I recently finished reading How to Live in Fear by Lance Hahn.
This book discusses living with panic, anxiety, and fear disorders. The author, Lance Hahn, deals with severe anxiety and fear himself. As our temporary pastor while we read his book, Hahn talks about his own experiences with anxiety, as well as gives advice for living and thriving despite the disorder. I selected this book to review because I suffer from anxiety and panic disorders myself, and I thought it might be helpful (it was).
Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are topics that are too often shamed and avoided in the Christian faith. Those who do come out with their anxiety or depression are told that if they just had more faith or were better Christians, they would be fine, which just is not the case. Unfortunately, way too many people are completely ignorant when it comes to mental health, and they end up doing more harm than good. The difficulty comes in because our problems can't be seen; we look just fine on the outside, so our disorders are not taken seriously.
In the first part of the book, Hahn describes his own experiences with his severe anxiety and fear, starting when he was six years old and lasting through adulthood. He does this so that the reader can see what he experiences and gain compassion and understanding. The reader sees that Hahn understands what they are going through.
Through the second part of the book, Hahn talks about the causes, catalysts, and triggers for anxiety, and the importance of discovering them. He also gives a ton of coping and management techniques, and talks about his experiences with anxiety medication.
In the third and final section, Hahn talks about anxiety as it relates to Scripture and spirituality. He talks about the common Biblical misinterpretations of the words "anxiety" and "worry". People like to tell us Bible verses telling us not to worry, which is great and all, but it doesn't change anything, since we aren't making the decision to panic or be anxious in the first place, the problem is in our DNA. When we panic, we often don't even know why or what caused it; it just happens. The worry and anxiety that the Bible most often talks about is worries about everyday things, not anxiety disorders. Hahn gives examples of Biblical support for people who do suffer with anxiety disorders, and what the Bible really says about them.
I gave this book 5/5 stars, and it is something that I would definitely recommend to anyone, Christian or non-Christian, who suffers from or knows someone who suffers from an anxiety or panic disorder. Lance Hahn is such a wonderful person to hear all of this from. He doesn't just rattle off some Bible verses and tell us to just cheer up, as happens way too often. Hahn really understand anxiety and that having the condition isn't our fault. He writes with such a caring and friendly voice, it's like getting help from a close friend. He shows us that we are not alone. I really enjoyed this book, and it was extremely helpful.
I read this as an ebook, which I found to be really helpful because I could highlight important passages and things that really helped or stood out to me that I can easily find again later. Personally, I am morally against writing it physical copies of books, I know it helps but I just can't do it, so having the ebook allowed me to highlight and take notes, what definitely came in handy throughout the reading of this book. If you read this book, I highly recommend highlighting and note taking.
I also just wanted to say that having anxiety is absolutely terrifying. Often, when I'm having an attack, I am scared out of my wits, and that doesn't go away even when the attack is over, and I don't have anyone to talk to or go to for help. If any of you deal with anxiety or panic disorders and need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to send me an email or come talk to me on social media.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.