Auden, Anxiety, and the Music on the Way

Anxiety is a powerful problem for many people – I was recently amazed to find out that nearly half of one of my college classes freely admitted to having been on anxiety medication at some point in their lives. For many, it’s something they just have to live with.

So I thought Laura Ortberg Turner’s essay on the poetry of Auden and a symphony by Bernstein – and anxiety – was great:

The first time I heard the song, I had been doing some research about anxiety on our basement computer. It was not long after my first meeting a therapist, and although there was no Wikipedia or WebMD, I managed to find a few websites that talked about the condition of anxiety—a different thing than the normal emotion of anxiety, which is a response to an actual threat or difficult circumstances. Anxiety was fear in the face of no discernible threat, or fear disproportionate to that threat. That made sense to me, and it gave a name to something woven throughout my whole life and my whole body.

Here’s the whole thing.