Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The 5:00 p.m. Philosophy

During the week, my regime centers on 5:00 p.m. As I scurry into the office, twelve minutes late, all I can think is, “only nine hours, (minus a lunch), ‘til five.” Noon is a wonderful time, half way to five. Three is the slump, I feel like I’ll never get to five. And, four…four o’clock is glorious, only one hour ‘til five. By the time I hit that finish line, it’s all I can do to limp out of the office. I’m exhausted, I can’t cook, can’t clean, can’t exercise; because after all, I did work all the way until five!

But then, I realized there’s a flaw in this pattern of thinking. Focusing all my mental energy on five, sets my brain up for hibernation. At that time on a weekend, I still have half a tank. There’s no reason to end a weekday at five.

So, now I’m redirecting my focus. While I’ll still be looking forward to five, it’s no longer the finish line, but the starting point for the best time of the day, when I get to kick back with my cat, cook a healthy meal and take my evening walk with Rey.

This is day three, and so far so good, although with the finish line so much later in the day, getting to sleep is becoming a problem.

Easier Said than Done

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, any one can start from now and make a brand new ending.

-Carl Bard

Monday, January 29, 2007

Another Reason Not to Medicate

Just because I’m not at work doesn’t mean I can’t partake in my favorite day time activity.
Transcription; I live for it. And, it’s a good thing I did stay home today, or I may never have been exposed to this life altering commercial from the ambulance chasers:


"If you or someone you love has taken the prescription drug Paxil and your child was born with a heart defect, pulmonary hypertension, or any other birth defects, you may have a claim to compensation. Call now if you took Paxil and your child was born with a heart defect, pulmonary hypertension or any other birth defect."

"The FDA announced there may be a link between pregnant mothers who took Paxil and heart birth defects or pulmonary hypertension in their children."

It’s always something.


Well, here I am, home sick. Okay, not sick, but I was still drunk when I woke up, so I figured I’d better stay home to eat tamales and watch The Price Is Right.

I talked to The Beast last night. My fifteen-year-old brother is in the hospital on suicide watch. Since his cancer isn’t bad enough, my mom and her second husband decided to engage in a hostile divorce and throw my brother in the middle. Now, he says he’s gonna kill himself if he has to see his dad. This is a perfect example of my mom’s manipulation.

In this situation six months ago, I would’ve been a wreck. I would’ve bawled my eyes out and spent days wondering how they could do this to Tony. But, now I’m able to put her behavior in perspective. I realize that her manipulation is on a subconscious level and there's nothing I can do or say to make her a different person. She is who she is, and while I have to accept that, I don't have to let her control me.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Stop "Shoulding" Me

Hypochondria is a manifestation of anxiety, and a way to distract ourselves from our real world issues.

My anxiety and real world issues are rooted in low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy. A lot of which, I believe, is caused by guilt. Guilt I put on myself by setting unreasonable expectations, and then failing to meet them.

We all carry around a list of “shoulds.” Shoulds being the expectations that we use to brow beat ourselves with. Some of our shoulds are our own; others are placed on us by parents, spouses and society.

Instead of having shoulds, we should have goals. Goals that are important to us, not to our parents, or spouses, or the crazed media-driven society.

These are the shoulds I carry around, and whom they belong to:

I should be graduated from college by now.
– The Beast

I should have boundless energy.
Society/The Beast

I should keep the house and yard spotless.
The Beast

I should be not be so anti-social.

I should have a perfect body.

I should always have the perfect thing to say.

I should not drink so much.

I should not be so stressed.

I should not be so anxious.

I should be liked by everyone.
The Beast/Society

I should exercise more.

I should be perfect at everything.
The Beast

Truthfully, the media and people in our inner-circles do affect all of our shoulds. No one can escape societal pressures, but eliminating the disempowering pressures is a step in the right direction.

So, what if I do have weeds in my yard and I haven’t mopped the floor this week? Does that make me a bad person? Do you like me less since I haven’t graduated from college like others my age? Does it mean I’m inferior? And, so what if I’m ten pounds over weight and say the wrong thing sometimes. I make mistakes, I’m human. And what’s important to this human is leading a healthier life with less stress and anxiety.

