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Graphic Medicine Novels: The Worrier’s Guide to Life

 The Worrier’s Guide to Life

Worrier’s Guide to Life, The


Worrier’s Guide to Life, The


Bibliographic Record

 Title  Worrier’s Guide to Life, The
 Author  Correll, Gemma
 Illustrator  Correll, Gemma
 Mental Illness  Anxiety Disorders
 Publication Date  2015
 Publisher  Andrews McMeel
 ISBN  978-1449466008
 # Pages  112
 Color Profile  Full Color
 Worldcat Link
 Amazon Link
 Annotator  Tina L. Hefty


The Worrier’s Guide to Life is a collection of humorous images, several of which are related to anxiety disorder. In eight chapters, Correll provides page after page of humorous illustrations, often via creative interpretations on a classic concept—for example, "Pasta Shapes for the Depressed" includes six illustrations spanning from Downward Spirals to Down in the Dumplings and Empty Shells. 


As a comedic work, Correll employs bright colors and eye-catching illustrations. The text is large and easy to read. Because there is no story per se, there is no need to read this book from front to back.

Mental Illness Narrative

Referring to herself as the “world champion over-thinker”, Correll humorously portrays several classic symptoms of anxiety. Social anxiety, in particular, is often lampooned. For example, the book opens with a fetus already wondering, “what if everyone laughs at me when I come out…I’m sure I look so stupid in my ultrasound photo” (p. 2). Social anxiety is again observed in a panel titled “decision making dice for my social life”, accompanied by a simple illustration of playing die that just says “No” on all six sides. Her excessive worry extends to her health, as can be seen in the Hypochondriac’s Disease-a-Day Calendar. Another image is Anxiety Beach, which features attractions including the Spiral of Panic, Sweaty Palms, Waves of Nausea, and Whirlpool of Worries. Perhaps the most telling image is the Wheel of Insomnia, with accompanying text, “let’s spin the wheel to find out why you won’t be sleeping tonight” (p. 11). Options include life in general, weird noises, what you should have said in that conversation today, worrying about not being able to sleep, the flight you’re taking in 6 weeks, that stupid thing you did 4 years ago, etc.

Humanistic Revelations

There are several truths beneath the humor of The Worrier’s Guide to Life. One that stands out is the image of the fetus who is already entrenched in anxiety, even before being born. Although it sounds absurd, many people with anxiety do, in fact, feel as though they’ve been dealing with it their entire lives.


This book was almost excluded from the collection, as only about 20% of its content is related to anxiety. However, individuals seeking out graphic novels about mental illness will likelystumble upon this title. If you are looking for a book on anxiety disorder that is more comprehensive, please see other titles contained in the collection.

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