Pauline McKinnon has done it. It is those who have done it, rather than those who theorise about it, that we should listen to. By great courage and persistence, trying one approach and then another, she has overcome a distressing fear. She writes with great naturalness, letting us share her frustrations, despair and inward humiliation. Then comes the joy of relief and the full participation in the life of her family which her phobia made difficult.
But this book has a wider significance than simply an account of someone who escaped from eight years of fear. It indirectly expresses her own values – what is worthwhile, what life is all about – with a charming openness ringing through and through with sincerity. The book gives hope to those whose lives are crippled by anxiety and agoraphobia; an equally important aspect of the book is that it gives relatives and friends some idea of the suffering of those afflicted in this way, and what they might do to help.
In the text, Pauline makes several references to me. For this, I thank her. As with the rest of the book, these are part of the spontaneous expression of what has been in her mind.
I have not read a better account of the symptoms of agoraphobia than this story, beautiful in its simplicity, and penetrating in its clinical accuracy.
Dr Ainslie Meares
BAgS, MD, BS, DPM