The Prisoner Of Stress

(via Kottke)

Interesting piece for the upcoming issue of The New Yorker, about a man who wrote a whole book about Anxiety in an attempt to heal his own disorder:

Stossel has been in therapy since he was ten, and he has consumed a whole medicine cabinet of psychopharmaceuticals—Thorazine, Nardil, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Valium, Librium, Xanax, Klonopin, and a dozen more—not to mention alcohol. A few drugs and drug cocktails have tempered his symptoms, but the respite never lasted long. His current therapist encouraged him to write this book, and he says he has taken the advice in the hope that “by tunneling into my anxiety . . . I can also tunnel out the other side.”

Some people have a positive experience with the pharmaceutical approach, and should probably consider themselves blessed because of it. For Stossel, writing the book is a sort of last resort. The book reveals that he has learned quite a lot about his illness, and why so many people suffer from acute anxiety to begin with. However, only time will tell if the process of exploring his anxiety in a deeply intellectual way will have a lasting, healing effect for him.