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How to Survive the End of the World - Book Summary

How to Survive the End of the World - Book Summary

(when it’s in your own head)
by Aaron Gillies

“A brilliant and funny read for the apocalyptically-minded” – Matt Haig, author of Reasons to Stay Alive
“Just the laugh you need for when everything seems terrible” – Evening Standard

“For anyone who has ever felt a bit crazy.”

This is an excellent book for anyone who struggles or wants to understand anxiety better. The book has humorous parts that make the book so delightful and funny and also warnings for the more sensitive subjects.

‘ Anxious brain: “Let’s have anxiety!
Me: “But, but the other things?!
Anxious brain: “You heard me.”  ‘

Ch 1

Sometimes we judge ourselves by what we see in others as success, but the reality is that nobody really knows what they are doing.
We are all winging it - some of us are just better at convincing ourselves than others.

Panic attacks make no evolutionary sense, there is never a situation in which the human body needs to go ‘You know what, let’s f***ing shut everything down and be a t*at for a bit.’

Finding a good therapist can take time, never settle for someone you do not feel connected with.

Ch 2

Separation anxiety can be found in adults too, and it can be felt like a security blanket without routine.

The people around us can struggle to understand mental health issues if they don’t go through it or are not informed.

Importer syndrome “is the general fear of everyone finding out you have no idea what you're doing because you’ve faked your way into your place in the world”
Side note: With this, I found it better to take notes on what you are doing, eg completed tasks, exam passed or any contributions you bring. So when you have this feeling go over what you did.

Ch 3

“Anxiety is being trapped in the present by the fear of the future.” – Daisy Buchanan

Tips on how to start your morning - “but even if you aren’t planning to leave the house today, you will have done something”:

  • Shower.
  • Get dressed.
  • Invite a friend round.
  • Call someone.
  • Plot your routes outside.

Ch 4

Tips for an anxious traveller:

  • Proper preparation: Go earlier, to plan the trip, and have a backup also.
  • Distractions: eg a book, headphones, sweets, or some game apps.
  • Exercises: if you need you can do breathing exercises.

Ch 5

Tips to make work more bearable:

  • Have someone you can talk to: if you are lucky to have great colleagues.
  • Lay off the caffeine: this will only enhance your anxiety.
  • Get out of the office: a nice walk can do wonders.
  • Drink plenty of water: “Every book on mental health ever written will tell you to drink plenty of water throughout your day. It’s either something to do with dehydration being linked to poor mental health or the mental health Illuminati have stocks in the water industry and I’ve just stumbled upon one of the biggest conspiracies of our time.

Ch 6

“The physical reactions to an event of flight or flight are:

  • Sweating (cooling your body ready to escape).
  • Muscle tension (getting your limbs ready to leg it).
  • Quickening your heartbeat (faster heart = faster movement…).
  • Shortening of breath ( still getting you ready to leg it).
  • Going pale (blood going where is most needed).
  • Evacuation of the bowels (getting rid of excess weight).”

“The major factors in being raised to be more susceptible to anxiety in later life are”:

  • Your parents being terrified of most things in the world ( catastrophic thinking).
  • Too much pressure to perform well or over criticised (low self-esteem, low confidence, imposter syndrome).
  • A lack of emotional security or too much emotional security (loneliness, improper emotional development, attachment figures and separation anxiety)

Ch 7

Even if you feel completely isolated in your suffering, if you feel like no one will ever be able to contemplate the myriad of nonsense going on upstairs, you are not alone. There are charities to talk to (CALM, MIND, Samaritans, Anxiety UK, NHS) that are here to help.

Tips for handling social anxiety:

  • Identify your comfort zones - we are comfortable when we feel safe.
  • The only person demanding more from you is you - stop being so hard on yourself.
  • Excuse yourself when you need to - if it’s too much excuse yourself and go.
  • Look after yourself -  no one can look after you like you.
  • Practice makes perfect.

Ch 8

Anxiety can make your “fear on steroids”, and in relationships, “betrayal is a common paranoid symptom. Anxiety can leave you helpless, a victim of your own overactive imagination.”

It is important to share your mental health with your partner.

Tips for getting your self-confidence back:

  • Give yourself a f**king break.
  • Treat yo’ self.
  • Only contribute to conversations when you want to.
  • Don’t do anything you don’t want to.

Ch 9

Tips for a healthy online experience:

  • Talk: Sometimes writing about an issue online can help, where you can find people going through the same issues.*
  • Don’t read the comments: eg in the Daily Mail sections.
  • Look after yourself: be kind to yourself and others.

Ch 11

Easy tips to keep your brain healthy and active:

  • Read books.
  • Write
  • Listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks etc.
  • Create music, art, food etc.
  • Learn new skills
  • Exercise
  • Positive thinking
  • Animals

Ch 12

“Your recovery will be unique to you.”

Ch 13

“List of things you learn in school:

  • The mitochondria in the powerhouse of the cell.
  • Everest is a very big mountain.
  • Don’t ever have s*x because God will chop your d**k off.
  • China’s third-largest export is furniture.

Things you don’t learn in school:

  • How to do taxes.
  • How to ask your parents for money….
  • How to deal with adulthood
  • Anything about mental health disorders”

Internet should not be a therapy replacement. If you feel unwell please contact your doctor.

Samaritans - 116 123
Mind - 0300 123 3393
Anxiety UK - 03444 775 774
NHS - 111

Note: Some pieces of information are left out of the book.
Get the full experience by reading it!