Anxiety, Phobias, & Panic by Reneau Z. Peurifoy, MA, MFT, is the book that other books about the subject would recommend.
“Don’t bother with me,” they’d say. “It’s the perfect book!” They’d gush. “Skip over all the others on the shelf! Honest!”
That’s how thorough and important a book it is!
Yes, there are a billion trillion books on all three subjects. There are tons and tons (and tons!) of books on the subjects of Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic. I’ve read a bunch. Most were good to excellent. But this one? This one is the cream of the crop, top o’ the line, Da Best!
It was gifted to me – for NOT the first time. I had it years ago and gave it away. It’s so funny remembering…
When I moved to Canada, so many of my self-help books went to my kids back in California, who picked through them, kept what they wanted, donated or sold the rest. There were some super-important books among them – this one, as I’ve already mentioned – and one other stand out to me. It was the DSM… something? Like this one that clinicians use to diagnose mental health issues. It was super-interesting and also super-scary for this hypochondriac, who knew she had at least a half-dozen undiagnosed mental illnesses. Note: Turned out, I wasn’t far off! Go figure.
Anyhow, my medically-minded oldest daughter got them, life happened, and whatdoyaknow? She no longer has them, either.
Does it matter? Maybe. Maybe not. *shrug* I’m just thinking out loud.
In the end, I got this one back. (Thanks Becki!) So, here we are.
First, yes, this book is a self-help program. The program will not be quick or easy. Many of the 15 chapters (called Lessons) say to spend at least a week on them. There are exercises, challenges, checklists, steps, examples, questions, and answers. Like I said, very thorough.
Is there a caveat? Well, not from the book or author … but from ME.
As I sit here typing, I realize the caveat exists most of the time, while writing about self-help books. Why? Because mental health is a bigger issue than that which can be healed with a book.
Let me say that again, for those in the back:
Mental health is a bigger issue than that which can be healed with a book.
This may seem a strange thing to say on a blog about self-help but the truth is, in most cases, it will take more than reading a book (or two, or twenty) to get well.
I’m not sure why this is coming up right now – at this point in my blogging journey, I mean- but here it is, so I’ll work with it. I totally trust my gut to lead me where I (and we) need to go.
Perhaps it is necessary – right now, right here – to make sure it’s understood.
Many of the books I talk about are not meant to be “this and only this” cure-alls or panaceas.
Most of the books I’ve talked about are wonderful stand-alone ways to remind you of your worth, find your path, enjoy the journey, be grateful and put what you know into practice.
But a certain group of books – this one, included – are not for “out of the gate” beginners. This is my opinion. Not everyone – most notably, the author- will agree with me.
How will you know the difference?
From a practical standpoint, I would say this: Have you done any work with a therapist? Do you know when your gut is leading you toward – or away from – something? Can you tell when you’re into “Do not touch” emotional territory?
It gets a little sticky here. Stay with me.
There are times you need to know exactly what causes a phobia, for example. There are times you should not be alone when you do it because it can take you to places you can’t emotionally escape from without assistance. There are times you do not need to know where the fear comes from in order to overcome it. You need to be able to know the difference.
I am not a therapist – as my disclaimer below clearly states – nor do I pretend to have all the answers.
What I DO know is that we all travel at our own speed along the path of healing and there is no “wrong place” to be.
But there are bumps and tree roots and other people and any number of things in the way. You may be pushed off the path altogether and make your own path through fields of flowers or broken glass. Sometimes you have no choice in the matter, or at least it feels like it.
Before you get knee-deep in a book like this, be sure you’re ready for it… that you know when to back away, if needed, or to plow through. That’s all I’m saying. It is not a criticism AT ALL. The book is beyond-excellent. I just want you to be prepared, that’s all.