Summary Of Monkey Mind: A Memoir Of Anxiety By Daniel Smith

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In Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety, Daniel Smith productively and humorously offers readers insight to what it is like living with chronic anxiety. In his memoir, Smith discusses the numerous downfalls and victorious feats he has encountered since being diagnosed with a severe mental disorder. In his novel, he discusses many elements of his life in which his anxiety has effected such as his personal life, social life, work life, and interpersonal relationships. Additionally, he offers insight to what events he believes might have triggered the onset of his anxiety as well as the biological history of his disorder and detailed symptoms that accompany it. Daniel Smith suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD. Generalized Anxiety …show more content…

Smith explains in his memoir that “anxiety compels a person to think, but it is the type of thinking that gives thinking a bad name: solipsistic, self-eviscerating, unremitting, vicious.” When a person had GAD, the individual finds it nearly impossible to control worry. In order to be diagnosed with GAD, at least three of six possible symptoms must accompany anxiety or worry. The symptoms include restlessness, feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, or sleep disturbances. In Daniel’s case, multiple symptoms are present. Firstly, his anxieties constantly caused him restlessness in addition to making him feel “on edge.” He explains that one of his typical thought processes is: I am anxious. The anxiety makes it impossible to concentrate” (Smith, …show more content…

Smith’s biological mother, or “Hurricane Marilyn” as he liked to call her, has a history of panic attacks. Since her teen years to her 40s, his mother experienced and learned to manage her anxious thoughts. As for Smith’s father, a severe series of panic attacks resulted in a hospital stay during his 30s. Socially, Smith exhibited anxious thoughts and behaviors on multiple occasions specifically in school. For example, Smith described a time where he felt detached while walking the halls of his high school feeling his thoughts were on whirlwinds. Many of his behaviors appeared detached as well as how he appeared. In his novel, he speaks of his habit of nail biting and having to keep his hands in his pockets due to the multiple bandages needed to stop the bleeding. Additionally, when experiencing heightened anxiety, Smith tells of his profuse sweating. He explains his anxiety as “the feeling of having in the middle of my body a ball of wool that quickly winds itself up, its innumerable threads pulling from my body to itself” (Smith, 2012). He displayed an anxious mood quite often however, showed a creative, intelligent, and articulate thought

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