My Mess Is A Bit Of A Life: Adventures In Anxiety
Faber & Faber, £16.99
Award-winning comedy writer Georgia Pritchett has worked on some of our best-loved comedies from Have I Got News For You and The Thick Of It to Miranda.
Her world view is as wry, dry, and idiosyncratic as her CV suggests. But this episodic memoir explores the way anxiety has defined her.
Pritchett is three in her first memory of anxiety. Her brother fell over in the snow, leading Georgia to the conclusion that “bad things happen” and “we’re all doomed”.
She named her teddy Anxious Bear: “he worried about illness, about death, about a meteor hitting the planet”. She even feared cupboards in case they turned out to be time machines.
Later, Georgia started submitting jokes and sketches to Radio 4’s Week Ending, only to hear her credit read out as “George Pritchett”. “Of course it was. I was the only woman in the room. But that would change wouldn’t it?”
It didn’t change for 25 years when she started working in the US and in the meantime she suffered enraging incidents of everyday sexism and even assault. But the industry “looked the other way” for decades.
Pritchett finds love but two painful fertility battles ensued. Her wife fell seriously ill. Her son was diagnosed with autism. It is little wonder that she began to feel like a Dark Overlord Beaver was devouring her intestines.
Too much time elapsed before she saw her GP and said: “My mess is a bit of a life”. Unable to articulate her feelings, the GP suggested: “Maybe you could write them down…?” This book is the result and, happily, it has helped Pritchett to find relative peace of mind.
Pritchett evokes her experiences of anxiety with sad humour and, by the end of this book, you’ll want to give her a hug. But she’d find that horribly awkward.