So long as I was smoking, I would never reach the point where there would be nothing more to be done. Emmett Rensin on the peculiar self-management of anxiety.
In the early 1960's, drugs like LSD and psilocybin found their way out of university labs and onto the street -- and their value as medicine was lost as their status as protest and party drugs emerged. Mass recreational use, conservative political forces and a continuing media frenzy ensured the vilification of hallucinogens – until drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms were completely outlawed in 1970. Serious medical research would not begin again until the early 21st century, four decades later.Turn on, tune in, and heal thyself - CBC's Ideas presents High Culture, a 3-hour (2--3) series examining the use of psychedelics to curb anxiety, alcoholism, and depression. [more inside]
"What is Social Anxiety Disorder?": The Atlantic's Olga Khazan interviews Stefan G. Hofmann, the director of the Social Anxiety Program at Boston University. (SLTheAtlantic)
You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide "This is meant to be an interactive flow chart for people who struggle with self care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals. It's designed to take as much of the weight off of you as possible, so each decision is very easy and doesn't require much judgment."
Do recipes for moist cakes make your skin clammy? Did that article about hardscrabble pugilists leave you nauseated? Do you feel super-embarrassed (YT) when you have to say completely innocent words like onus or cunning or bean curd out loud? Or even in writing? If so, you are far from alone! Word aversion, or logomisia, is an extremely common phenomenon that affects up to one in five (links to PDF) of us, and it's extremely contagious. [more inside]
"Since I was a little girl I’ve been afraid of monsters. I’d put garlic on my window ledge to ward off vampires and sage in the corners to protect me from zombies. Even as a young adult I lay on my ratty futon surrounded by library books terrified someone or something would break into my apartment. After my daughter was born, my fear escalated. I’d check the front door several times a day to make sure the deadbolt was secure and the chain latched. At night I lay in the dark, my mind sending out waves of panic."
"What you want to avoid is panic. What you want to teach yourself is that you deserve better than lying alone in a dark room, imagining yourself buried." || Diana Spechler for NYT's Opinionator: 10 Things I'd Tell My Former (Medicated) Self, the final installment in Going Off, a series of essays recounting the challenges Spechler has faced in gradually discontinuing her regimen of psychiatric medications.
Teachers and administrators still rely overwhelmingly on outdated systems of reward and punishment, using everything from red-yellow-green cards, behavior charts, and prizes to suspensions and expulsions. [... ] But consequences have consequences. Contemporary psychological studies suggest that, far from resolving children's behavior problems, these standard disciplinary methods often exacerbate them. They sacrifice long-term goals (student behavior improving for good) for short-term gain—momentary peace in the classroom. What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?
"Child actor-turned-maligned-Star-Trek-character-turned-geek-icon Wil Wheaton has been fairly open about his struggles with mental illness and depression. But for those who haven’t heard about that side of his life before, Project UROK spoke with the actor/writer about the way his anxiety affects him and why he eventually chose to seek help. We’re debuting that interview exclusively here on The A.V. Club." By Caroline Siede; direct YouTube link. [more inside]
"Joint flexibility is an oft-coveted trait that provides a special advantage to dancers and athletes, but there can be too much of this good thing. A growing body of research suggests a surprising link between high levels of flexibility and anxiety. A study published last year in the journal Frontiers in Psychology is among the most recent to confirm the association, finding that people with hypermobile joints have heightened brain activity in anxiety regions."
The myth of the pregnant mother who is high on hormones has had considerable staying power. Something sentimental in us likes the notion that the physical discomfort of pregnancy is outweighed by the thrill of nurturing a new life within your own body...We have not acknowledged how appropriately anxiety-ridden pregnancy is, how traumatic the change in identity that accompanies prospective motherhood can be. (slnyt) [more inside]
SLNYT - Suicdal treatment-resistant depression vs. DBT One man's experience with dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. Previously, and again. [more inside]
Joyable’s website, full of affable sans serifs and cheery salmon rectangles, looks Pinterest-esque, at least in its design. Except its text didn’t discuss eye glasses or home decor but “evidence-based” methods shown to reduce social anxiety. I knew those phrases: “Evidence-based” is the watchword of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, the treatment now considered most effective for certain anxiety disorders. Joyable dresses a psychologists’s pitch in a Bay Area startup’s clothes.
For the past few years, a small group of psychiatrists, researchers, educators, and game designers have run a quiet but intense footrace to become the first to earn FDA approval for a medically sound, prescription-strength video game for ADHD. That’s not a metaphor. They are seeking approval for a game that a doctor can actually prescribe..In this excerpt from his new book, posted on Medium, journalist Greg Toppo discusses a variety of new neurogames and how they may in the future treat conditions like ADHD and anxiety, strengthen skills like multitasking and mindfulness, and reduce the need for pharmaceutical interventions for children. (Fair warning, the article has an animated header image that may annoy, so you may want to scroll right on down past it before you start reading.)
