Lena Dunham has shared an excerpt from her upcoming memoir in which she details going through therapy as a child.
The 4,700-word clip, titled Difficult Girl, features in next week’s issue of The New Yorker and is taken from the Girls star’s $3.5m book Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned.
The piece is written about the past but in present tense, and the 28-year-old actress begins by saying she was ‘afraid of everything’ at age eight.
‘The list of things that keep me up at night includes but is not limited to: appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meat, foods I haven’t seen emerge from their packaging, foods my mother hasn’t tasted first so that if we die we die together, homeless people, headaches, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep,’ wrote the creator, writer and star of HBO’s hit series Girls.
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Personal history: Lena Dunham, shown on Monday at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, has authored an essay about the impact of her childhood therapists
The New York City native recalled how her best friend in fourth-grade was her teacher Kathy, followed closely by the school nurse Chris Conta.
Her heightening anxiety prompted her father to take her to see a therapist at age nine.
‘For some reason, when we go to appointments to help my mind, it’s always my father who comes. My mother comes to the ones for my body,’ Dunham wrote.
Top actress: Lena, shown in a still earlier this year from her HBO show Girls, was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series at the Emmys
She settled on her third attempt with a therapist named Lisa who ‘lets me ask her whatever I want,’ Dunham recalled.
‘She has two daughters. She lives uptown. She’s Jewish. Her middle name is Robin, and her favorite food is cereal. By the time I leave, I think that she can fix me.’
After reading an article about obsessive-compulsive disorder and a woman ‘so burdened with obsessions that she has to lick art in museums and crawl on the sidewalk’, the TV star recognised that she had similar symptoms.
Childhood essay: Lena, shown in an Instagram snap about age eight in 1994 with a friend, wrote about her childhood anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder in The New Yorker
At age 15 she stopped working with Lisa while learning to cope with her OCD, which she admitted isn’t ‘completely gone’.
After ignoring and hiding her homework and sleeping at school due to her medication, Dunham wrote that her father sent her to see ‘learning and organization’ specialist Margaret who wouldn’t answer her personal questions.
She later opened up about going to college and meeting up with Lisa’s daughter Audrey and becoming friends with her.
After a particularly bitter fight
with her mother, her aunt got her in touch with ‘relationship expert’ Doctor
Judith Sills who gave her practical advice that her mother apparently dismissed as
Critically acclaimed: Lena, shown with Adam Driver in a February scene from Girls, has received eight Emmy nominations for Girls as a writer, director, actress and producer
The article ends with Dunham recalling a recent conversation with Margaret about furniture shopping with her boyfriend, which prompts her long-time therapist to finally offer up a few personal details.
‘Why does Margaret deem me ready now? What test have I passed, what maturity have I displayed?,’ Dunham wrote.
‘Maybe she forgot our roles for a moment, and we became just two women, two friends on a long-distance call . . . catching up about our houses, our husbands, our lives,’ she concluded.
Dunham’s debut book Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned is set for release on September 30.
Romantic relationship: Lena is shown with boyfriend Jack Antonoff at the Emmys on Monday night
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