a relationship and it seems he really understands how to handle people with mental conditions because his grandmother, whom they live with also has one – where she imagines she’s still young and so she acts and dresses like she’s still youth.
He treats Audrey with such patience and understanding. He understands that she has social anxiety and so his first approach is to write her cute little notes to be able to communicate with her, because you can imagine what happened on their first encounter. Then he later progresses to shoe touch, then body touch O_O … and before they know it, he’s helping her challenge herself to face the world. Starting with an outdoor date at Starbucks – which the doctor had recommended as they work towards improving her jagged graph. And little by little he helps her deal with the social anxiety with strangers by getting her to talk to random people about random things that would spark a conversation without fear.
What I loved most about this book is that it gives you a picture of what it feels to go through (or have) a mental condition, particularly social anxiety disorder. Sophie Kinsella does it in a lighthearted and humorous way through the life of a teenager. Considering it’s a condition that affects so many young people (or anyone for that matter), at any point in life. And perhaps one that many people living with these teenagers don’t understand what causes it, or even how to deal with it, some don’t even know that it’s eating up their children and dismiss it as pretense.
Through Audrey, you’re able to see that hers was psychological, and as a result of bullying. We’re in a day and age where bullying is prevalent, and not just in schools or at work, but also online – cyber bullying. This might then result to one to having excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations, where someone fears that they might make a mistake, look bad or be humiliated in front of others. And in as much as the person is aware that the fear is unreasonable, they’re still unable to overcome it. So they either get panic attacks, avoid those places altogether, stay in hiding or worse, quit or run away.
We take these things lightly assuming that everyone should be hardcore in the way they handle situations – especially the ones that touch on people’s emotions and esteem such as bullying. That one can be publicly insulted or have their name tarnished and still be okay and move on with life. But in reality, that has a different effect, on different people; some are hardcore, others are simply not, they’re sensitive. And so we should really be sensitive in how we approach situations or how we deal with people, whether at online, at school, at home, at work. Also be observant with those around you so that should you see your friend suffering, you can be that person that has their back.
What are you currently reading? I am trying out Bossypants by Tina Fey. It’s an autobiography and it’s something different. Let’s see how that goes.
You see the book up there, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, I was unable to continue with it midway. It was so overly descriptive that I was losing the plot of the story. So I decided gave it a break, because it’s never that serious and life is too short to force it. I’ll hopefully pick it up some day soon when I’m in the mood.
Happy Hump Day Snippers!
Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*