A Helpful Pamphlet About Heart Disease? There’s Just One Problem.

By Summer Beretsky

A Helpful Pamphlet About Heart Disease? There's Just One Problem.

A few days ago, I received the following letter in the mail from Blue Cross Blue Shield, addressed to my father:

Dear Paul,

Managing a chronic condition can feel overwhelming. I am here to help!

We just learned that you recently saw your physician about a new or existing health condition. I’ve enclosed some information to help you learn more about the condition and ways to manage it.

Enclosed was a handy booklet on heart disease, complete with cartoonish diagrams of the human heart and stock photos of sweatsuit-clad seniors doing yoga at the park.

The letter continued:

Together we can find ways to improve your health and your overall sense of well-being…I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Susan Stevens, RN, BSN

Back to the booklet now. On page five, a drawing of a “normal artery”, which looks something like an enclosed waterslide, and a drawing of an “artery narrowed by plaque”, which, based on the artwork alone, convinces me that “plaque” must be housefly larvae.

A Helpful Pamphlet About Heart Disease? There's Just One Problem.Page 14? A photo of legumes, grapes, walnuts, and bell peppers. Not pictured: my father’s favorite foods. Think peanuts, steak, and salty pretzels.

And then, the kicker on page 24: aspirin. He took aspirin every day.

“Honey,” he’d tell me, “see this? See how I carry all of these baby aspirins in my pocket? You just never know.”

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A Very Sad Hiatus for ‘Panic About Anxiety’

By Summer Beretsky

A Very Sad Hiatus for 'Panic About Anxiety'There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just blankly blurt it out as if it doesn’t twist my insides into a million knots.

My father died unexpectedly last week. Heart attack, right out of the blue. No warning; no (known) history of heart problems.

My worst nightmare, basically, has come true.

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Video: Earthquake On Live TV? These Anchors Calmly Own It

By Summer Beretsky

Video: Earthquake On Live TV? These Anchors Calmly Own ItLast night before bed, I found myself putzing around on my iPhone on my living room floor.

It’s a nightly thing: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit. Rinse and repeat if I’m still not sleepy.

But I was caught off guard while scrolling mindlessly through my Facebook news feed — suddenly, I felt the floor shake.

Always on high alert, I jumped. What was that?

After a moment or two of frozen uncertainty, I audibly exhaled when I realized the source of the shaking: a heavy diesel truck, barreling down my street.

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Do You Feel Like An Impostor? You’re Not Alone!

By Summer Beretsky

Do You Feel Like An Impostor? You're Not Alone!

In my last post, I introduced you to what Dr. Pauline Rose Clance calls the “impostor phenomenon” — that nagging feeling that, despite being perfectly qualified to do something, you just don’t belong.

That you’re just not good enough (even though you are).

That you’re just not smart enough (even though, again, you are).

Have you ever felt like this before?

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Do You Feel Like An Impostor? A Fraud? A Phony?

By Summer Beretsky

Do You Feel Like An Imposter? You're Not Alone!Do you ever feel like you’re “faking it” — at work, at school, or at home? Like you’re not qualified to be there, but by the grace of chance or luck, you are?

And do you feel like one day someone’s going to “out” you? Reveal you as a fraud? Point a finger at you and identify you as an impostor?

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A Panic Attack On Live TV? ABC News Anchor Dan Harris Reflects

By Summer Beretsky

[Warning: this video might (obviously) be triggering for those of you with panic disorder. It definitely put me a bit on edge. It does end on a happy note, if that's of any consolation.]

Have you ever had a panic attack in front of a large audience?

I’ve had my (unfairly large) share of panic attacks — but most of them were only in front of small audiences, like the gaggle of shoppers who were behind me in line at CVS when I doubled over in dizziness at checkout.