I want to enjoy my life, even if others don’t think I’m living it right. So, I’m freeing myself of the shoulds placed on me by others, and turning my shoulds into goals!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Good Old Fashion Logic

Today was an okay today. Actually, it was a good day; aside from the agonizing chest pains and dizziness that plagued me through the afternoon.

I handled the first round well. I had my new coping techniques, and I tried to “float” through the stabbing chest pains. I tried to accept the pain and dizziness for what they were – pain and dizziness, not heart attack and death. It worked.

I was proud. I was so proud, I called Rey to tell him I was cured.

I lied and I jinxed myself.

Not thirty minutes later, pain again. Sharp, shooting pains. Shortness of breath. Dizziness. More sharp shooting pains. I tried to float. It wasn’t happening. I tried to breathe. Also, not happening. Then just like that, it went away.

I was so relieved. For about fifteen minutes, that is, when suddenly, right in the heart, sharp shooting pain, then dizziness…

And, that was pretty much how I carried on for the next two and a half hours, until I couldn’t take anymore and ran to tell someone about my unfolding saga.

Keep in mind this woman is under 40, as she looks at me so matter-of-factly and says, “It’s gas pushing on your rib. You need a good fart.”


Monday, January 22, 2007

Thinking About Peeking Out of the Closet

My routine is crucial. Everyday at noon, I take my coffee cup to the kitchen, exchange it for a tall glass of water, cook my Lean Cuisine, which takes approximately 2-4 minutes, and then sit down to read my book.

Usually, this isn’t a problem. I whip out my newest Star Wars or Wheel of Time and hold it up high for the world to see. But now, that I’m reading the panic book, I have a panic attack every time someone walks by my desk.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the book. But, the sheer thought of someone asking me what I’m reading is driving me insane. Anytime they even slow by my desk, I practically fall over myself trying to hide the book. I even thought about making one of those make-shift book covers from elementary school to hide the damn thing.

Can you say irony? I’m reading a book about self-acceptance and not worrying about what others think—the whole time freaking out, worrying about what others would think if they knew what I was reading. Like, it’s a nudey magazine or something!

Hence the title of the post. In the event that a passerby does inquire into the topic of my book, I’ll say it loud and proud. I think.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Getting Rid of Guilt

"Guilt is often associated with low self-esteem, with feelings of inferiority, lack of confidence, thinking we're not good enough, or that we did something unforgivable. We tend to view ourselves in unloving ways and beat ourselves up, certain that we could have known better. We give ourselves grief judging ourselves, certain that others are doing the same. What draining way to go through life. How useless to be so hard on ourselves about something that happened in the past which we have no possibility of changing. If we feel guilty about something that's happening now, we can use our guilt as motivation to change it.

There's another way of working with the energy we produce when we feel guilty about something we did. We can use it to recognize our mistakes and to motivate change.

Perhaps you need to apologize to someone. Perhaps you need to write a letter or to figure out a new way of behaving. Instead of getting down on yourself, telling yourself how horrible you are, treat yourself with compassion. You deserve it. Life is a learning process, it's natural and human to make mistakes. Recognize your guilt, redirect your thoughts and improve yourself. If you're condemning yourself or beating yourself up, you're disempowering yourself...Treat yourself with kindness by saying, 'I'm not a bad person. I simply did something that was wrong. I'll learn from my mistakes and I won't do it again. I'm human...' When you use your guilt feelings as a messenger, whatever you did has value because you learned from it. You've stopped blaming yourself and started taking positive action. You're not a bad person; you simply made a mistake. Join the human race. Once you've evaluated your actions without blame, you can take positive action that will alleviate the guilt."
- Lucinda Bassett, From Panic to Power

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Separated at Birth

If he had his fingers on his neck, you wouldn't be able to tell us apart.

Anxiety: Mental Illness v. Emotional Disorder

So, I’m really enjoying this book, From Panic to Power, by Luncinda Bassett. I’ve read two more chapters since I last posted and am starting to get to the meat of her approach.

