Subtitle: Drawings, Affirmations, and Mindfulness to Help with Anxiety and Depression
Recommended to me by: The Latest Kate tweet
I liked the image of the little hedgehog lying in autumn leaves saying, “Please try to be on your own side today,” so much that I immediately looked into Kate Allan’s books.
This is a small book, six inches square. Each chapter has brief interludes of text about the author’s experiences of anxiety and depression, followed by a generous number of pages starring a whimsical cute animal saying something encouraging. The chapter ends with three brief tools or coping mechanisms, like “Focus ONLY on what needs to be done TODAY,” followed by a few more encouraging animals.
I was doubtful about some of the sayings, like, “It’s all going to work out fine.” Err, maybe? The book is copyright 2018, so it doesn’t take a long-running global pandemic into account. Some hit closer to home, like the white silhouette of a cat with its back turned, saying, “Being lonely doesn’t mean you’re unloved.”
Some of the animals are fanciful or realistic cats and dogs. Some are mythical, like dragons or unicorns or a mix of different creatures. There is the occasional seasonal tree. There is only one drawing of a person, a young Black woman in a bathing suit saying, “There is no one I need to change for except myself.” In the author photo, Kate Allan appears to be white. I wish an editor had mentioned to her that it’s questionable to include a sole Black woman among images of animals, even if it’s well-meant.
From the introduction,
This is a guide I wrote to younger Kate, the person who hated herself and had no idea how to cope with what troubled her. I’ve included every strategy, affirmation, and coping skill that has gotten me through hard times, from slight worries about how well I’m doing, to incessant suicidal ideation.
Recommended if your brain lies to you regularly (depression or anxiety) and you don’t already know how to cope with that, and you don’t mind that the book assumes all your problems are internal rather than some of them being external, like a pandemic or systemic racism or runaway capitalism or all those at once.