Anxiety once paralyzed Daniel Smith over a roast beef sandwich, convincing him that a choice between ketchup and barbeque sauce was as dire as that between life and death. It has caused him to chew his cuticles until they bled, wear sweat pads in his armpits, and confess his sexual problems to his psychotherapist mother. It has dogged his days, threatened his sanity, and ruined his relationships.
In Monkey Mind, Smith articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, and evocatively expressing its self-destructive absurdities and painful internal coherence. With honesty and wit, he exposes anxiety as a pudgy, weak-willed wizard behind a curtain of dread and tames what has always seemed to him, and to the tens of millions of others who suffer from anxiety, a terrible affliction.
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." Neurologist and bestselling writer Oliver Sacks says, "I read Monkey Mind with admiration for its bravery and clarity....I broke out into explosive laughter again and again." Here, finally, comes relief and recognition to all those who want someone to put what they feel, or what their loved ones feel, into words.
Daniel Smith is the author of Muses, Madmen, and Prophets: Hearing Voices and the Borders of Sanity. He has written for numerous publications, including The Atlantic, Granta, n+l, New York, The New York Times Magazine, and Slate, and he has taught at Bryn Mawr and The College of New Rochelle, where he holds the Mary Ellen Donnelly Critchlow Endowed Chair in English.
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