(The moments between that first scanned item and that final step of swiping my payment card is akin to being stuck on an elevator between floors. After the first “beep” of the UPC scanner, I am trapped. I no longer have an easy excuse to run out of the store, if needed. I have to have to have to keep it cool and stay non-panicky, dammit, until that receipt is in my hand, right? I mean, otherwise…I’d look like a complete ass running out of there.)

And, oh, the marketing meeting at my former job in a stuffy, sardine-can-of-a conference room! I’ll never forget that panic attack.

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Adjust Your Posture This Weekend For A More Confident Monday

By Summer Beretsky

Adjust Your Posture This Weekend For A More Confident MondaySo, I own a pet bird. (That’s him on the left.)

Actually, I hesitate to call my parrotlet a pet. He’s more like a little bird friend — a tiny little feathered dinosaur who talks.

He’s a comical little guy: he knows how to play peek-a-boo, he loves shredding tissues, and he’s learned to imitate my laughter with near-perfect pitch.

But when he gets angry — when he doesn’t want to be touched or bothered, for example — you know it.

And how do you know it? Well, he fans out his tail feathers if I try to touch him. He also fluffs up the feathers on his back.

This birdie non-verbal language lets me know my little featherbutt doesn’t want to play. The feather fanning and fluffing makes his pint-sized, hollow-boned bird body look bigger and stronger, as if to say, “Hey! I’m big and powerful, mom! Go away. We play by my rules because I’m the boss around here.”

FLUFFING UP: IT’S NOT JUST FOR THE BIRDS

I don’t think it’s any secret that adopting a “power posture” (say, standing with your hands on your hips or reclining on a chair with your arms behind your head) can communicate a nonverbal message to someone else.

Using a power posture tells others that you’re the boss. You’re in charge. You’re the alpha.

But can these confident postures tell yourself anything? Can they tell yourself that you’re in charge and in control?

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I Hate Quotes About ‘Success’ (Except For This One)

By Summer Beretsky

I Hate Quotes About 'Success' (Except For This One)Generic platitudes tend to annoy me. You know the kind I’m talking about — right?

Say you’ve just been through a bad breakup. It stings monumentally, and you keep hearing crap like this:

  • “It’ll all work out in the end.”
  • “Maybe it’s for the best.”
  • “There are plenty of fish in the sea.”

Blah. These phrases are so scripted into our culture, and I’m sure the people who use these phrases mean well — but I can’t help rolling my eyes a bit at these saccharine one-liners.

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Low Blood Sugar And Panic Attacks: How Are They Related?

By Summer Beretsky

Low Blood Sugar And Panic Attacks: How Are They Related?Suddenly, you feel sort of woozy in an nebulous way. Something feels “off”, but you can’t put your finger on it.

Then, your heart starts beating faster, and you feel the need to sit down.

Or sleep.

Or vomit.

You know your body is pleading for something — but what does it want? What does it need?

You continue to wonder as your body begins to sweat. These symptoms worry you, of course.

“Is this a panic attack?” you ask yourself. After all, you’ve experience severe anxiety before. You know these uncomfortable sensations. You know that a racing heart and a woozy head usually signify an intense head-on collision with panic is just around the corner.

Or is something else amiss?

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How To Start Loving Your Unmotivated Self

By Summer Beretsky

How To Start Loving Your Unmotivated SelfThis Valentine’s Day, I wanted to take a different approach to discussing love on this blog.

A Redditor named Ryan from Canada made a post in /r/getmotivated several months back that has really, really stuck with me. I’m going to share (most of) it with you today, but first, I want to ask you a big question.

Do you love yourself?

(Cue the cheesy new-age music and self-help vibe here, right?)

But seriously, that’s not what I mean at all. Let’s think about the word “self” for a minute.

Right now, you are…you. You are reading this blog post and existing in the present moment, right? (Obviously.)

But there are other versions of yourself, too — versions of you who aren’t reading this blog post right now — who also deserve your love and caring. (And no, I’m not trying to get metaphysical here with any parallel-worlds stuff. Read on; you’ll see what I mean.)

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