An Aspect of Fear: A Journey from Anxiety to Peace by Grace Sheppard
One woman’s experience of social phobias
Grace Sheppard was the wife of former England test cricketer and later Anglican Bishop of Liverpool David Sheppard. In her role as vicar’s and then bishop’s wife she found herself in a number of social situations where she felt uncomfortable, most notably associated with a strong fear of leaving her own home. Through boldness to ask help from her friends and her husband, and relying on her faith in a gracious and protective God, Mrs Sheppard found ways in which to cope with and then excel in “normal” social interaction.
The early chapters are autobiographical and describes Grace’s story while later chapters lay out her reflections on what she did to function in life. She writes in several places of having to overcome her embarrassment to ask for help, and how she learned to deal with the (mostly false) expectations of how a bishop’s wife is supposed to act.
As a former manse-kid, and someone who has struggled with mental health issues in recent years, I found An Aspect of Fear to be a book of welcome stories of success over struggle and the continuous encouragement to have faith in God. I enjoyed the honesty of Grace’s story and was pleased by how easily she found people who were willing to help her out simply because she asked. This book was first published in 1989 but the text remains unaltered. I wish I’d found it sooner.