Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Although I don't watch 20/20, the show that Elizabeth Vargas currently co-hosts, I've seen her on TV many times over her long career and have always admired her for her intelligence and poise.
I had no idea that she has suffered from severe anxiety for as long as she could remember and that she had turned to alcohol to self-medicate until I read Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction.
If you've ever said, I don't understand these people who claim they have panic attacks, then this is the book for you. Vargas writes this description of the anxiety she experienced during her childhood:
When you are anxious in the way that I was, fears begin to feed on themselves. The feeling is so unpleasant that you start to notice everything, wondering if it is going to make you want to jump, wondering if you should run. I was poised at all times, it seems, to flee the bugs, the snakes, or a patch of marshy soil that looked like it might melt into quicksand. Even little things that normally don't bother people can send an anxious person up a wall My brother was exposed to the same terrors as I was, but to me at least, he seemed to glide through, unperturbed.
As a young adult, Vargas turned to alcohol to alleviate her anxiety. In this book she describes her eventual treatment in rehab, relapses, divorce, and continued efforts to change her life.
Even if you already have empathy for people who have panic attacks, I think you'll find Vargas's memoir of interest and enjoy her success that hasn't come to her without very hard work.
Between Breaths earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Appreciative Approval.
Infinities of love,
Note: This review is a fair and impartial one, not affected by my receipt of the book from a Goodreads giveaway.