First, she believes that anxiety is composed of four factors:

  1. Genetics:

Others in your immediate or extended family also suffer from anxiety or depression.

(True for me. The Beast takes anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds).

  1. Environment:

This goes back to childhood, whether you were a part of a dysfunctional family; expected to be perfect; had strict religious beliefs; or separated from a significant person in your life.

(As much as I hate to admit it, my family was dysfunctional. There was a lot of yelling in the house, and everyone always had to be busy. I was driven to perfection in everything, school, sports etc., and while we didn’t have strict religious beliefs, I felt the burden of trying to project the image of a nice catholic girl. Of course, there’s the issue of my Dad, I don’t know if that counts as separation, since I never knew him).

  1. Biochemistry:

People with anxiety disorder are widely believed to have excessive catecholamine activity, which means they are prone to feelings of hypersensitivity and nervousness.

(I’m not a scientist, but I feel like my panic attacks send me into bouts of hypersensitivity, where every noise or touch is multiplied by thousands).

  1. Personality Traits:

Anxious people can often identify with these traits:
Analytical worriers;
Dwell on things and obsessing about fears;
Feel strongly about things being or happening in a certain ways;
High expectations, which result in disappointment and anxiety;
Strongly desire approval of others;
Must appear in control;
Thought process ruled by anticipation and dread;
Overreact to smallest threat of challenge.

(I’m definitely a worrier. Dwelling on things is my hobby. I often hold myself and those around me to unattainable expectations. Approval of others is very important, which is why I think I have that fear of speaking in groups).

What’s interesting and different about Luncida Bassett’s approach, is she believes that the anxious person’s personality traits and style of thinking causes the biochemical element of anxiety; not the other way around. While she still believes that the mind’s chemical make-up must be changed, she explains that it can be done by examining personality traits and changing them. “When you change the way you think, you change the way you respond and react. As a result, you change the biochemical reaction which will minimize and eventually prevent the anxiety.”

This reminds me of an article that I read a couple weeks ago about the nocebo effect. It explores the results of several studies, one involving Australian athletes who believe they are taking and participating in a study on steroids. Little do they know, half of them are taking a placebo. What the study shows, is that the group taking the placebo developed the same negative side effects of those actually taking the drug, including acne and extreme anger. Several other studies analyzed in the article obtain the same results: that if you truly believe it, your brain will make it happen.

That is why anxiety disorder is categorized as an emotional disorder and not a mental illness. Because anxiety is an emotion, experienced by all people, the varying degrees at which it’s experienced is what turns it into a disorder. And while it can be treated and controlled with medication, positive thinking can be just as powerful.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Um, apparently I’ve been “tagged.” This means that if I don’t answer the following questions, (bestowed upon me by the lovely Lacy), I’ll die a horrible and painful death within in the next 4 days. Okay, I lied about the last part, but one can never be too sure...

Usually I would avoid these so-called “games” at all costs, in an attempt to keep myself from flashing back to the sixth grade, when I spent my entire summer mass producing chain letters to save myself from certain doom. But, I’ve matured since then, so let the interrogation begin...

"Three Things"

3 essentials I'd find in your purse/bag or desk:

  • germ-X
  • Digital Thermometer
  • Spearmint ChapStick

3 people who make you laugh:

  • Larry David
  • Cartman
  • Bob Wiley

3 fears you have:

  • Organ collapse
  • Dirty bathrooms
  • Swallowing my tongue

3 goals in the coming year:

  • Don’t die
  • Don’t die
  • Don’t die

3 things that move you to tears:

  • Parties
  • Panic Attacks
  • People I don’t know

3 foods you love:

  • Mexican
  • Mexican
  • Mexican
  • Mexican

3 places you’ve been that were beautiful:

  • Jungles of Jamaica
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

3 experiences that have changed you forever:

  • Drugs (not the legal ones)
  • My brother's diagnosis of cancer
  • MS breakdown last March

3 regrets:

  • N/A

3 things you have to have daily:

  • Heart attack
  • Panic attack
  • Mexican food

3 other blogs you read:

So there you have it, welcome to my humble little life. Michelle and Kristen you’re up.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

From Panic to Power

That's the plan, (and the name of the book that I started reading tonight). I don't dogmatically subscribe to any philosophy, but I like a good motivational read, and think there are good concepts in most theories.

