(This is no recovery memoir, let me warn you now.) • • •. Months ago, when I told my mother I was writing a book about anxiety, she said, "A book about anxiety?. Monkey Mind A Memoir Of. Alan Gordon Partridge is a comic character portrayed by English actor Steve Coogan. A parody of. British television personalities. Buy Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety Reprint by Daniel Smith (ISBN: Biography Memoir, Mental Illness lesforgesdessalles.info (PDF, MB).
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Editorial Reviews. Unknown. “I read Monkey Mind with admiration for its bravery and clarity. Daniel Smith's anxiety is matched by a wonderful sense of the comic. 1. PDF Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety; 2. DESCRIPTION For years, Daniel Smith suffered from bouts of acute anxiety, extended episodes. Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith - A wildly acclaimed New York Times bestseller, this uplifting, smart, and funny memoir provides hope and A Memoir of Anxiety.
Monkey Mind 1. This action might not be possible to undo. At 16 years old, however, his anxiety peaked after losing his virginity to a former co-worker, Esther. I am hunched in an awkward squat behind a woman on all fours, a woman who is blond and overweight. When she was around forty, my mother said, she had a therapist who worked at a renowned clinic for people with phobias, a clinic that was attached to a large private hospital. Sign up and get a free eBook! This is a chilling passage, especially that compulsorily.
But she specializes in the anxiety disorders. Before she was a therapist, my mother was a sufferer and a patient. She is still a patient, but she claims not to be much of a sufferer anymore. My mother portrays herself as an anxiety success story, a living example of how will, wisdom, and clinical psychology can triumph over nature.
It is a rough nature. To hear my mother tell it, her teens, twenties, and thirties consisted of an almost unbroken chain of hundreds of full-blown panic attacks—a riot of flop sweats, hyperventilation, and self-reproach.
Her nerves were so exquisitely sensitive to stimuli that in order to dull them she would sneak shots of vodka before walking to school in the morning.
She was scared of driving, public speaking, parties, open spaces, and men. She experienced feelings of unreality and dizziness. She suffered from acid indigestion, heart palpitations, and tremors. She had panic attacks at school. She also had panic attacks at home, at the grocery store, at the laundromat, at the bank, in the shower, and in bed.
She had a panic attack when my father came to her work to propose to her. My hands shook, she had told me. The thought of having to stay still while someone put a ring on my finger made me nuts! Recently, I asked my mother how this all ended.
How had she gotten to the point where she no longer experienced the world as one giant firecracker at her back? She answered with a story. When she was around forty, my mother said, she had a therapist who worked at a renowned clinic for people with phobias, a clinic that was attached to a large private hospital.
She asked, not entirely ethically, if my mother would like to come work for her at the clinic. She would be the blind leading the blind, therapeutically.
The first people my mother took out were four elderly patients afraid, in various combinations, of driving, shopping, and generally being among other people. My mother was still afraid of these things, too, particularly driving. She decided to take them to a nearby shopping center. She drove them in her own car.
No one passed out, no one threw up, no one ran screaming into the parking lot. Then, on the way back to the clinic, the car broke down. This was before cell phones. They were on the narrow shoulder of a busy four-lane road. The cars hurtled past, making unnerving Doppler noises.
Everyone started to pant just a little. What happens when five clinically anxious people have a simultaneous panic attack in a Buick LeSabre? She tried to flag down a cab. No one would stop. The drivers took one look at the passengers—all that papery skin, all those wild, rheumy eyes—and pressed down on their accelerators.
Now my mother was starting to spin out of control, her mind devising catastrophic tableaus: She started to shake and sweat and enter a kind of waking nightmare state. Just then a cab stopped at a red light. The driver dropped the woman off first.
This is not what I thought my mother would say when I asked how she had conquered the worst of her anxiety. I thought she would say something like, I worked hard, with the help of medication, targeted psychotherapy, vigorous exercise, the support of your father and friends, and various meditative, yogic, and muscle-relaxation techniques, to change the way my mind operates.
All of which is true. Clinical psychology has a term for this sort of approach. It is flooding. The first patient on whom flooding was used successfully, in the s, was an adolescent girl who suffered from a paralyzing fear of cars.
