“Lost and Broken helps advance a long overdue effort to talk more openly about, and find better solutions for, both chronic pain and mental illness.” — Ben Affleck, director, actor and c-founder Eastern Congo Initiative
As a 26-year member of congress, Representative Adam Smith’s high stress levels eventually crossed over into anxiety and collided with his chronic pain for a one-two punch that left him both mentally and physically hobbled.
It took six long years and a hundred health care professionals before he said he started to turn the corner.
“Millions of people suffer from anxiety, depression, chronic pain or some combination of those things, and I want to be part of raising the profile of that discussion of the problem, how we encourage people to confront it and to find solutions, because solutions exist, and that’s my big message,” Smith said in a recent interview.
Successful by every measure, Smith had a long, distinguished career in Congress, and he and his wife of 20 years were happy together and raising two great kids. Yet seemingly out of nowhere, his body and mind broke down to the point where every day was a relentless struggle to just keep moving.
Would he be able to meet his responsibilities as a husband and father? Could he still maintain his breakneck professional schedule and continue to do his job well? Smith soon realized he couldn’t will himself well — he needed help.
In his new memoir, Lost and Broken, Smith shares with unflinching honesty how he got to this lowest point in life, and how he slowly, painfully and unevenly found his way back to having a calmer mind and being free of chronic pain and medication.
His desperate search for the right diagnoses and treatments for his mental and physical pain lasted over six years and involved more than a hundred different health care providers. He distills the valuable lessons he learned throughout all of his experiences into key takeaways to empower readers to seek the help and treatments they need. But first, he says, the stigma surrounding mental health must be eliminated.
“That stigma makes it far harder for people facing mental illness to take the first step we all need to take,” Smith said. “Get help. Seek treatment. It really does work. There are treatments that work and that can dramatically improve your mental health.”
About the Author
Adam Smith is the member of Congress who represents the 9th District of the State of Washington. He was reelected to his 14th term in 2022 and has been the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee since 2011. He served as chair of the committee from 2018–2022 when the Democrats controlled the majority in the U.S. House.
Lost and Broken: My Journey Back from Chronic Pain and Crippling Anxiety
Publisher: HCI Books
Release Date: May 30, 2023
Trade Paperback, 224 pages
Available from Amazon.com
Reviews, photos, links to previous interviews and Q&As are available upon request.