I intend to post my thoughts and reactions on what's presented in the book. I've only finished the first chapter, but it's an easy read and I can already relate to the author.
Lucinda Bassett closes it up with this list of "Five Techniques Toward Recovery:"
  • Begin by being compassionate, patient and gentle with yourself. Stop thinking, saying and doing things that make you feel bad, anxious, or upset with yourself.
  • Give yourself credit for any success. The simple act of buying this book shows that you are ready for change. Praise yourself for even the smallest accomplishments.
  • Keep an open mind. No matter who you are or what you've been through, I believe you can be helped. But you must want help. You must want to get better. You must want to take responsibility for yourself, something I'll talk about later in the book.
  • Don't overreact to you anxious feelings. Instead of fighting them, listen to them. Are you tired? Are you scaring yourself with your thoughts? Relax and let them pass...and they will.
  • Keep a journal. Note when you feel anxious, note when you feel good. Write down what you were doing, who you were with, what you just ate, and what time of day it was. This will help you see if there is a pattern to your anxious episodes. I think you will find that there is.
Not a bad list. I should definitely give myself more credit and stop overracting to anxious feelings. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Toro, Toro

This weekend has been pretty mellow. No panic attacks, no heart attacks, at least no major ones.

Kristen linked to a good site,, that gave the analogy of a panic attack as a dog who will only chase you if you run. It also explains that the sensations of the panic attack are completely normal and harmless, but what is abnormal is the anxious person's reaction to it.

Apparently, people who experience these attacks are extremely courageous, creative and on the verge of genius-hood. Well, maybe not the last one, but they do say that panic can be exhilarating if you embrace it properly.

So, here I am, like the matador waiving the red flag. Panic, come and get me!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My Brain: Starring in "The Computer Dilemma"

Everyday at 5:00 p.m., I gleefully exit the office and thank God that I’m one day closer to the weekend. And everyday, just like clockwork, when I hit that elevator button to take me out of my misery, my brain goes into a psychobabble of, “holy-shit-did-I-forget-to-log-off-my-computer,” which resembles something close to the following:

Huh, did I log off my computer?
I think I forgot to log off my computer.
I wouldn’t forget that.
But, if I did, the janitors will see it.
If the janitors see it, they’ll use it to go on the net.
If they go on the net, they’ll look at porn.
If they look at porn, IT will find out.
If IT finds out, they’ll think I’m a perv.
If they think I’m a perv, they’ll tell my supervisor.
If they tell my supervisor, I’ll get fired.
If I get fired for being a perv, no one will hire me.
If no one hires me, I won’t be able to pay my bills.
If I can’t pay my bills, I’ll have to live on the streets.
If I live on the streets, I’ll become a drug addict.
If I become a drug addict, I’ll die a lonely death and no one will care!!!

(It’s about here, that the elevator doors open. And, I shamefully mumble a lame, “I forgot something,” and turn to reenter the office. I get to my cube, which is adorned in, “PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THIS DESK” signs, and as usual, find my computer safely logged off. Once again, I attempt to exit the office, but as I leave…)

Hmm, was my computer really logged off.
I saw it. It was definitely logged off.

But, I was in such a hurry, what if I just thought it was logged off.
If it wasn’t logged off…

Well, you get the picture.

Hit the Nail on the Head

I crossed a site this morning that defined anxiety in a way that I could really relate to, and unlike any site I’ve seen before. Most definitions of anxiety go something like, “a state of uneasiness and apprehension,” then go on to give a list of synonyms like worry, distress, nervousness and botheration. (I have no idea what that last one means). Such an empty explanation for something so complicated. It’s like defining war as, “two countries fighting.”

