April 27, 2012
We all think we know what being anxious feels like: It is the instinct that made us run from wolves in the prehistoric age and pushes us to perform in the modern one. But for 40 million American adults, anxiety is an insidious condition that defines daily life. Yet no popular memoir has been written about that experience until now.
Aaron Beck, the most influential doctor in modern psychotherapy, says that “Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.”
In Monkey Mind, Daniel Smith brilliantly articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, evocatively expressing both its painful internal coherence and its absurdities. He also investigates the relationship between anxiety and his Jewish heritage, and traces the experience’s intellectual history and its influence on our time. Here, finally, comes relief and recognition to millions of people who want someone to put what they feel, or what their loved ones feel, into words.