Full stack employees have an insatiable appetite for new ideas, best practices, and ways to be more productive and happy. They’re curious about the world, what makes it work, and how to make their mark on it. It’s this aspect above others that defines and separates the full stack employee from previous generations. Full stack employees can’t put blinders on once they land a job; instead they must stay up on developments in their industry and others, because they know that innovation is found at the boundaries between disciplines, not by narrowly focusing in one sphere.Is the Full Stack Employee the future of workers, the glorification of privileged generalists or maybe just another expression of anxiety in the New Economy (tm)?
A recent study suggests younger women who have heart attacks may hesitate to get help because they’re afraid of being labeled hypochondriacs. But the bigger problem is just how justified that fear really is. - Is medicine's gender bias killing young women? [Pacific Standard] [more inside]
So says Dan Grupe in this article about Emily 'Dear Prudence' Yoffe, anxiety and the stress of not knowing.
Eddie Marritz, a cinematographer and photographer in remission from small-cell carcinoma, was a participant in one of NYU's Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety research studies. Marritz, and the researchers, take us through the experience. Magic Mushrooms and the Healing Trip. (7 min) [more inside]
For no particular reason we’ve started sending emails to see who can make the other person experience the most profound sense of dread and panic.
Taking care of your vulva is easy (hint: do almost nothing). (Warning: frank talk about genitals, nsfw.)
I had to rearrange everything I knew to allow myself to look up the number for a psychiatrist, and rearrange even more to actually make the call. It takes courage and strength to look the stigma of being medicated in the face and push through it, to persist because you care about feeling whole and happy and calm more than you care about what other people think. Loving yourself enough to take care of yourself when it is easier not to is a revolutionary act.Tracy Clayton (a/k/a @BrokeyMcPoverty) for BuzzFeed: When Taking Anxiety Medication Is A Revolutionary Act.
And so I became a revolutionary.
Based on a comparison of suicide rates at sea level and at areas above 2,000 feet, living at a high altitude may make people 30% more likely to commit suicide. Neuroscientist Perry Renshaw believes that it's due to the impact of altitude on the brain.
We are all very anxious - how constant observation and mass precarity undermine our ability to change and resist. [more inside]
In short, I have, since the age of about 2, been a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears, and neuroses. And I have, since the age of 10, when I was first taken to a mental hospital for evaluation and then referred to a psychiatrist for treatment, tried in various ways to overcome my anxiety. Surviving Anxiety.
Discover how to get out of bed and do things again with these spiffy new tips from 21 Comics That Capture the Frustrations of Depression! Or pull a blanket over your head and pretend you're the last person on earth curled up in a nice, warm cave. Whatever.
Artist Toby Allen has created fantastic faces for monsters which many are all too familiar with: Anxiety, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression, Paranoia, Dissociative Identity Disorder, And Social Anxiety. [via]
John William Keedy is a photographer who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder 9 years ago. Since then, he's been thinking of thoughts and feelings that are considered not "normal," and he has displayed some of these thoughts in a series of photos titled It’s Hardly Noticeable. Wired's Raw File has larger images and more thoughts from Keedy.
Why the bacteria in food like yogurt may be the answer to anxiety and depression. Probiotic-rich food is good for your gut, but it may also be good for your brain, say researchers.
The correlation discovered at Otago University between the number of romantic partners you have and substance abuse [more inside]
"Which is another way of saying that Facebook is George Costanza's worst nightmare: It enforces, second by second, the collision of worlds."