This site is different; it defines anxiety by breaking it down into three categories: mental, physical and dissociative. It explains that individuals experience some or all of these symptoms at varying degrees. I can relate to all of them; mental being the preoccupation with things going wrong; physical being the tight chest, sweaty palms and shortness of breath; but what really hit home for me, was the dissociative element.

It’s defined on the site as this:

Where certain feelings or thoughts appear separated from you or your personality. Symptoms include - depersonalisation, (the feeling that your body is strange or you are somehow removed from it), derealisation, (the feeling that the world is weird or unreal), narrowing of the time-frame, (so that only now matters), mental confusion, (adding to disorganised and ineffective behaviour), your mind 'playing tricks on you', repeated waves of emotion, occasional sense of dread, emotional numbing, episodes of amnesia. 'Mini-mood swings' are common, i.e. where normal day-to-day changes in mood are exaggerated by your anxious state. Understandably, such symptoms are disconcerting and can make you feel that you are losing grip with reality.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

It goes on to explain that anxiety manifests itself in several different ways, (unfortunately, many of which I know first hand): GAD, Panic Attacks, Phobias, Compulsions, P.T.S.D., Hypochondria, Psychosomatic Illness, and defines each one in simple and relatable terms.

It’s comforting to see my feelings put into words by someone else. It’s the ultimate reassurance that others actually do experience the same craziness that I do.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm Freaking Out

I’m at work and I keep getting sharp shooting pains in different parts of my head. I’m trying to ignore them and stay calm, but I think I’m having a stroke. I can’t go to the bathroom or take a walk because I’m afraid I’ll pass out and die. Rey is in class, so I can’t call him. I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m starting to hyperventilate. Help!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This is a First

Now I know why I’ve been under the weather and more anxious than usual. I’m suffering from the Let-Down Effect. Here’s the gist:

It's most commonly noticed after the completion of a stressful project of any sort — training for an athletic event, working to get that proposal in at work, getting through the crush of the holiday season — and just in time for a weekend, a holiday, a vacation, or even retirement, you get sick.

This has got to be the first time I’ve self-diagnosed myself with a disorder that doesn’t lead to death. Although I'm not sure what this means:

The body feels it has some sort of infection going on, and rather than sending in a couple of marines, it sends in the whole brigade," says Schoen. "The effect is, the body has far more inflammation than it needs. There are too many marines in one spot. And with too much inflammation in one spot, it begins to whittle down the body's systems and organs.

Whittle down organs? Maybe that liver pain isn't cirrhosis, but my immune system slowly eating away at my liver. I'm off to look for some stress releiving techniques.

Easier Said than Done

I'm always a sucker for a good motivational quote, so here it is:

A bar of iron costs $5, made into horseshoes its worth is $12, made into needles its worth is $3,500, made into balance springs for watches, its worth is $300,000. Your own value is determined also by what you are able to make of yourself.
- Anonymous

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm a Brit

At heart, at least. I never realized the Brits were so stressed. I like to imagine them living in this trendy, worry-free existence where they drink beer at lunch and take afternoon siestas. But after surfing the net, it seems I’m completely disconnected once again.

This is just one of the many blurbs I stumbled upon about the the high level of anxiety in the UK:

If, however, you are today so highly strung that you are losing your grip, then you can feel happily at one with the times. And if you were stranded at Heathrow in the fog and have only just emerged from a full-blown anxiety attack, you can consider yourself a true Brit.

I like their way of thinking—“happily at one with the times,” “a true Brit.” That’s what I call positive thinking. Lax drug laws, free health care, good beer—London here I come.

Monday, January 08, 2007

And She's Off

I had a massive panic attack last night. It wasn’t quite as bad as the attack last March, when I did my best Exorcist impression, but it was definitely a runner-up. For three straight hours, I was wholly convinced that I was forgetting to breathe. You read that right, forgetting to breathe.

There we were, relaxing in our China robes, watching Star Wars Episode II and everything was seemingly fine; maybe even great, until the clock struck 9:11 p.m., and I commenced to freak-the-f#%k-out.

