Megan's story: 'Books are my treatment'

When anxiety strikes I find that nothing quite helps like a good book. I have always been a big reader (you’ll never find me without a book) but as my anxiety problem developed a few years ago it became more than a hobby, it became my treatment.

Giving myself some 'me time', and losing myself in another world where all I have to worry about is an engrossing story, helps me escape from my own thoughts for a while and gives me a little room to breathe.

When I have a stressful time coming up I know I can 'prescribe' myself a particularly engaging novel to help see me through. The best stories are the ones I can totally lose myself in: the complete Harry Potter series helped me get through the dark winter months last year, and the twisted but absorbing world of Stephen King is one of my greatest anxiety allies.

Unfortunately reading requires some level of concentration which, as anyone with anxiety will know, is not always possible. In my worst moments, I’m panicking as I read the same sentence over and over again, and my mind is distracted by so many other things I can’t fully escape into the story.

No, reading is not a cure, and also not something I want to get too reliant on (however much you want to, it’s not always appropriate to crack open a Poirot mystery during a big meeting). But when it works, it really works and trying to get some time for yourself, whatever your escape is, can only be a good thing.

Which books do you find best for helping with your mental health? Let us know in the comments below.