What You Must Think of Me: A Firsthand Account of One Teenager's Experience with Social Anxiety Disorder (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 0195313038
ISBN 13: 978-0195313031
ISBN 10: 019531302X
ISBN 13: 978-0195313024
We've all felt occasional pangs of shyness and self-consciousness, but for the 15 million Americans with social anxiety disorder, the fear of being scrutinized and criticized can reach disabling proportions. Such was the case for Emily Ford, who shares her firsthand experiences in these pages. Emily's true story of fear, struggle, and ultimate triumph is sure to resonate with other socially anxious teenagers and young adults.
Emily's frank, often witty, sometimes poignant account of how she negotiated all the obstacles of social anxiety--and eventually overcame them with the help of therapy and hard work--makes for compelling reading. Yet this book is more than just a memoir. Emily's story is coupled with the latest medical and scientific information about the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and self-management of social anxiety disorder (or SAD). Readers will find a wealth of solid advice and genuine inspiration here. In engaging, accessible language--and with the help of psychiatrist Michael Liebowitz--she discusses what is known and not known about social anxiety disorder in adolescents. She outlines the various psychotherapies available for those with SAD and explains how to seek professional help, how to talk to family and friends about the illness, and how to handle difficult social situations. The result is both an absorbing story and a useful guide that will help to ease the isolation caused by SAD, encouraging young people to believe that, with commitment and hard work, they can overcome this illness.
Part of the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative series of books written specifically for teens and young adults, What You Must Think of Me will also be a valuable resource for friends and family of those with SAD. It offers much-needed hope to young people, helping them to overcome this illness and lead healthy, productive lives.
From Publishers Weekly
A professor of clinical psychiatry and a woman whose life has been adversely impacted by social anxiety disorder provide a unique view of the condition and its treatment in this slim volume. Leibowitz, who researched the disorder prior to its becoming officially recognized in the 1980s, lends scientific heft to co-author Ford's personal experiences with social anxiety disorder (defined as "the extreme fear of social situations that involve unfamiliar people or the possibility of scrutiny by others"). Ford is honest if a bit simplistic in relating her struggles, which began in adolescence. Prior to her diagnosis, Ford struggled with drinking, severe eating disorders and pulling out clumps of her hair. "By hitting my lowest point, I had found the will to start fighting for life," she writes. Ford found a psychotherapist who introduced her to cognitive-behavioral therapy, whose treatment pulled her from her slump. Readers will find helpful charts throughout the book and an appendix loaded with further reading and contact information for advocacy groups. Thanks to its informative guide to diagnosis, suggestions for treatment and tips on dealing with the health care system, this is a must read for anyone who suffers from the disorder.
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"For anyone who has shouldered the enormous burden of social anxiety disorder, What You Must Think of Me will be a valuable resource. Emily Ford gives her readers a rare glimpse into the tortured world of a young person struggling with SAD-the isolation, the depression, and her eventual triumph over this devastating illness. Her story is one of hope, humor, and an incredible will to survive, and will both inspire and educate readers who will recognize their own struggles within these pages."--Jamie Blyth, author of Fear is No Longer My Reality: How I Overcame Panic and Social Anxiety Disorder- and You Can Too
"Ford bravely offers an accurate account of the frustrations of Social Anxiety Disorder, and the paths to treatment, including how to navigate the difficulties of the mental health system, how to identify an expert in SAD, and how to make the most of the therapeutic experience. This will be an excellent resource for adolescents, young adults, and their parents."--Dean McKay, Ph.D., ABPP, Department of Psychology, Fordham University
"With warmth, candor and insight, this highly gifted young writer shares her personal struggle with a serious yet treatable disorder that is often misdiagnosed and grossly misunderstood. Emily takes the reader along on her courageous journey towards recovery, while offering solid information, help and hope to individuals suffering from social anxiety disorder, as well as to family members and friends who want to help."--Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, Director, The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders, Washington, D.C., and author Triumph Over Fear
About the Author
Emily Ford grew up in a rural farming community in the most northern regions of New York State. She has a Master's Degree in Secondary English Education and is involved in mental health consumer advocacy. She lives in Washington, DC with her dog Zsa Zsa. Michael Liebowitz, M.D. is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University. He is also the author of Chemistry of Love and Social Phobia: Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment. Linda Wasmer Andrews is a freelance science writer. Her books include If Your Adolescent Has Depression or Bipolar Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents, with Dwight Evans (OUP 2005), and If Your Adolescent Has an Anxiety Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents, with Edna Foa (OUP, 2006).