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Anxiety

Our First #WinWednesday: How’d You Overcome Anxiety This Week?

(Note: We spend so much time dwelling on the debilitating effects of our anxiety disorders, don't we? I sure as hell do.

Why not devote an entire day to focusing on our accomplishments [instead of our bumps in the road]?

Enter "Win Wednesday": a day to reflect upon the past week and share our successes -- no matter what their shape or size.)

It's here! Happy Wednesday.

Today, we're not just celebrating the midpoint of the work week -- we're here to celebrate Panic About Anxiety's inaugural Win Wednesday.

The rules are simple:

Read about my own "win" for the week (if you'd like).
Post your own win in the comments below (and on Twitter, if you'd like, with a #winwednesday hashtag).
Read about the wins of your fellow anxiety sufferers (and cheer them on)!

Define "win" however you'd like. Tell us how you overcame anxiety this week, even if only for one fleeting moment. Perhaps you bravely walked down to the end of your driveway to collect the day's mail. Maybe you managed to talk to your boss without getting a nervous stomach. Or maybe you made it through a grocery shopping trip without meds.

No matter how "large" or "small" the success might seem to the "outside world", your success is 100% valid here.
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Anxiety

Hurricane Sandy, You’re Making Me Nervous!

It's like any normal Sunday evening at home, really. The clothes dryer is humming hypnotically. My husband is playing a video game and occasionally shouting stuff like "Get the sniper!" and "He's shooting an orb!" into the headset that he uses to talk to other players. My pet parrot is all fluffed up and happily beak-crunching beneath his electric heating lamp.
And I'm putzing around on the internet, as usual, oscillating between Twitter and Facebook.
But I'll admit it: I've got a little twinge of nervousness in my gut. After all, if Hurricane Sandy hits Central Pennsylvania hard, then I'm sure tomorrow evening in my apartment will look quite different from tonight. No internet. No heating lamp. No video games. No appliances.
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Anxiety

How Facebook Changes the Way We Mourn Death (Part 4)

(Note: this is the final post in a four-part series about Facebook and death.)

Social media adds an entirely new dimension to the mourning process. Facebook is a great social utility, but how does its utility change after a profile-owning friend passes away?

Earlier in this series, we looked at both the good and the bad sides of using Facebook as a digital platform for mourning. I spoke about my friend Bubba, who died in a car fire a few years ago, and how his Facebook wall is still alive -- especially on his would-be birthday. However, it's slowly starting to fill up with digital litter ("I want you to join us on schoolFeed!") and, even though Facebook seems like they're in for the long haul, I wonder how long this social gravestone will last.

And now, let's bring this series to a close, shall we?

BENEDICTION

My friend Bubba is dead, but his Facebook profile is (somewhat) living. His memories are digital and accessible, and so are the memories of your deceased Facebook friends. At any time, you can visit their page, reflect on their friendship, reminisce via old photos, and leave a message on his or her wall so that others know you've been thinking about your deceased friend.

Not long after Bubba's death, I found myself perusing his Facebook profile and reading all of his most recent status updates. I grew a little sad that he and I had grown apart in recent years. We've both always been big into technology -- we hopped on the whole "blogging" train together, just one month apart, back in '01 -- and I began to wonder how he'd feel knowing that his Facebook page had become the epicenter of his mourning.
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Anxiety

How Facebook Changes the Way We Mourn Death (Part 3)

(Note: the is the third post in a four-part series about Facebook and death.)

Back in March of this year, Technorati reported that there are already over 30 million dead people with Facebook profiles. Can you imagine how that number will skyrocket over the next 10 years?

Social media adds an entirely new dimension to the mourning process. Facebook is a great social utility, but how does its utility change after a profile-owning friend passes away?

THE BAD

Now, we'll take a look at the negative side of having Facebook available as a mechanism for mourning.

1. Facebook extends the mourning process. Let's face it: Facebook is...well, permanent. As best we can tell right now in the year 2012, at least. It's a gigantic company with gigantic revenue, so I suspect it will be around for a long time in some iteration or another. And what does this mean for mourners?

A dead friend with a Facebook profile will keep coming back to haunt you -- especially in the days and weeks immediately after their death. I can't even count how many times Facebook recommended that I "nudge" Bubba, a friend of mine who died in a car fire over two years ago, because he hadn't logged in for a few days. Then, for a few weeks. Then, for a few months. They mistook his death for a mere disinterest in social media. They thought, perhaps, that he'd taken up a new hobby. That he'd begun traveling more or interacting with people IRL.

But no. He was dead, and Facebook made every effort to remind me daily. And even now, two and a half years after Bubba's death, I still receive updates on my timeline whenever someone tags his goofy smile in a photo or writes on his wall.

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Anxiety

How Facebook Changes the Way We Mourn Death (Part 2)


(Note: the is the second post in a four-part series about Facebook and death.)

Back in March of this year, Technorati reported that there are already over 30 million dead people with Facebook profiles. Can you imagine how that number will skyrocket over the next 10 years?

Social media adds an entirely new dimension to the mourning process. Facebook is a great social utility, but how does its utility change after a profile-owning friend passes away?

