Ever the history nerd, I was all too willing when my boyfriend suggested we watch ten-minute, “crash course” youtube videos on World History. The host was not the stereotypical, boring teacher from middle school who fixated on dates and the reigns of King X and Queen Y. No, John Green was a dude who was passionate about history.
The Empathy Exams came into my life at the right time. I’d been experiencing a flare up of anxiety, which, on certain days, manifested in panic attacks. Though at the time, I didn’t know the skipping heartbeat and unnerving, misdirected surge of adrenaline was panic.
I read an article about the book and its author, Leslie Jamison, online, though I don’t remember where.This book is a collection of essays — which I love — but the title was what really caught me: empathy. I needed empathy. I was reluctant to talk about my health concerns for fear of seeming melodramatic. I wanted to understand why I was having these issues now and maybe in learning there would be some healing, some piece of mind. A book seemed like a perfect helper for a bookish person. I picked it up at a Barnes and Noble the day I read the article. There is a drawing of a heart on the cover.