On Anxiety, Writing, and Taking the Nature Cure
The nature or “West cure” was developed in the nineteenth century to treat men with anxiety. Women were sent to bed.
This is A Cure for Fear, a monthly column by Laura Turner on working, creating, and living with anxiety.
The sun hits Mount Tallac, on the western shore of Fallen Leaf Lake, at 5:30 in the morning during the early part of June. It’s a time usually reserved for dads on vacation to sip coffee on the deck while they plan which activities to drag their kids on that day, and yet I, neither a dad nor on vacation, find myself awake and alert and unable to resist the beauty of the sunlight on Tallac and the snow still fleecing Desolation Wilderness to the south and, above all, the silver calmness of the lake. I have been dealing with a bout of anxiety-induced insomnia, and my therapist recently told me to get out of bed whenever I wake up after 5:00 a.m. So here I am, coffee in one hand, dog at my feet, researching day hikes with the spotty Wi-Fi that sometimes extends to the cabin.
More by this author
I have been afraid most days of my life, which is what anxiety is, and the months of this pregnancy have been the most anxious of my life.
“I know I am about to be afraid, and I am also about to be just fine. This is controlled terror.”
More in this series
“We could wrap our heads around theology and bullshit around a bonfire. What we never had was a vocabulary for fear.”
On the gendered aspect of conversion disorder, how it might have historically manifest in nuns and mystics, and the strange comfort of being diagnosed.