THE GOOD

First, we take a look at the positive side of Facebook as a mechanism for mourning.

1. Facebook gives us a new way to mourn. I hate wakes and funerals. I always have. The idea of viewing a dead body -- no matter how gracefully preserved -- creeps me out. When I do attend such services, I tend to avoid the body and just chat with other wake-goers. I look at pictures. I watch the now-common PowerPoint presentation about the deceased's life. I share memories with others in attendance.

But they're still very uncomfortable events. Not everyone, especially us anxious-types, can handle a wake or funeral without a breakdown. At my friend Bubba's wake, I got in line to walk up to the closed casket and then greet his crying family members. As I neared the front of the line, I realized that I couldn't do it. My knees grew weak and I started shaking, so I booked it to the bathroom and plunged my face under cold running water in the sink.

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Anxiety

How Facebook Changes the Way We Mourn Death (Part 1)

(Note: the is the first post in a four-part series about Facebook and death.)

I've been thinking about my friend Ryan lately.

Actually, I'll call him "Bubba" -- because, well, that's what we always called him prior to his death. The name "Ryan", to me, is exclusively post-mortem. It's the name in his obituary. It's the name that was broadcast on television during the news segment that described his car fire. It's the name on his grave.

And it's the name on his Facebook profile.

Bubba died over two and a half years ago, but I still remember the day I heard the news. I was sitting in my teeny little cubicle and monitoring social media mentions for the nationwide advertising company whose corporate office I called home from 9 to 5.

My husband (then boyfriend) called me on my cell phone. I answered the phone quickly and told him, in a hushed voice, that I wasn't supposed to be on the phone at work. But he continued.

"I have some bad news," he said. "Bubba died last night."

What? What?

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General

Join Us! Blog About Mental Health on Wednesday

On May 16th, the American Psychological Association is hosting this year's Mental Health Month Blog Party.

Pssst -- that's tomorrow! (Or today, depending on what time you stumbled upon this post.)

Anyone with a blog can join. Here are the details:
Join us on Wednesday, May 16, and publish a post on your blog about mental health’s importance, how we can diminish...
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Anxiety

Panic About Anxiety Featured as ‘Blog of the Week’ on WBRE’s PA Live!


First things first: welcome, WBRE viewers! (And, of course, to anyone else who might incidentally be finding my blog for the very first time.)

As you (may) know, I was honored to be chosen as this week's PA Live! Blog of the Week on WBRE-TV. (By "PA", I'm referring to Pennsylvania, my home state -- not "panic attack," which, well, is also my home state. Ahem. Cough. Think about it. Bad joke?)

I'll re-introduce myself: I'm Summer. I get panic attacks. A lot. And unfortunately, the panic (and the fear of panic, which is a different beast entirely) has eaten up most of my early, mid, and now late (yikes!) 20's.

I've tried meds. I've tried therapy. I've tried biofeedback. I've tried lifestyle changes. I've tried it all.
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Anxiety

#ModernAnxieties: Does this Project Trivialize ‘Real’ Anxiety?


According to the ModernAnxieties website, the premise of this project is simple: send a tweet with the hashtag "#modernanxieties" on February 8th, and Agentic (a digital media company based out of British Columbia) will donate 5 cents to the Vancouver Crisis Centre.

And what exactly are you supposed to tweet about? Well, modern-day anxieties, of course. From the Vancouver Crisis Centre's website:
Inspired by Bell’s Let’s Talk Campaign, Agentic Communications Inc. will be involved in an online awareness and fundraising campaign via Twitter, “Modern Anxieties” (www.modernanxieties.com). Agentic will be tweeting an amusing technology-related modern anxiety (i.e. lack of e-mail syndrome, GPS mistrust anxiety, etc.) every day, leading up to the campaign day on February 8th, 2012. All proceeds of up to $1000 from every share of their website/video/tweets will be donated to the Crisis Centre!
Lack of e-mail syndrome? GPS mistrust anxiety?

Agentic's Twitter account (@TehWorryBot -- not a misspelling of "the"; it's slang from teh internetz) lists a few more of these "modern anxieties": Breaking into sweats over needing a better phone? Fretting over a font's unrequited love? A font?

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Anxiety

‘Anxiety Society': Introducing a New Series on Panic About Anxiety

When I was in college, I worked part-time for the local daily newspaper. One of my tasks was to wander around town, find five strangers, ask them the question of the week, and take their photo.

It sounds easy, right?

But for some reason, I could never find willing participants. The questions were usually light and fluffy ("what are you doing for the holidays?") or related to local politics ("how do you feel about the mayor's latest decision?"). People always seem to have an opinion on local politics and are always willing to talk about light and fluffy topics.

Maybe it was my press badge or my camera that made people shy away. After all, to share personal information with the world is a very brave thing. (Even if "personal information" is merely an opinion about the city council election, and even if "world" is merely the radius of your local newspaper distribution map.)

But now, I'm not walking around the street with a press badge. I'm walking around the internet as a patient of panic disorder. I'm walking around the internet as a mental health advocate. I'm walking around on the internet and Twitter and Facebook as a human being who enjoys connecting with others.

Especially those of you who share my struggles: panic, anxiety, agoraphobia, and the like.

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