In this episode of the podcast, I’m talking with Amanda Stern, whose new memoir Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life has recently impacted me in a big way. I met Amanda at the Shift Your Thinking Conference in Toronto last fall, where she shared her story of growing up with an undiagnosed panic disorder, and it was so powerful. I knew instantly that I needed to share her story with my listeners. 

One of my core messages at Tilt Parenting is that our children aren’t broken or in need of fixing, and that our job is to become fluent in who they are and support them in being the best, most fulfilled version of themselves. Amanda is someone who always felt as a child that something about her was wrong or broken. And so much of her frustration was that people couldn’t see it. This is why it’s so important to me to share her story and insights. 

In our conversation, we do a deep dive into what it was like for Amanda living with a severe panic disorder with no ability to describe it or understand it, what it was like to revisit the panic attacks of her childhood in order to write the book, how she felt finally getting a diagnosis at the age of 25, and much more. This is such an important perspective to hear and I’m so grateful for Amanda’s generosity in this frank and vulnerable discussion. 

 

About Amanda: Amanda Stern is a fourth generation native of Manhattan; raised without an accent. Her work has appeared in the New York Times; the New York Times Magazine;  the New York Times Book Review; Filmmaker, The Believer, Salon, Blackbook, St. Ann’s Review, Post Road and others. 

She launched The Happy Ending Music and Reading Series as an antidote to her anxiety. The series, designed around public risks, became a critical success, and its inventive model paved the way for the proliferation of music and reading series created in its wake. Happy Ending had permanent homes at Joe’s Pub in NYC and Symphony Space. By the time the series ended officially in June 2018, Amanda had produced over 250 shows and welcomed 700 creative artists, from Nelly Reifler to Colson Whitehead. Stern hosts, talks, moderates, and curates for those who pay her. Some of these people and places are the National Book Awards ceremony, “5 Under 35;”  the BBC; Soundcheck; the MacDowell Colony; Brooklyn Public Library’s Gala with Paul Auster and at Powerhouse Arena. 

She’s published thirteen books, nine for children (the Frankly, Frannie, series for Penguin under the name, A.J. Stern), two for young adults (You’re So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah and its sequel, under the name, Fiona Rosenbloom), and one novel of literary fiction, The Long Haul, under her real name. Her most recent book is a memoir called Little Panic, which came out on June 19, 2018 from Grand Central. She’s held several fellowships at both The MacDowell Colony (once as the Philip Morris Company Fellow) and at Yaddo. In 2012 she was a NYFA fiction fellow, and she was a Barnes and Noble Discover Pick in 2018 for her memoir, Little Panic. Because she is a writer, she is legally obligated to live in Brooklyn.

THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • Amanda’s personal story of living with an undiagnosed and severe panic disorder into adulthood
  • A description of what Amanda’s severe panic attacks felt like as a child
  • Amanda’s process of writing the book and the personal effect it had on her
  • What Amanda wants parents who have anxious children to know, based on what she needed most as a child
  • The feeling of craving an explanation and the relief Amanda felt at finally getting a diagnosis at the age of 25
  • Amana’s resources and tips for parents raising a child with anxiety

 

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

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