Are Your Facebook Friends Stressing You Out? (Yes.) - "The finding, which is similar to one determined last year, is nice as a headline: It's both unexpected (friends! stressing you out! ha!) and ironic (the currency of the social web, taking value rather than adding it!). What's interesting, though, is the why of the matter: the idea that, the report theorizes, the wider your Facebook network, the more likely it is that something you say or do on the site will end up offending one of that network's members... Unsurprisingly, per the study's survey of more than 300 Facebook users, 'adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.'" [more inside]
Royce White is a professional American basketball player who suffers from general anxiety disorder. Though he was considered one of the best talents in last year's NBA draft, he was not selected until the 16th pick, due to concerns over his mental health and his avowed reluctance to fly. Although the NBA season is only a couple of weeks old, White and his team, the Houston Rockets, are already having difficulty determining how to manage his health while meeting the professional demands of the NBA. LINKS: Documentary highlighting White's anxiety // Highlights of White while at Iowa State // White's Twitter account (where he is currently tweeting about his situation)
"... bitterness, instead of a form of disillusionment, is really the refusal to give up your childhood illusions of importance" - Brian Jay Stanley
"Always remember that beautiful experiences and massive amounts of love are on their way. If you are able to feel pain and sadness this profoundly, more than most people can ever imagine, remind yourself that you can feel happiness and joy and love this profoundly as well, and that’s our little reward as depressed people. We feel things harder than other people do, and when those things are negative they are complete and total torture. But while we feel pain harder than other people have to, we feel beauty and joy and love harder than anyone else gets to, and that’s the victory that’s waiting on the other side of this pain for you. Hang on. Be tough. Better times are coming. Beautiful things and loving people are already out there, and when this cloud passes you get to experience them all so, so deeply." -Comedian Chris Gethard addresses an anonymous fan contemplating suicide (Trigger warning: discussion of suicide) [more inside]
The Medical School at the University of California, San Francisco “presents Mini Medical School for the Public, a series of programs providing an opportunity to learn about health and the health sciences directly from UCSF faculty members and other nationally-recognized experts.” Videos particularly geared toward integrative medicine and healthy living can be found here. (Most of the videos are between sixty and ninety minutes long.) [more inside]
"We worry. Nearly one in five Americans suffer from anxiety. For many, it is not a disorder, but a part of the human condition. This series explores how we navigate the worried mind, through essay, art and memoir." The New York Times is running a series of short memoirs written by sufferers of anxiety disorder. From the ways anxiety affects daily life to what happens when it's part of a marriage, many different angles are explored. (Previously)
Thus began my descent into the world of acronyms...bewildered doctors, frustrated psychologists, and a three-ring circus of pharmaceutical adventures.
The dining room was jammed to the fleur-de-lis wallpaper with red-faced white guys in blue suits and harried looking waiters in penguin costumes. Not my crowd. I remember hearing a muffled “linguine Alfredo” and the clinking of glasses at another table, and then the film snaps. This, as I’ve come to think of it, was the moment my first life stopped, where the film broke and the reel spun around and around, flogging itself.Jokers Wild: Author Paul Vandevelder's contribution to the NYT(online)'s Anxiety series, featuring an illustration by Finnish artist Tommi Musturi.
I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know. Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day.Tim Kreider: The ‘Busy’ Trap.
Photographer Stefano Bonazzi's series Smoke, where nude subjects vanish into the air.
Boggle is worried about you! Boggle is also an owl. A cartoon owl offers advice about depression, anxiety and surviving abuse. [more inside]
Cartoonist and Essayist Tim Kreider on the soothing effect of dangerous situations. (NYT)
"Researchers at McMaster University have conclusive evidence that bacteria residing in the gut influence brain chemistry and behaviour. [...] To confirm that bacteria can influence behaviour, the researchers colonized germ-free mice with bacteria taken from mice with a different behavioural pattern. They found that when germ-free mice with a genetic background associated with passive behaviour were colonized with bacteria from mice with higher exploratory behaviour, they became more active and daring. Similarly, normally active mice became more passive after receiving bacteria from mice whose genetic background is associated with passive behaviour." [more inside]
Dr. Rob Dobrienski is a Manhattan therapist who blogs with honesty and humor on shrinktalk.net about his practice and topics interesting to both laypersons with an interest in psychology and therapy as well as therapists in current practice. [more inside]
The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
Is the contemporary epidemic of mental illness fueled by useless or even harmful anti-depressants and other psychoactive drugs? A review of books by Irving Kirsch, Robert Whitaker, and Daniel Carlat, notes that per Kirsch, "[a]n active placebo is one that itself produces side effects...there was no difference between the antidepressant and the active placebo" (new research claims very severe cases are different). Whitaker argues that psychoactive drugs may actively "disturb neurotransmitter function" and cause mental illnesses which a mounting cascade of drugs are then needed to manage. (previously, previously)
Anger, Politics and the Wisdom of Uncertainty - "If there's somebody or even some institution to blame, it turns out people are much more likely to get angry... anger tends to inspire individuals to engage in more political activities than they would otherwise... Without someone to blame, respondents mostly just grow fearful and anxious... A particular danger of anger seems to be closed-mindedness. Research finds that when citizens get angry, they close themselves off to alternative views and redouble their sense of conviction in their existing views. Fear and anxiety, on the other hand, seem to promote openness to alternative viewpoints and a willingness to compromise." (via) [more inside]
Master painter of the anxious, alienated, mysterious and sublime, George Tooker : August 5, 1920 – March 27, 2011
The Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Effexor, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, Restoril, Xanax, Adderall, Ritalin, Haldol, Risperdal, Seroquel, Ambien, Lunesta, Elavil, Trazodone War New York Magazine's Jennifer Senior writes on prescription drug (ab)use among soldiers and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. [more inside]
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