Anxious Andrea: A collection of blog posts by Andrea Gray

Anxious Andrea - A Collection of Blog Post

I first met Andrea Gray nearly 20 years ago.

At that time, she was a member of BBYO (B’nai Brith Youth Organization) in Montreal, and was known as a very bubbly, enthusiastic, intelligent and empathetic person (and a diehard Beatles fan as well). Whenever she entered the room during a program or our three-times-a-year regional conventions, the energy and the spirit in that room increased many times over, which I noticed whenever I staffed those conventions as a volunteer adult advisor for BBYO.

Andrea Gray

However, behind that smile, there was something about Andrea that I was not aware of. Throughout most of her life, Andrea dealt with anxiety, in particular Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which she was eventually diagnosed with. It affected her through childhood, her teenage years, adulthood, and when she became a mother in August of 2019. It was the kind of anxiety that was potentially crippling to her everyday life and emotions, and included bouts with depression, not to mention create a great deal of stress for her.

But instead of letting anxiety and GAD rule her life, Andrea decided in 2017 to share her ordeal in writing, and created a blog entitled “Anxious Andrea”. Throughout her many posts, she stated the situations – both past and present – that sparked her anxiety, and the steps she took to not necessarily conquer, but effectively deal with those anxious bouts without having to give in to it. Her purpose for the blog was twofold: as a means of therapeutic catharsis, and most importantly, “to open up a dialogue and break the stigma in regards to mental health.”

Andrea recently discontinued the blog, but has decided to compile some of her most-viewed past blog posts and put them in book form called “Anxious Andrea: A Collection of Blog Posts”.

The posts she has chosen to appear in the book gives a multi-dimensional portrait of the anatomy of what an anxiety disorder is all about. But this is not a book that will leave the reader drowning in clinical theories and descriptions that one can find in a medical textbook. Instead, the book uses posts that give a more reader-friendly approach to what it’s like to go through an anxiety disorder. For that, she uses many personal anecdotes and experiences to give it a more human side to it, whether it a stressful home renovation project, expressing to her spouse about her antipathy towards tickling, coming to terms with her father regarding her anxiety, and how she dealt with her anxiety during her pregnancy and first months as a mother to a newborn daughter.

That’s not all. Andrea also offers the reader practical advice and information about how they can give themselves a sense of ease and relief when a stressful or anxious situation happens, whether it be methods like box breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or grounding, or the resources such as telephone hotlines or websites that you can turn to for more professional help.

“Anxious Andrea: A Collection of Blog Posts” is a book that certainly helps to break that centuries-long stigma towards mental health and the millions of people who suffer and live with the many disorders that are part of mental illness. It’s an empathetic, indispensible guide that proves to those who are going through any anxiety disorder that not only you are not alone, but that you have the good fortune of a book that you can turn to and find out someone’s personal struggle with anxiety and what she did towards overcoming it.

If Andrea Gray can continually rise above this and continue to live a fruitful everyday life, then we all can do it.

Anxious Andrea: A Collection of Blog Posts is available in both print and e-book formats through www.amazon.ca.

By: Stuart Nulman – [email protected]

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