Review: Calm the F*ck Down by Sarah Knight


Title
: Calm the F*ck Down
Author: Sarah Knight
Pages: 304
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-help, Mental Health
Source: Free ARC from Little, Brown and Company

Rating: ⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Little, Brown and Company via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Goodreads Summary

“The no-f*cks-given guide to taming anxiety and taking back control of your life, from the bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and Get Your Sh*t Together 
Do you spend more time worrying about problems than solving them? Do you let unexpected difficulties ruin your day and do “what ifs” keep you up at night?
Sounds like you need to CALM THE F*CK DOWN.

Just because things are falling apart doesn’t mean YOU can’t pull it together. Whether you’re stressed about sh*t that hasn’t happened yet or freaked out about sh*t that already has, the NoWorries method from “anti-guru” Sarah Knight helps you curb the anxiety and overthinking that’s making everything worse. Calm the F*ck Down explains:

The Four Faces of Freaking Out–and their Flipsides
How to accept what you can’t control
Productive Helpful Effective Worrying (PHEW)
The Three Principles of Dealing With It
And much more!”

Review

Why this book? I am nothing if not anxiety-driven. Anxiety-riddledAnxiety-plagued. You get the drift. After a lifetime of struggling with it, I finally went to therapy a couple years back, was diagnosed with Major Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and figured out how best to deal with it (for now; these nasty beasties transmogrify, and then new battle plans must be devised). While my depression ebbs and flows, my anxiety is a part of daily life. Medication helps a LOT, but it is not the end-all-be-all. Healthy coping mechanisms are an essential weapon in my arsenal, and I’m always on the lookout for something new to try.

This book appealed because of the snarky title. Recently, I saw a clip of Mila Kunis on a talk show, with a bottle of liquor in her hand. When she was offered a glass, she said “No I’m not a lady, I don’t need a glass,” and then she sips from the bottle and THAT is so my style. Kind of what I was expecting from this book.

Thoughts: 

  1. This book might be useful to those who are anxious people, but not necessarily clinical. Definitely not for anyone who has read anything about ways to cope with anxiety. Essentially, there is nothing new here. Just a different presentation. And you’d have to have thick skin to get anything out of this. Thick skin and anxiety don’t tend to go hand in hand. Just sayin’.
  2. It wasn’t just snarky. It was pretty heavy-handed style-wise. At no point was I offended (that would take a LOT in terms of profanity, etc.), but it just got tiresome. At some point, it started to feel like shtick. So much so that the style distracted from the content.
  3. The author is a fellow anxiety-sufferer but has zero credentials in mental health. Her “expertise” is limited to her own experience. These are tools that work for her and based on the fact that she has no training in the field, I’d guess they are techniques she learned from her own therapy, and has repackaged in her own unique style for the benefit of others. While I appreciate her personal experience and the attempt at delivering sound tools in a less dry package, it didn’t really work for me.
  4. There were quite a few sections that started with caveats, along the lines of “I don’t mean to be critical or discount your experience, but…” Experience has taught me that anytime someone starts a sentence with a disclaimer like that, they are about to do exactly the thing they are saying they aren’t going to do. And the last thing people struggling with anxiety need is to feel criticized or have their feelings minimized. 

This book was not for me. I’d be hard-pressed to recommend it because the tone and mood are unlikely to appeal to most readers – even those of us who enjoy snark and a bit of profanity, and it simply isn’t new territory. Truthfully, there were times when I was seriously pissed off. In fact, I’m finding the more I write about it, the less I like it…

11 Replies to “Review: Calm the F*ck Down by Sarah Knight”

  1. I’m sorry to hear you deal with anxiety as well. I’ve read this one and a good handful of other similar audios. Unfortunately, most fell short and didn’t meet my expectations. Excellent and honest review! 💗❤💗

    • Thanks! Anxiety sucks and I’m sorry you are in the club. There are several books on the subject that I’m overdue in reading, and I am super-bummed that this is the one I picked up first because now I’m not exactly thrilled to go fishing again. Are there any you have read that are really good?

      • I’ve read so many! I’ll go back through my books and see if I can pull out some titles for you. Unfortunately, most haven’t helped me. Mine started after I developed a thyroid disorder and I began to notice patterns. In a nutshell, when my thyroid levels are norm (hormones under control) I don’t seem to have any issues. What helped me big time was starting a supplement of ashwaghanda and rhodiola for my adrenal glands.

        I still get mild anxiety, but I meditate and do cognitive behavioral therapy. I also don’t let it freak me out anymore. I just accept it and remind myself that it won’t last and my thoughts causing it are likely irrational. Hope this helps! 💗💗💗

    • Yup. The title drew me in as well. I thought this is going to be helpful, entertaining, and straightforward. Unfortunately, it was none of those things. And honestly, when I’m in the middle of an anxiety episode or, even worse, a panic attack, I assure you the last thing you want to say to me is “calm the f*ck down!”, but I went for it anyhow. What can you do?

  2. Brilliant, honest review Myndi . I abhor profanity for the sake of profanity. A lot of comedians think that they can’t be funny unless every second word is ‘f*ck’. I hope you managed to get some small gem from this book and that it wasn’t a total waste of time. 💕📚

    • Thanks, Sandy. I get what you mean. When it is inserted here and there, it’s fine. I was no princess, so if it feels authentic, it appeals to me for a lot of different reasons. And really, it wasn’t so much the profanity, but her general attitude that turned me off. It sometimes felt mean and dismissive, and also like she was trying too hard to fulfill the persona implied in the title. I believe this is actually the 4th book in a related “series” about getting your life together, so she’s pretty steeped in this “character”. Or at least I hope it’s a character. :/

  3. Wow! I guess this is a book people are going to be drawn to by the title—or not. I understand that the presence of a little “attitude “ might be appealing, but it was just a turn off for me. But when you get past the title, it seems there are a lot of problems with it. Your fourth comment on the book really resonated with me. I am glad you got help for your anxiety. Know that you are helping others with your honest critique of this book.

    • Thank you, Linda. That is an excellent point. The title definitely draws a line in the sand. A bit of snarky attitude had the potential to make a challenging subject more palatable for some, to lighten it a bit. In this case, not so much.

  4. Sorry this one was not what you expected Myndi. I saw this one and the title turned me off right away. Better luck with your next book. Keep working on your anxiety, and do what works for you.

Leave a Reply to lghiggins Cancel reply