Anxiety...I'm So Done with You

Book Review: Anxiety…I’m So Done with You!

By Claire Swadling

For us teens struggling with anxiety, there are innumerable resources to help us cope. From blogs and YouTube videos to antidepressants and therapy-dogs, it may seem that the needs of stressed-out teens have already been met by the uber-saturated genre of self-help. Indeed, this seemed to be the truth–until I read Jodi Aman’s latest book: Anxiety . . . I’m So Done with You: A Teen’s Guide to Ditching Toxic Stress and Hardwiring Your Brain for Happiness.

In the current adolescent realm of 15-second Instagram stories and only slightly longer TikTok videos, it’s clear that teens have a limited attention span. How could anyone expect us to scroll to the end of someone’s feed, let alone finish an entire non-fiction guide? True to her 20 years of experience as a family therapist, Aman knows this well. That’s why she opted to format her book in an unconventional and engaging way. Anxiety . . . I’m So Done with You is broken up into small, digestible bits riddled with thought-provoking questions and insightful graphics. Each chapter ends with a “What’s in Your Hand?” section, compelling readers to think critically about what they’d just read and apply it to their lives. The text also harbors cute emoticons and–somewhat surprisingly–relatable hashtags.

Additionally, paragraphs are sporadically interrupted by a Q&A format in the form of texting bubbles. While Aman could have capitalized on this as an opportunity to “speak our language” (i.e., use popular acronyms and slang), she decided to instead continue using articulate full-length sentences–perhaps a missed opportunity. Nonetheless, the variety of methods Aman uses to convey her central themes should be commended.

Something I’ve learned early on in Anxiety . . . I’m So Done with You! is that it is comprehensive. The book covers all probable–because, let’s be honest, no one can be certain with adolescents– factors that could cause stress in teen lives. Aman expertly dissects issues that can arise, such as family troubles and social media angst, even providing helpful advice about medications. Sprinkled throughout the text are a plethora of well-cited facts, ensuring audiences that all of the advice given is grounded in data. At the end of the book’s five illuminating chapters, Aman provides an appendix for parents and caregivers. Curious, I decided to peruse the section, and was pleasantly surprised to find her revelations about the feelings of adolescents spot-on. It’s clear that Aman knows her stuff.

Of all the things Anxiety . . . I’m So Done with You! gets right, the most important is its tone. Too often, self-help guides intended for younger audiences fall flat because they were written by a condescending hand. In contrast, Aman acknowledges early on that she isn’t “one of us;” she didn’t try to become 15 again. Instead, Aman simultaneously educates and entertains, dishing out encouragement and tough love as needed. Not many books are able to accomplish this balance, especially while juggling premium content and an innovative format. But when they do, you need to buy them.

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December 2021 Issue