It was as if the living room suddenly turned into the Gravitron. I was dizzy and my vision was blurred. My chest felt like it was being crushed by a thousand pounds. I couldn’t breathe. I felt disoriented, disconnected, like I was about to swallow my tongue.

But it didn’t come and go, like they usually do. I walked around the house, checked my temperature, inspected myself in the mirror, tried to breathe deep; and after twenty minutes of no relief, I found myself on the couch in a full-blown emotional break-down.

The next couple hours are a blur. I couldn’t calm down, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t do anything but cry and hyperventilate. It’s hard to describe the mind-set and emotions that go along with a panic attack. Put plainly, it’s terrifying.

All logic goes out the window and emotion takes it's place. It's like you believe deep down that something is seriously wrong, when it's clearly not.


Need a shoulder to cry worry on? You're in luck! For the very low price of $1.99 per minute (first five minutes free, of course) you can talk to a professional worrier, who will put your mind at ease. Allegedly.

According to The Worry Club CEO—and no I didn’t make that up—here are a few reasons you should call:

You worry about things that you recognize most people do not worry about (such as little things around your home).

You find it very difficult to stop worrying, and cannot relax as a result.

Your worry rarely results in your reaching a possible solution for a particular problem.

You worry about not being worried, or worry when everything is going well in your life.

You worry about relationships, family or friends.

You worry and have stress related to work.

At first I was skeptical, but then I read this:

The point is, we actually save you money. No driving to find a local free therapist or community service organization, no traffic, no paper work, insurance forms, private and confidential, helpful and available 27/7. (that is not a typo).

Lets face it, your stress and worries is making your life hard, and it affects your life and those around you. For just a few dollars, you can speak to a professional that can help make your life more manageable, help you feel better and offer you a neutral ear to help you regain your life.

I guess it can't be a rip off if they're saving me money! For the record, the term professional is being used fast and loose here. Bonnie, the CEO, has a B.S. in psychology, but the other professional worriers have degrees in mathematics, sports medicine, biology, business administration and marketing.

Oh wait, I've got an idea, email me your worries and diseases, plus the low amount of $50, and I'll take them on as my very own for the entire year! On the other hand, if you prefer the professionals, they can be reached here or at 1-866-WORRY4U.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Keen Eye for the Obvious

Is your hypo-cred in doubt? This in-depth test will clear things right up. Here’s a peek at mine:
  1. Do you worry about your health more than most people do? Yes/No

Not at all. Unless by “worry” you mean checking for my pulse 48 times a day and freaking out when my temperature is two-tenths of a degree higher/lower than normal.

  1. If you've been ill and someone tells you you're looking better, do you feel annoyed? Yes/No

Like when I’m in the midst of a heart attack or suffering from bird flu and my boyfriend says I’m fine and calls me a sissy? Slightly.

  1. Are you bothered by many aches and pains? Yes/No

Just the everyday lung pains and stabbing sensations in the head and chest…but, it’s more the numbness and dizziness that scare me.

  1. Do you think there is something seriously wrong with your body? Yes/No

Only if you think MS, Breast Cancer and Brain Tumors fall under the category of serious.

  1. Do you spend most of your time thinking about yourself and your health, rather than other people or things?

I’m the sick one, shouldn’t they be thinking about me?

  1. Do you feel that other people are not paying enough attention to your illnesses?

I’m still in the closet.

  1. Do you think the doctor is lying when he/she tells you there is nothing wrong with you? Yes/No

Hmmm, I wouldn’t say lying. More like guessing.

  1. If you hear about a disease, are you afraid of getting it? Yes/No

Not until I get the symptoms.

  1. Do you worry often that you may have a serious illness? Yes/No

I would describe it more as obsessing.

  1. Do you have many different types of symptoms? Yes/No

As many as my diseases call for.

