Review: Everyone But Myself by Julie Chavez

by Joli
Published: Last Updated on
Everyone But Myself Book Review

A memoir about anxiety? Don’t mind if I do! My experience with the onset of a first panic attack was somewhat similar to Julie’s, so it was nice to read an account that I could relate to.

Was Everyone But Myself as good as I was hoping it would be? Read on to find out.

The Summary

Like so many mothers, Julie Chavez ran herself ragged trying to meet the needs of everyone else, until an unexpected panic attack forced her to find a new way. Funny, deeply honest, and inspiring for readers feeling overwhelmed in their own lives, Everyone But Myself feels like a best friend sharing how she pulled herself back to solid ground while embracing chaos along the way. “In my experience, the phrase ‘all of a sudden’ is rarely applicable when it comes to mental health.” For Chavez, an elementary school librarian and mother of two boys, the signs of mounting anxiety and depression had been present for a while, though she had done her very best to ignore them. Then, one night, while her husband was away on business, Julie found herself locked in a debilitating panic attack that threw her life into a tailspin. The terrifying aftershocks left her grappling with questions about the origin of her anxiety and where it would lead next. What follows is a funny, unflinchingly open account of love and loss, comically negligent doctors, husbands who can’t read minds, family outings gone wrong, and the life-affirming joy of a life well loved and well lived.

Written with humor and hope, and sure to resonate with mothers spread thin by the demands of modern family life, Everyone But Myself offers an intimate portrait of how one woman found her way back from the edge.

My Review

Memoir is pretty quickly becoming my favorite genre. Six of the books I’ve read so far this year (out of 16 total) have been memoirs, and Everyone But Myself was one I just flew through and enjoyed.

Like Julie, my first experience with an anxiety attack seemed to just appear, surprise the hack out of me, and scare me half to death. If you’re not familiar with what they are and how they make you feel (or even if you are), they can make you really…well, panicked. She didn’t know what was happening and neither did I, so I felt a connection to what she was feeling.

Julie’s first visits to her physician are comically sad, and so were mine — I ended up prescribed an inhaler, thinking my lungs were unhappy with something. The tightness in my throat and chest were concerning to me, which really only served to make it worse and cause more anxiety, not knowing what it was.

I enjoyed Julie’s journey through coming to terms with what’s happening to her, finding a therapist she connects with, and learning to advocate for herself and her needs, even when that means causing some strife between her and her husband. It’s also entertaining to watch Julie’s relationship with her husband mature and change, and watch him learn about anxiety and what it means for their family.

She uses a good bit of humor and unflinching honesty (as the summary suggests), which I definitely appreciated. I will say that this is a memoir by a privileged, white woman, so that’s the viewpoint and type of story you’re getting. I’m also a privileged, white woman, so I could relate to the story. However, I recognize that there are a lot of women anxiety affects who don’t have the same access or option to find a therapist, visit a doctor, and find the resources it takes to begin getting anxiety under control. It’s got to be incredibly isolating.

Overall, I enjoyed this memoir and the intimate look into someone else’s life with it. Everyone But Myself gets 4 stars from me! | Amazon | Goodreads

More posts on anxiety you might like:

Book Review: Highly Illogical Behavior
10 YA Books About Living With Mental Illness
Review: Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
Review: On Edge by Andrea Petersen
Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

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