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Anxiety and Families

Here’s a secret. When traveling, most authors go to bookstores and check to see how many copies of their books are on shelves at the local bookstore. For us, it used to be a gamble. Chuck would say, “Do you want to get depressed?” and I’d say, “Yes, let’s take a chance.”

Now, since we’ve been writing For Dummies, it’s a pretty safe bet. Today, we are in Overland Park Kansas; it’s pouring rain, and we’ve nothing to do. So off we go to the local bookstore. There are 13 copies of our books. Pretty cool. Anyway, we noticed that the 2nd edition of Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies is out. We’re proud of our work on the 2nd edition. We updated the material and added a part on what’s making people more anxious today. We included chapters on finances, violence, natural disasters, and terrorism. Chapters packed with timely information, common sense tips, and strategies for dealing with tension.

But, as walk among the shelves here in Kansas today, we’re facing another source of tension and anxiety. We’re here visiting family. A family that has been separated by miles, time, and interests brought together to see an aging and ill parent. As a concerned onlooker, I can feel the discomfort–the words left unsaid, the regret, the wish to change what was. The family that never was and can’t become; it’s too late. A few days and people will return home.  Sadness mostly left behind, but pain lingering.

What lessons can we learn from this present and that past? Just some hope that we can pass along a few gifts to the next generation. More hugs, expressions of love, understanding, tolerance and forgiveness. So that our children don’t have to come to us one rainy day filled with anxiety and regret.

Anxiety and Families

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D.

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of adults and children with obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as personality disorders, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and learning disorders. Dr. Smith is a widely published author of articles and books to the profession and the public, including: Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies (2E), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder For Dummies, Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies, Anxiety and Depression Workbook For Dummies, Depression For Dummies, Hollow Kids: Recapturing the Soul of a Generation Lost to the Self-Esteem Myth, and Why Can’t I Be the Parent I Want to Be? Her website is:

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APA Reference
Smith, L. (2010). Anxiety and Families. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 May 2010
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