My Little Sister’s Little Panic

My sister, Amanda Stern, has written a phenomenally moving book about her life-long panic disorder. It came out on our Grandmother’s birthday, June 19th, and is available here and at the Brooklyn Yoga Club boutique soon! Though Amanda feels the coffee she gets for free at the BKYC boutique is really quite helpful for her anxiety, Yoga apparently does nothing for her. So don’t suggest it. The below is from

I Lived With Anxiety So Debilitating It Kept Me From Going Outside—Until I Finally Received a Surprising Diagnosis

As a child, I didn’t trust the world would adhere to its own rules: what if the sun didn’t set, what if all the clocks were wrong and we were actually days behind? What if my mother died because I wasn’t watching her, or she forgot she had children the second I left for school, moved to Europe without telling us, and took our house with her? These were the thoughts that plagued and propelled me through each day. When my mother didn’t die or disappear, when the house was still there, the sun set, the clocks seemed to keep the right time, I was relieved, only to wake fresh into a new morning wallpapered with my anxiety.

My chest ached until it burnt and was perpetually tight; a hot halo of pins and needles would frequently and abruptly push their way into my skin; and I was constantly floating away from my body up to the ceiling. What was wrong with me? No one knew, and when no doctor could successfully identify it, I understood that I was defective, that I lacked an important wire, the one that allowed those around me to live life unburdened by chronic fear; while I lived with profound shame for my difference, desperately afraid of being exposed for what I didn’t have. There was a right way to be human, I assumed, and I was doing it wrong.

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