Freaking Out Share this with a friend

Real-life Stories About Anxiety


edited by Polly Wells
illustrated by Peter Mitchell

That sweaty, gut-clenching, suffocating, racing-heart feeling  . . . 

 . . . That dull, never-ending sense that something’s wrong. What is it? Anxiety. And it affects millions of young North Americans today.

When anxiety has you in its grip, it can seem impossible to rationalize your way out of it. From phobias to compulsiveness to post traumatic stress disorder, Freaking Out chronicles the many guises of excessive anxiety in teens’ lives and the havoc it can wreak.

The 13 true stories in this collection span the anxiety spectrum, from heightened adolescent angst to full-blown disorders, exploring anxiety’s run amuck power to take over your thoughts. The triggers for the teens in this book range from the stress of getting into college, to the loss of a parent, to day-to-day social encounters. Their stories explore the different ways they each learned to unshackle themselves from the weight of overwhelming worry. In “Nowhere to Hide,” Caroline suffers debilitating panic attacks brought on in part by extreme shyness. In “Exiled,” Alana’s treatment at the hand of bullies makes her anxiety even worse. In “The Enemy Next Door” Noah grapples with the paralyzing, unexplained fear of dogs that has caused him anxiety since childhood. And in “War Story,” Hamid, alone in a new country, must confront his post traumatic stress disorder.

Including an afterword and resources section written by a adolescent psychologist Stacie Isenberg of The Ross Center in Washington, DC., Freaking Out offers young people a vivid understanding of what anxiety feels like, positive tools to minimize its effects, and the reassurance that they can live a full and rewarding life even if they find themselves in its grip.

Reviews:

“A highly recommended title for middle school and up as a resource for students that suffer from anxiety issues.”
—VOYA, 12/13


“Gripping narratives.”
—Science Books & Films, 12/14


“The book could well be a life-saver.”
—muskokaregion.com, 07/13/14


“An excellent resource for anyone suffering from anxiety.”
—Resource Links, 02/14


“Readers will come away with clearer notions of anxiety’s universality and, as the author puts it, “when it’s time to worry about being worried.”
—Booklist, 11/26/13


“Teens suffering . . . may be comforted by the stories of success offered here.”
—School Library Journal, 12/13


“Shows anxious teens they’re not alone, and sometimes that makes all the difference.”
—Quill & Quire, 11/13


“Helps an anxious teen see that he or she is not alone, and that there is help.”
—CM Reviews, 11/01/13


“As a youth leader and a parent of teens, I found it very helpful.”
—The Banner, 10/02/13


“The stories effectively portray how everyone’s experience with anxiety is different.”
—ABQLA Bulletin, 08/14


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Peter Mitchell