She was kept compulsorily in the back of a car in which she was continuously driven for four hours, reads one description of the treatment. Her fear soon reached panic proportions, and then gradually subsided.
At the end of the ride she was quite comfortable, and henceforth was free from phobia. This is a chilling passage, especially that compulsorily. How did they compel her, one wonders? Did orderlies hold her down? Did they remove the door handles?
All the world conspired to make her panic. If she panicked, the situation would have disintegrated. Equally as therapeutic was the fact that disaster did not come.
Returning her wards safely to the clinic, arranging for a tow truck, and making it home that evening was like a gradual waking from a dream in which she had been pursued and mauled by wolves—and was fine. She scanned herself. No bites?
No scratches? No wounds? It had all been in her head. In the kingdom of the anxious, those with simple phobias have it easy. But what do you do if your greatest fear is of being afraid? She had been diagnosed with panic disorder, a condition that comes down to this: You have one panic attack and it leaves you uneasy, vigilant for another.
You search for threats to your stability and, because this is life, you find them, and have another panic attack. That attack makes you more vigilant, which leads to more attacks, which leads to more vigilance, and so on and so forth until your mental existence is as cramped and airless as a broom closet. There are ways to break out—the world is stuffed with theories on how to escape anxiety—but none as extreme as the one my mother chose.
I was nine when my mother went back to school to become a therapist and twelve when she graduated. Now she bought an ad in the Pennysaver and began to see patients at home, in a large, low-ceilinged room on the bottom floor of our house.
For her children, this meant a slew of new rules and obligations. Rule one was silence—or as close an approximation of silence as three pubescent boys could manage.
When my mother was in session with a patient, we were forbidden to stomp, shout, wrestle, fight, or anything else that, in a moderately sized suburban house, might resonate through the drywall, which was basically everything except reading or muted self-abuse.
In the fall, we had to rake the leaves from the path; in the winter, we had to sprinkle rock salt on it; in the spring and summer, we had to water the rose bushes in the flower beds beside it. For the same reason, it was firmly suggested that we stay indoors throughout all fifty-minute hours.
The therapeutic couch overstuffed leather, beige faced in the opposite direction, but there was always the chance that a client would look over his shoulder, with unpredictable clinical results. Say my mother was treating a man whose wife had taken the kids and left. How would he react to seeing my brother and me idyllically tossing around a football?
So we stayed out of sight and out of earshot. It was the new domestic order, and it stung like exile.
It had been the den, the sweetly dim, subterranean place, wall-to-wall carpeted, where we watched movies and played Battleship and rode out bouts of chicken pox and the flu. I made the discovery by accident one evening when, yawning, I knocked the TV remote off the bed.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later. Create a List. Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Daniel Smith describes himself as anxiety personified in his absorbing and humorous memoir Monkey Mind. Smith was anxious from birth. Anxiety lurked in his genes. Both his mother and father suffered from severe anxiety: But his childhood anxieties and compulsions were one thing.
At 16 years old, however, his anxiety peaked after losing his virginity to a former co-worker, Esther. The sexual encounter turned out to be a traumatic and triggering event.
He writes:. Later it would be Esther who would call forth the most powerful, private, physical symptom of my anxiety: It is working away now as I write, dragging itself around my chest. It is still there, it is still real, and I still fear it. I still hate it, yet now with a nagging affection, the way a child feels toward a parent who has abandoned the family. The way you feel toward something that is both part of you and not, maddeningly.
The way you feel toward something that has taught you an unfortunate truth, the unfortunate truth: You are not at the wheel. It has peaks and valleys. It peaks the first day his parents drop him off at Brandeis University and valleys during his senior year of high school.
It peaks, again, post-college with his first job as a fact-checker for The Atlantic and his first serious relationship.
Smith features many interesting insights about anxiety, including his own musings. He draws from the work of psychologists, writers and philosophers, including Soren Kierkegaard and Charles Darwin. For instance, he discusses the difficult task of distinguishing between two very different anxieties:.
His descriptions of anxiety and panic — which he views as two dramatically different experiences — are spot-on. In the middle of the book he describes the cycle of his anxiety and its various phases. He explains his personal anxiety scale, which goes from zero to