Archives for July, 2012
(Note: this post is part of a series about navigating my way through the 10 Rules for Coping with Panic, which is a nifty little list I keep in my wallet. To read the introduction to this series, check out this post: Coping with Panic: Why I Can’t, and Why I Can.) It's been a long time -- maybe about a month or so -- since I wrote about these rules. And why? Truth is, I've been doing pretty well. I've had a few panic attacks here and there, but nothing I couldn't get through with a little breather and maybe a phone call to my supportive husband. And when I'm doing well, I fill my days with thoughts of cooking, walking, reading and writing -- not with thoughts of anxiety. To a degree, that's a good thing. When I'm feeling well, it feels so darn good to focus on that wellness and completely forget the fact that, a year ago this week, I went on LOA from the full-time job that was a breeding ground for anxiety and panic.
On Sunday, I took a 17-mile drive through the mountains into unknown territory. Why? Because. Because I had a car, a full tank of gas...and no anxiety. That's right: virtually no anxiety. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you might be saying "Whaaaaaaa?" (Don't worry; I'm saying the same thing.) You know me as the gal who can't make it through an entire grocery store trip without feeling faint and shaky. You know me as someone who's frozen up at the entrance of Target. You know me as the blogger who, once, had to run out of a wedding because dancing to Come on Eileen was too much for my panicky little bunny-rabbit heart. So...why in the hell am I feeling fantastic? Why do I suddenly feel like a new person? Well, I don't really have an answer to that question, but I've been giving it a lot of thought lately. After all, I certainly want to maintain this level of functionality. I want to hold on to it. I want to bottle it up and save it for my worst days. For my own reference -- and for yours, in case you'd like to try something similar -- here's my list of Potential Reasons For Feeling So Good:
The poll results are in: 57% of you think that mc chris, the nerdcore hip-hop artist, is a bully for kicking out a concertgoer who posted a negative tweet about the show's opening band. After searching Twitter from the greenroom backstage, the performer came on stage and publicly asked for the concertgoer by his full name, Mike Taylor. Mike raised his hand. mc chris told him to get out, and then, as promised, security escorted him out of the venue. (You can read more about the story here.) Well, it's amazing what twenty-four hours (and an army of internet rage) can do to someone's ego. Take a look at the weepy apology video that the performer posted to YouTube yesterday:
Some nerds grow up to be bullies. I mean, think about it. Were you the nerdy type in grade school? Even if not, imagine the following scenario: you spend your childhood being teased and looked down upon by the "cool" kids. Then, you grow up, rise to a position of power at work, and begin teasing & looking down upon others who are below you. It feels good, perhaps. Maybe it feels like some sort of retribution. The nerds suffer, then they grow up and try to get even. Does that actually right any wrongs? No. It only serves to perpetuate the act of bullying into adulthood. KICKED OUT? I was browsing Reddit today when I came across a post that really struck a chord with me. Mike Taylor, who goes by wickerman316 on Reddit (and @AdmiralMikey on Twitter) went to a concert in Philadelphia last night. The performer? mc chris. (Yes, that's not a typo -- the nerdcore hip-hop/rap artist spells his stage name with lowercase letters.) In his own words, here's Taylor's story from his original Reddit post: So I got kicked out of the Powerglove & mc chris show at Union Transfer in Philly last night by mc chris himself over a tweet. I wasn't digging his opener, Richie Branson. I felt his lyrics were lame and pandering to us gamers and other assorted nerd fans. I also didn't think his delivery was good and his beats were mostly sampled from others songs and music from games, anime and whatnot. He didn't like the opening act, so he went to Twitter and typed out his thoughts in 140 characters:
Poor Scranton, PA. I think Gawker said it best in their recent headline: "Scranton Is America’s Most Financially F*cked City." Exactly how f*cked, you might ask? Read on. Imagine you're one of Scranton's city workers. Maybe you drive a truck. Maybe you process paperwork in an office. Maybe you fight the very fires that occasionally threaten to burn Scranton to the ground. You've worked long and you've worked hard. You've given your city years of your life and your experience. You've finally made it up to $19 per hour -- a very fair wage for the area -- and you feel good about being able to support yourself, your family and serve the public. [Insert dramatic pause here.] And then, due to a city budget crisis, your mayor lowers your wage to $7.25 per hour until further notice. Your wage, police officers' wages, firefighters' wages, truck driver's wages, and yes -- even his own wage. (You know things are bad when even the city mayor voluntarily decreases his pay to minimum wage.) Yep. Welcome to Scranton. Only a few short minutes from my home town. Can you even imagine the anxiety these city workers must be feeling right now? How will they support themselves and their families? How will they pay their bills?
(This is the twelfth post in a series called “Anxiety Society,” in which I interview everyday anxiety suffers from all walks of life about their struggles, their triumphs, their coping methods, and more. I believe that the more we openly talk about our mental health, the less of a “thing” it becomes. Conversation can reduce stigma, and my interviewees want to be a part of that.) Last week, we met "Jemima," a woman living in Brooklyn who has been dealing with various forms of anxiety since childhood. As a teenager, she was diagnosed with OCD and has discovered that her anxiety manifests differently now as an adult. Her main triggers are interpersonal conflicts and romantic relationships. Our last interview left off with Jemima describing her anxiety as "relationship-induced": Relationship-induced? Can you go into detail on what you mean by that? I hate to say it, but I think the biggest anxiety trigger for me is men. The first time I was hit with anxiety that prevented me from functioning, it was my first serious relationship. I knew that my boyfriend made me anxious, but was able to convince myself it was just something I had to work through to enjoy the relationship.
(This is the eleventh post in a series called “Anxiety Society,” in which I interview everyday anxiety suffers from all walks of life about their struggles, their triumphs, their coping methods, and more. I believe that the more we openly talk about our mental health, the less of a “thing” it becomes. Conversation can reduce stigma, and my interviewees want to be a part of that.) In my last post, we met Jemima Puddleduck -- not the duck from the Beatrix Potter story, but a woman in her late-twenties (who enjoys creatively quirky pseudonyms) who lives in Brooklyn and deals with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was officially diagnosed with OCD when she was a teenager. We left off last time talking about the rituals she performed before bed each night during her childhood years. (To catch up, you can check out the first part of the interview here.) Our conversation continues below. Now, you're an adult. How's the OCD these days? The OCD is pretty much totally under control. I may double- or triple-check that the toaster is unplugged and the door is locked before I leave my apartment in the morning, but it's nothing that gets in the way of living my life, just safety precautions. There are small things... like alphabetizing my CD collection or organizing my bookshelves according to genre, but I think that has more to do with personal preference regarding organization. I don't completely lose my mind if something is out of place...but I do have to fix it!
(This is the tenth post in a series called “Anxiety Society,” in which I interview everyday anxiety suffers from all walks of life about their struggles, their triumphs, their coping methods and more. I believe that the more we openly talk about our mental health, the less of a “thing” it becomes. Conversation can reduce stigma, and my interviewees want to be a part of that.) Meet Jemima Puddleduck. If that name sounds silly, know this: even anxiety sufferers can have a sense of humor when it comes to creating a pseudonym for a blog interview! And, if that name sounds familiar, know this: the original Jemima Puddleduck was brought to life by Beatrix Potter, famed author of children's books. Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their real name on the internet. I respect that decision -- especially when the information they provide can help others to better cope with mental illness. I feel that it's better to share anonymously instead of not sharing at all. Jemima is in her late twenties and works in television production. She describes herself as a "lover of anything with a beating heart," but quickly notes that bears are the sole exception to this rule. Jemima also loves running, playing trivia games, and blogging about dating and relationships. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.