The New York Times bestselling author of I Quit Sugar transforms cultural perceptions of the mental health issue of our age—anxiety—viewing this widespread condition not as a burdensome affliction but as a powerful spiritual teacher that can deepen our lives.
While reading psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison’s groundbreaking account of bipolar disorder An Unquiet Mind, Sarah Wilson discovered an ancient Chinese proverb that would change her life: To conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.
Wilson, a bestselling author, journalist, and entrepreneur, had spent years struggling with her own beast: chronic anxiety. And the words of this proverb would become the key to understanding her condition.
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful charts Wilson’s epic journey to make peace with her lifetime companion, and to learn to see it as a guide, rather than as an enemy. With intensive focus and investigatory skills, Wilson examines the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. She reads widely and interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism of her own experiences. Pulling at the thread of accepted definitions of anxiety, she unravels the notion that it is a difficult, dangerous disease that must be medicated into submission, and re-frames it as a divine journey—a state of yearning that will lead us closer to what really matters.
Practical and poetic, wise and funny, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is a small book with a big heart. It will encourage the myriad souls who dance with this condition to embrace it as a part of who they are, and to explore the possibilities it offers for a richer, fuller life.
“Probably the best book on living with anxiety that I’ve ever read, and I have (unfortunately) read many. Sarah is full of expert advice while remaining grounded and incredibly human. Her vulnerability is her strength. And after reading, it will hopefully be yours too.” — Mark Manson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“A witty, well-researched, and often insightful book about negotiating a new relationship to anxiety.” — Andrew Soloman, New York Times Bestselling author of Far From the Tree
“Sarah is a brilliant and agile writer, who takes aim at under-exposed affections, helps us to understand them and shows us path towards a solution. First with sugar addiction and now with anxiety, she curates the latest research and take readers on a journey that will change the way we think about the disease and the people who suffer from it.” — Dan Buettner, New York Times Bestselling author of The Blue Zones
“Quirky, edgy and brutally frank […] You’ll never read a more searingly honest account of mental illness than this.” — Hugh Mackay, author of The Good Life and Beyond Belief Hugh Mackay, author of The Good Life and Beyond Belief
“A nomadic journey, a cri de coeur and a compendium of hard-won wisdom.” — Professor Patrick McGorry, Professor of Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne
“I cannot recommend it highly enough. I found the beast indeed to be beautiful.” — Dr. Mark Cross, consultant psychiatrist and author of Changing Minds
“Sarah speaks directly to my heart, articulating her journey in a language that is almost visceral. The words leap from the page and resonate so deeply with me, as they will for anyone who has walked the path of anxiety.” — Aurelio Costarello, fashion designer and Lifeline Ambassador Aurelio Costarello, fashion designer and Lifeline Ambassador
“Sarah’s story provides great insight into what I see people experiencing every day […] She recognizes that the road to wellness is about embracing and living a life aligned to our values.” — Dr. Jodie Lowinger, clinical psychologist, Sydney Anxiety Clinic for Adults, Children, and Adolescents
“Thank you Sarah Wilson. This book is a beacon of reality in a sea of avoidance.” — Louise Androlia, writer and emotional mentor
About the Author:
Sarah Wilson is a journalist, entrepreneur, and the New York Times bestselling author of I Quit Sugar. She is the former editor of Australian Cosmopolitan, and she blogs on philosophy, anxiety, minimalism, toxin-free living, and anti-consumerism at sarahwilson.com. She lives in Sydney, rides a bike everywhere, is a compulsive hiker, and is eternally curious.