Author Caroline Foran on ‘Owning’ and Living With Anxiety

Author Caroline Foran is “owning” the mental health issue that affects her and 40 million adults in the U.S. every year.   

“What people get so wrong about anxiety is that they think it has to— it’s something that happens to people that have gone through something really traumatic,” she said. “They don’t realize that anxiety can happen as a result of prolonged stress.”

Foran is an international #1 best-selling author. She calls her new book, “Own It: Make Anxiety Work for You,” a toolkit for living with anxiety rather than against it.

Anxiety is a very hard thing to define,” she said. “But for me how I’ve understood it is as a physiological stress response that we feel when we need to be protecting ourselves.”

Foran says her anxiety manifested into stomach problems as a child. But it wasn’t until her first job that symptoms became unbearable.
“it was just like, oh, this doesn’t sit right with me, I didn’t want to be there, and I felt like you better bury that feeling, and you better say nothing and you better just cope and get on with it,” she said. “At the same time, I moved out of my family home and in with my boyfriend so — and for so long I was embarrassed to say that, it’s like so? Like, people do that all the time.”

Foran says she was unwilling to admit that she wasn’t able to cope with she stress levels because she thought that meant admitting weakness. She said facing the facts that she would never be able to just turn her anxiety off, but that she could take steps to ensure it didn’t rule her life made it easier to accept it.