Woody Allen, who made a career out of the anxiety-ridden Jew from New York, takes to the pages of the New York Times this week to give readers an insider’s perspective into hypochondria. But as he assures his readers, he’s not actually writing about himself. “I don’t experience imaginary maladies — my maladies are real,” he writes. “What distinguishes my hysteria is that at the appearance of the mildest symptom, let’s say chapped lips, I instantly leap to the conclusion that the chapped lips indicate a brain tumor. Or maybe lung cancer. In one instance I thought it was Mad Cow.”
Allen’s anxiety, often the subject of punch lines, is the topic of Moment’s most recent Elephant in the Room Contest, which asked readers to share their experiences with anxiety. The responses—real, raw, and often, very moving—are featured in Moment current issue here.