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Celeste Barber: Author of the best self-help book for teenagers

10 February, 2019

Strong language (in this week’s blog) warning (Mum)!

I have just finished Celeste Barber’s first book Challenge Accepted and I can’t recommend it enough – yes it’s a good laugh but mostly it’s a prophetic look at handling growing up and surviving living in a SoMe* saturated life. Her insights into why we all shouldn’t GAF** about SO MANY THINGS are a revelation and this book should be mandatory reading for all teenagers currently suffering with a sensitive tummy (my new go-too phrase instead of anxiety) and angst with school, social life and life in general.

The interesting thing about Celeste is she suffers with dyslexia and the task of writing a book must have been very daunting for her.*** She is also quite young to have so much to write about but she draws on her own significant health / life events to keep the reader entertained and laughing even when the topic is quite serious. #inspiring. Celeste also writes about her own difficult times at school when the Mean Bitches**** made one of her school years lonely and probably sad, on many occasions.

She writes: “I couldn’t think of what I could’ve done to warrant such anger and hostility from the whole school year (Gr8). So in that moment down by the buses, I took a deep breath, pulled myself together and made a decision. I just decided I didn’t care. I didn’t care to investigate, I didn’t care about begging for forgiveness for something that no one was going to help me understand. I realised all people wanted was to make me feel shit, and I didn’t care. I had bigger stuff going on. I had drama monologues to learn, ‘Friends’ episodes to watch and re-watch, dancing concerts to show off at. These bitches were the least of my worries. This continues for an entire year. Bitches 1 and 2 had used their mean-girl power to persuade everyone in Year 8 into thinking I was a loser who wasn’t worth talking to.”(1)

To do this in Grade 8, Celeste had amazing resilience and strength of conviction in her sense of self and her thoughts on how to navigate life. And her theories on dealing with negatives also now extends to her later life when she is now an Instagram star (5.4 million followers and counting) and obviously cops some dubious trolling on SoMe*. This book needs to be part of any school curriculum.

When I first heard about Celeste, I thought she just started doing her ChallengesAccepted with no background or ‘training’. But of course she is a trained actor and comedian and has been preparing for this ‘stardom’ for her whole life and she deserves it. You need to read her book to understand what I mean.

Helping teens cope with the trials and tribulations of school life and growing up with raging hormones and confusing relationships needs serious attention. The statistics for sensitive tummies (anxiety) and sadness (depression) are mind-blowing. More than 40% of Year 12 students report symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress that fall outside what is considered the normal range for this age group. The teenage years are also seen as a crucial period for intervention as 75% of mental health problems emerge before the age of 25 years.(2)

Not only is mental health a concern in this age group, but if teenage girls have their bodies infused with chronic cortisol and adrenaline release from ‘friend’ bullying AND have regular significant pain with their periods, they are at risk of developing persistent pain that will go on to affect their working life, their sexual experiences and their sense of well-being. So learning strategies to break the cycle of bullying and cope with ‘poxy’ peer behaviour early in adolescence may have a larger impact than we can even imagine.

What is best about this book is, it’s written in #kidsspeak with a smattering of #badlanguage and a huge number of laughs. Better than any formal book on strategies to manage a sensitive tummy (anxiety). So I commend this book to you and recommend you follow @celestebarber on Instagram to get a regular laugh in this crazy serious (#climatechangeisreal) world of ours.

(1) Book by Celeste Barber Challenge Accepted! 

(2) Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

Other resources:
My blog with lots of links to persistent pain resources within in it: https://suecroftphysiotherapistblog.com/2014/10/30/persistent-pelvic-pain-information-in-one-location-at-last/

Beyond Blue is an organisation which provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

The Black Dog Institute is dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness. We are about creating a world where mental illness is treated with the same level of concern, immediacy and seriousness as physical illness; where scientists work to discover the causes of illness and new treatments, and where discoveries are immediately put into practice through health services, technology and community education.

*SoMe stands for Social Media- the world of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat and the like.

**GAF stands for Give a fuck

*** Writing a book is hard with no learning/language difficulties – I wrote my first book Pelvic Floor Recovery: Physiotherapy for Gynaecological Repair Surgery in 2011 and Pelvic Floor Essentials in 2012 and have revised and updated them every couple of years, being up to Edition 4 and Edition 3 respectively of both books. It does become overwhelming at times- the research, the constancy of having to sit at the computer every weekend writing (when others are having fun), as I see patients throughout the week and then there’s the Imposter Sydrome***** that comes with deciding that you have something actually worthy to say. I have actually learnt from Celeste’s book – I no longer GAAF******about Imposter Syndrome!

****Mean Bitches you can get an insight into who Mean Bitches actually are by watching a MUST SEE movie called Mean Girls even if it is 15 years old now. It is all about girls and how mean they can be to each other at school.

*****Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

****** GAAF means Give an actual fuck 

3 Comments
  1. interdisciplinaryjacinta permalink

    Really enjoyed this book.

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