Thanks guys, but it’s not the diagnosis I’m having trouble with; it’s the solution.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

News You Don't Need

Here I am minding my own business, getting ready for the playoffs, making a stew, and fighting Diabetes, Parkinsons and Cirrhosis, when I innocently check my email. And what do I find? Oh, nothing. Nothing, but a newsletter from WebMD with the headline Sudden Death Gene Strikes Women Most. Wait, it gets better, this is the lead paragraph:

"Women are more likely than men to carry -- and to pass on -- mutant genes that cause long-QT syndrome, a defect in the heart's electrical system linked to sudden death, according to new research."

Mutant gene? Sudden death? And I'm the crazy one for thinking that I could suddenly drop dead at any time. Oh, how I want my innocence back. I struggled before posting this because I didn't want to freak anybody out, but then I realized I can't bear this burden alone. Is this WebMD's idea of a sick joke?


It Was Fun While it Lasted

Well, according to this article, caffeine is the main culprit for panic attacks. Although, I don't know how much credence I give to someone who had one panic attack five years ago. And, I don't think this "recipe for beating panic attacks" is for people like me, who experience them on a daily basis. Besides, I gave up coffee for six months without any noticable benefits.

Give me a few more attacks in exchange for a lower risk of Cirrhosis, Diabetes and Parkinsons, any day.

Friday, January 05, 2007

They’re Baaaccckkkk

Not that they were ever really gone, I suppose, but now that the holidays are over and the social anxiety has subsided a bit, the panic attacks and hypochondria are in full swing.

I’m in a constant state of, “OH MY GOD, I’M HAVING A HEART ATTACK.” Every time I turn around it’s a racing heart, tight chest, loss of breath, blurred vision, numbness in the limbs, confusion, shooting pains in various parts of the body.

I feel like I’m living in a permanent state of hypersensitivity—or as Rey would say, “sissy-ness.” Every little pang and twinge stops the world and takes me seconds from death. If my eye twitches, it’s a heart attack. If I have trouble swallowing, heart attack. My foot falls asleep, heart attack. I feel myself breathe, heart attack.

It’s insane. I must have had fifteen heart attacks last night. And what kills me is that I really believe, I mean believe, that I’m having a heart attack each time. I just want to punch myself in the face for being so dense.

My Hero

It was a tad premature to announce my divorce from alcohol. According to WebMD drinking at least two cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of Cirrhosis by 80%. But wait, that's not all. Coffee also significantly reduces the risk of Diabetes, Parkinsons, helps manage asthma and even prevents cavaties.

Of course, in two years all this research will probably be debunked, but hey, two years of healthy living is fine by me. And what good fortune for this article to cross my desk on a Friday. It's fate. Guinness for dinner it is!


I haven't been shy about my apprehension towards medication. But I must say that recent online discussions and articles have started to sway my opinion. Apparently, many people have achieved tangible results through this method of treatment. So, I thought I'd post this article, in case anyone is interested.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I'm Never Drinking Again

This is not a bad attempt at a New Years resolution, but an effort to save my own life. I woke up on Sunday with an intense aching in the mid-lower region of the left side of my back. Not aching in the sense that I had a tight muscle, because I just can't get away from the gym, but ache in the sense that an organ was on the verge of bursting.

At first I thought, " Okay, maybe I slept weird, or last night's alcohol is getting to me," and figured it would just go away in a couple hours. Ha! It's still here. Two days later. And although I'm not even sure where the liver is located, I'm certain that this "ache," (which has actually turned into more of a piercing), is a premature sign of Cirrhosis.

So, off I went to WebMD, to find out exactly what this disease is all about. To my surprise, Cirrhosis is the seventh leading cause of death by disease, and women who are "heavy" drinkers are at a higher risk.

Okay, I'm definitely a woman and definitely a drinker. But now I'm wondering what exactly they mean by "heavy." They go onto elaborate...alcohol abuse is considered more than two drinks a day. A drink being a 5 ounce glass of wine, a 12 ounce can of beer, or 1 1/2 ounces of hard liquor.

Two drinks a day? One, two? On an average day, I don't even have my socks off by the time I've got the second one down. I'm screwed. And scared. I figure I need about twenty years of abstinence from alcohol to make up for the last five.