The Anxiety Of Living With A 'Monkey Mind'

Author Daniel Smith shares what it's like to live with constant anxiety.

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Dr. David Tolin
Tolin spoke to Colin and author Daniel Smith about the arc of anxiety - its stirrings, its acuteness, its possible treatments. Photo:Chion Wolf
The Anxiety Of Living With A 'Monkey Mind'
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The Anxiety Of Living With A 'Monkey Mind'

I'm what Daniel Smith, one of today's guests, would call a "stifler."

I have anxiety attacks and  a lot of background anxiety, but most people who know me would have no idea how bad or how recurrent my anxiety is. Because it's embrassing, right? Our culture connects anxiety with a kind of generalized cowardice. You're supposed to suck it up and face life with your shoulders squared up.

As Smith says in his book, Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxietyit's not a matter of choice. Anyone with anxiety or panic attacks would gladly choose alomst any alternative existence.

Today on the show, Smith, an anxiety sufferer, and clinician David Tolin will talk about the arc of the anxiety patient. From the early stirrings, to the acute phase, to the, we hope, treatment. But Smith would say there is no cure. 

Leave your comments below, e-mail or Tweet us @wnprcolin.

Daniel Smith will speak at the West Hartford Public Library Tuesday, July 31, from 7 to 8 p.m.



Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety in it's self is not life threatening, although it may feel that way. However we do know that psychotropic drugs are dangerous, both in themselves and of their consequences - such as the driving vehicles.

There are alternatives out there conditions such as anxiety and panic attacks - such as counselling, groups, audio tapes and books.

E-mail from Bernie

Always great shows but not enough time taking phone calls even though you keep announcing the phone number over and over. Was on hold quite a while to the end and now that guests are gone, don't know if my question can be answered.

Are there similarities between anxiety and migraines? From about late teenage to mid- to late-30s, including during Army duty and career, I had migraines.. I didn't know what they were called until diagnosed. I had visual auras, then a concentrated pain in one part of the face or head, then nauseousness, then it was over. Maybe 20-30 minutes 2-3 times per week at the worst, much of those years.

Once finally diagnosed as migraines, I was prescribed a drug to abort the migraine when I recognized it coming on. I also just tried to be less stressed at work or otherwise. This has worked quite well until now in my 70s; I rarely have the visual auras but if I do, I almost never have any actual headache or following symptoms.

Of course more people than ever experience anxiety

We have fewer social supports and more isolation and at the same time, we have unfettered access to bad news from all over the world and the ability to Google the smallest health symptoms. It's enough to make anyone debilitated by anxiety. Although maybe as a disability lawyer I see more severe cases than most...