First, We Make the Beast Beautiful 

 August 24, 2020

By  Deborah Lee Smith

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety

By: Sarah Wilson

Recommended by several members in our community struggling with anxiety, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety discusses the importance of confronting your anxiety and making it "beautiful." Please note, some people have found this book triggering because of her deep dive into her own anxiety. Please do your own research before purchasing.

As explained by the author, Sarah Wilson: "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 best-selling 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. "

This is probably one of the best books about anxiety out there, and I know that because of how uncomfortable it made me. Reading First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is like a session with a really tough therapist who won’t let you run away from your problems any further. Sometimes we have to confront ourselves and our issues, even when it’s uncomfortable.

Book Riot

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 reframes 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.


Deborah Lee Smith

Hi there! I'm an actor, producer, and writer who is devoted to storytelling and mental health awareness. After struggling through my own mental health, I found that non-traditional resources, like the ones we explore on More Than You See, helped me immensely get through my dark times. Thus, this website and podcast were born! I look forward to helping you gain agency over your mental health journey as you build your own toolkit of resources, tips, and ideas. Because you never know what might help pull you out of the darkness, and we are all More Than You See.   

Deborah Lee Smith

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