My doctor asked me recently if I was sure I'd chosen the right career. She was genuinely mystified. You see, I've struggled with a pretty serious set of anxiety disorders for the last 25 years. And for about 18 of those, I've also been a reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal, a job characterized by deadlines, not to mention one that requires cold-calling sometimes hostile strangers. My work often makes me anxious.
Fear ambushes me.It is early on the morning of December 5, 1989. At least early for a college student, which is what I am.I feel fine. I’m groggy from a late night of studying and touched by a bit of Midwestern late-fall dread, anticipating another long winter of fierce winds and sleeping-bag-shaped coats. But I’m fine.And then, a second later, I’m not.A knot of fear erupts at the base of my spine and travels upward. My stomach flips, and I break out in a thin film of sweat.
I have suffered from anxiety my entire adult life, but putting my experiences into words so the people around me can better understand what I'm going through has never been easy. That is, until I read Andrea Petersen's new book on the subject, because from the sticky dread that's always somewhere in the background to the paralyzing fear that can put your whole life on hold, On Edge completely nails what it feels like to have anxiety.