A few months ago, I read a fascinating book by Allen Shawn, brother of the actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, called Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life. Though a successful professor and composer, Shawn faces debilitating anxiety when crossing bridges, walking across parking lots, navigating shopping malls, and generally encountering new situations. Despite his ability to intellectually comprehend his predicament, Shawn remains, to some extent, ensnared by his fears.
Do these limitations imposed by anxiety and fear sound familiar? Next Tuesday, September 25 in the Downtown Library’s Multipurpose Room, Bright Nights Community Forum will attempt to explore anxiety disorders such as Shawn’s, and perhaps offer some relief. A panel of medical professionals from UM’s Depression Center will discuss recent findings related to anxiety, panic and phobia, and how these conditions relate to depression. Following the talk, there will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.