Review Snippet: Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith

One thing we can all agree on, is that the past two and a half years have not been a walk in the park.  Not for most of us.  Like a meme I saw on social media the other day  – which stated – “I am a little tired of living through historic events”.  Another thing that we can also be sure of, is that this will be our way of life for goodness knows how long.  I’d also like to believe that we are more aware of our mental health, more than we’ve ever been.  And one thing we do know is that it is a precious commodity.

After hearing about the sensation that is Dr Julie Smith, I simply had to get my hands on her book, “Why has Nobody Told Me This Before”?

Why has nobody told me this before? Dr Julie Smith

So, a bit of background information.  Dr Smith is a clinical psychologist on a mission.  Her goal is to make the life skills and copy skills we need on a daily basis, while dealing with mental health issues, as well as just ‘real life’ struggles, more accessible and digestible.  She started her YouTube channel at the end of 2019, offering short ‘lessons’ and practical tips as how to deal with anxiety, stress, grief, etc.  When the global pandemic hit in early 2020, her sensible and meaningful clips on social media were much needed and devoured by her followers world-wide.

To give you a flavour of what she’s all about, have a look here:


Getting back to the book, this is exactly what you can expect.  No complicated terminology and diagnoses, just informal, informative guidance and tools to help you cope.

It is not necessarily a ‘read from cover to cover’ book (but you can if you are so inclined), but you can dip in and out for pearls of wisdom and tried-and-proven advice as you see fit.  The book is divided in the following chapters (I am highlighting just a some of the details covered):

  • On Dark Places (including low mood, mood pitfalls to watch out for, how to turn bad days into better days)
  • On Motivation (including How do you make yourself do something when you really don’t feel like it?)
  • On Emotional Pain (including Make it all go away! How to support someone)
  • On Grief (including Understanding Grief, The tasks of mourning)
  • On Self-Doubt (You are not your mistakes, Being enough)
  • On Fear (Things we do that makes anxiety worse, What to do with anxious thoughts)
  • On Stress (Is stress different from anxiety?  Making stress work for you)
  • On a Meaningful Life (Working out what matters, How to create a life with meaning)

You will also find practical tools, ideas to try, etc within each topic.

This is a book that I keep going back to, and on a personal level, the chapters on ‘self-doubt’ and ‘fear’ will probably be dog-eared soon.  It also makes a wonderful gift!


You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

I am also including this insightful interview with Dr Julie Smith in The Guardian – check it out:  https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/feb/12/dr-julie-smith-mental-health-tiktok-why-has-nobody-told-me-this-before 

Thank you to Penguin Books SA for this copy, in exchange for an honest review

About the book (from Penguin Books SA website):
Drawing on her years of experience as a clinical psychologist, Dr Julie Smith’s first book is a must-have handbook for instantly better mental health.

Filled with secrets from the therapy room, Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? offers simple advice, effective strategies and powerful coping techniques to help readers stay positive and resilient no matter what life throws their way.

Written in short, bite-sized entries, in Dr Julie’s warm and informal style, a reader can turn straight to the appropriate section depending on the challenge being faced – and immediately find tools to help. From managing anxiety, dealing with criticism or battling low mood, to building self-confidence, finding motivation or learning to forgive yourself, and much more, this book tackles everyday issues that affect us all and offers easy, practical solutions that might just change your life.

ISBN 9780241529720

Recommended Price R330.00

Published February 2022

Available from all major booksellers