Control the Crazy

I am having a hard time believing I actually read all 230something pages of a book by a Jersey Shore cast member, but I sure did. Due to my recent enjoyment of nonfiction/celeb bio books by Andy Cohen, Mindy Kaling and Caroline Manzo, I had high hopes for what I didn’t know was an absurdly repetitive self-help book about a very standard human feeling: anxiety.

You know those medicine commercials that give laundry lists of symptoms anyone may have at any given time — sneezing, coughing, mild depression, headaches, insomnia — that make you think you have some incurable disease for which you must purchase this medicine? That’s kind of what Vinny Guadagnino did in this ridiculous book. He describes what I believe to be a fairly normal level of anxiety as some kind of intense medical issue and proceeds to lay out a “three-step program” which will “cure” anyone of this problem as it has “cured” him. Um, Vin, literally every single human being on this planet experiences every single one of your “symptoms” at some time or another in life, and rightfully so, but that does not mean every single human being on this planet is mentally ill and/or needs a PROGRAM to permanently get rid of anxiety! THAT’S NOT EVEN POSSIBLE!

Due to a recent diagnosis of my own “mild anxiety and depression”, I really tried to keep a positive attitude about this book and give old Vinny the benefit of the doubt. But my “diagnosis” was described to me as being completely normal and not at all alarming, ergo I do not think it needs to be “treated” in any way other than trying to effing relax and, like, take a yoga class or something. But, negative opinions aside, a few things in the book stood out to me.

1) Egomaniac-ness

Vinny claims the following characteristics define someone who is an “egomaniac”, meaning someone whose entire life is controlled by their ego. He defines the ego as this terribly evil separate entity which tries to trick the “true You” all the time. (I know, seriously?)

  • Brings mad drama to every situation (<<<<I wish I had counted how many times he used “mad” as an adjective in this book; it was at least 200.)
  • Is constantly in need of attention
  • Finds fault in other people; gossips
  • Holds a grudge
  • Judges and criticizes his or her own actions; has low self esteem
  • Is easily offended
  • Reacts defensively
  • Is fearful, worried and anxious
  • Likes to always be right and acts superior
  • Pushes his or her agenda — the bossy type
  • Behaves in a controlling way — the bully type
  • Is never satisfied; always wants more
  • Is overly concerned with what others think of him or her
  • Is typically a buzzkill and not much fun to be around

Guys, several of these items describe ME! (Not the last one; I’m pretty fun to be around.) I’m not an egomaniac, I’m a Capricorn!

2) Florence

Well, you knew this was coming. Vinny often refers back to situations which occurred during the taping of Jersey Shore (although not as much as I would have liked him to), especially the season in Florence. He specifically describes Piazzale Michaelangelo as an incredibly magical place from which you can see the entire city and makes you feel very at peace and puts the world into perspective and yada yada yada — I totes identify with this. Unfortunately I did not go to Piazzale Michaelangelo either of the two times I visited Florence, but I did a) climb 400+ steps to the top of the Duomo, from which there is also a spectacular city view, and b) find a similar spot in Rome, a park called Gianicolo. In both places I experienced overwhelming feelings of serenity, joy and wonder that these places even existed, and I feel lucky to have seen them even once in my life. Sometimes when I am particularly stressed and unable to fall asleep, I try to go to a “happy place”, which is usually one of those two. So I guess I agree with Vinny there.

3) A Not-Very-Inspirational Quote

Toward the end of the “program” Vinny prescribes to anyone else feeling as much “anxiety” as he does, he says something that really resonated with me:

“It’s so much easier to be negative. I swear, it’s like human beings are addicted to stress and drama. Our minds just naturally seem to want to go there.”

YES. We are so much more inclined to feel more negative than positive things. It’s so easy to feel sad, mad, stressed, frustrated, impatient, snappy, moody, negative (at least for me, those come pretty naturally) yet it’s SO hard to feel complete and pure enjoyment, contentment, satisfaction or happiness for any significant length of time. Unless you’re in Italy. (So I guess I agree with Vinny there too…Uh oh.)

I hate to do this because I was a loyal fan of the show for many years, but I do NOT recommend this book. To anyone, at all. Certainly not to anyone feeling uneasy about mental issues, because this may only make it worse.

On to the next: Due to some peer (read: boyfriend) pressure, I’m about embark upon the Percy Jackson series. I know I’ll like it, but you all know how I feel about those series.

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