Unf*ck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs , and Triggers by Faith G. Harper

Book Review Jun 06, 2022

My review

3/5 stars

My favourite thing about this book, as the title may hint at, was the blunt writing style. The swearing is either going to be something you like or something that puts you off, but for me I found it made the book more accessible. It helped cut through the softness that can often pad out books like this and drove the main points home in a new way.

The science behind the content seemed really well researched, and the author wrote well about it. I found the chapter on addiction particularly interesting; the idea that everyone is addicted to something at some point in their life is a powerful thought that could help break a lot of mental health stigma. More generally speaking, the content was fairly straightforward for a book of this nature - great for someone who isn't overly familiar with the ideas being explored, but nothing too deep.

I listened to this as an audiobook and found it to be a mixed experience. I found myself zoning out about two thirds of the way through. I'm not sure if the science just got too much for me to listen to, or is the narrator's voice just wasn't working for me. Either way, I lost interest in a way that I'm not sure I would have if I had read the book as a paper copy.

Book blurb

Our brains are doing our best to help us out, but they can be real assholes sometimes. Sometimes it seems like your own brain is out to get you—melting down in the middle of the grocery store, picking fights with your date, getting you addicted to something, or shutting down completely at the worst possible moments. You already told your brain firmly that it isn't good to do these things. But your brain has a mind of its own. That's where this book comes in. With humor, patience, and lots of swearing, Dr. Faith shows you the science behind what's going on in your skull and talks you through the process of retraining your brain to respond appropriately to the non-emergencies of everyday life. If you're working to deal with old traumas, or if you just want to have a more measured and chill response to situations you face all the time, this book can help you put the pieces of the puzzle together and get your life and brain back.Here's an excerpt from the book:Knowing what’s going on up in your brain is HUGE. So much of how we interact with the world around us is a completely normal response when we take into account our past experiences and how our brains work. • Freaking the fuck out • Avoiding important shit we need to take care of • Feeling pissed off all the time • Being a dick to people we care about • Putting shit in our bodies that we know isn’t good for us • Doing shit we know is dumb or pointlessNone of these things are fucking helpful. But they all make sense.Your brain has adapted to the circumstances in your life and started doing things to protect you, bless it. It’s not TRYING to fuck you over (even though it totally is, at times).As we navigate the world, nasty shit happens. The brain stores info about the nasty shit to try to avoid it in the future. Sometimes these responses are helpful. Sometimes the responses become a bigger problem than the actual problem was. It’s called a trauma reaction.And even if you aren’t dealing with a specific trauma? Adaptive coping strategies, bad habits, and funky behaviors all wire in similar ways. And research is showing that these issues are actually some of the easier ones to treat in therapy … if we address what’s really going on, rather than just the symptoms.


You can buy the book here now. It was published by Microcosm Publishing.

For more on the author, you can head to her website, follow her on Instagram, or check out her Goodreads page.