Monthly Archives: August 2012

Anxiety Attacks America!

i just got this from my friend jack and he’s agreed that it’s okay for me to share!

 

By Jack Spatafora, today at 9:46 am

So what’s all this about the National Institute of Health reporting, “More than 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety each year, many in the form of anxiety attacks.” What’s with this label ‘attack?’ I can understand a shark attack, a heart attack, an attack of indigestion, but how does anxiety attack…?

If you can’t answer that, be glad. You don’t want to know! It’s defined as a sudden onslaught of symptoms that can unexpectedly paralyze you with an inexplicable mix of fearfulness, self consciousness, depersonalization, dizziness, sweating, nausea, and a cold crawling panic about your immediate surroundings.

Case in point this last summer. A well-known Broadway actor suffering from chronic anxiety attacks was rushed from backstage to an ER with these symptoms. The staff told him it was a mild heart attack. He remembers sitting up and telling them, “Thank god, I thought it was going to be an anxiety attack!”

Two schools of thought about psychiatric illnesses. One is the traditional, up-by-your-own-bootstraps bravado which dismisses these as “it’s all in your mind.” Ironically, that’s the point! The mind still remains largely a mystery to us, and so too its many diseases and cures. You can keep a smile-on-your-face and whistle-a-happy-tune from here to forever, but that won’t change either here or forever. Panic attacks have been plaguing the human species since the beginning but cavalierly dismissed as: weakness, foolishness, or the work of the devil.

Modern societies have learned otherwise; however, this learning has not always seeped down to where the boys belly up to the bar and the ladies who lunch scoff at their suffering peers. There are many plagues across the land. The terrible ones you can see like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. Then the even more terrible ones you can’t see.

It took a war to finally recognize post-traumatic-disorder. Now what’s it going to take…?

http://www.chicagonow.com/taking-a-second-look/2012/08/anxiety-attacks-are-now-attacking-america/

 


leann rimes, twitter addiction, and my facebook friend marty gerendasy

i’m totally in depression and denial!  leann rimes–the country singer, actress and homewrecker–is in rehab.  quel horreur!  quel surprise!

leann and husband eddie cibrian in happier times. both left their spouses for each other. leann tweets pictures of her bikini clad self, tweets about eddie, tweets more pictures of her bikini clad self, tweets about eddie’s children from his marriage to brandi granville, tweets more of those pictures, and gets into tweet fights with individuals in her fan club. two of those tweet fights were with supporters of eddie’s first wife and they were recorded without leann’s knowledge.  argh, what a mess.  if you tweet a lot does that make you a twit?

 

the reason for her rehab stint?  the publicist’s word is “exhaustion, anxiety and stress” which is, well, what do you think it stands for?

husband eddie has been begging leann to give up twitter.  he is particularly appalled that she allows her twitter life to intersect with her real one–meeting people who follow her on twitter.  she is addicted.  i’m not sure if i am quite so addicted but i do understand and sympathize with her.

still, facebook friend #328 (the 328th facebook friend i’ve met since making my new year’s resolution in january 2011) marty gerendasy makes a habit of seeking out people he wants to meet.  whether through facebook, the newspaper, the internet–he looks for what is interesting.  and i hadn’t realized how long we had been friends.


i wish leann all health and a supportive marriage, friendship and a great career.  and maybe it’s time to put aside the twittering.  but i hope leann doesn’t lose the curiosity about the world and her ability to interact with it.  as for losing her husband. . .

eddie was in the blink and you’ve missed it series “the playboy club” — since i’m not going to post pictures of leann in a bikini, you’ll just have to be titillated by this picture of eddie and his costar laura benanti.


the facebook lunch bunch — and mark’s invited!

i’ve just booked tickets for a florida facebook visit.  i will start with tallahassee and i will tour the florida state meeting facebook friends!  but this past week i went back to bolingbrook, illinois in order to attend a meeting of the facebook lunch bunch.

this is not what we had for dessert but one of the things i’ll be doing in florida is learning to bake a cake. maybe i should send it to mark zuckerberg. he’s certainly having a rough time of it — facebook shares have dropped from their high of $38 to $19. that means he’s only a billionaire as opposed to being a gazillionaire. a cake would definitely cheer him up. but maybe it cheers him up to know he’s doing great things for people. . . like the lunch bunch!

when i started meeting my facebook friends, i wanted to just meet my friends out from behind the computer.  when i am on facebook, i might give the appearance of having a very confident, together life because that’s the image my facebook profile picture gives.  so does everybody else’s.  really though?  i’m in my pajamas, my hair is a rat’s nest, and i feel like a failure.  maybe there’s a little bit of that in all of us.

the first time we met as a quartet of facebook friends, one of our members couldn’t leave the house. so we had lunch there. this time, that member picked a place a few blocks outside of the “safe” zone. it was a chili’s. it was nice to have lunch and have no worries of being judged, having to make an impression, having to act like–well–like we lived up to our facebook profile picture and our record at gemville or farmvill or mafia wars!

next time maybe you should join us!  especially you, mark!  i understand that some business pundits are calling on you to resign.  it’s gotta be rough, and i say, just come to the chili’s and have lunch with us!


what happens in vegas, goes EVERYWHERE!

dear h.,

loved the fact that you had fun in vegas.  a trip there with the friends before returning to afghanistan?  all on it.  naked billiards?  well, i wouldn’t do it because my naked flesh would alarm all participants, but i’m fifty two.  you’re young and gorgeous and i happen to know that for a fact because i’ve seen the pictures.

just before my facebook friend reggie (on the left) was deployed to afghanistan — after two tours in iraq — i went with him and vince p. (on the right) to vegas. i will only admit to losing money at the black jack tables and reading an uplifting book in bed by my lonesome by ten every night. i’m sure reggie and vince read uplifting tomes as well.

maybe your youth can explain the terrific naivete in believing the oft repeated truism that what happens in vegas stays in vegas.  but please, h., that’s just a saying.

there is no privacy.  no way to keep pictures from reaching tmz.com or radaronline.com or even just your grandmother who has a facebook account of her own.  what i find interesting in meeting my facebook friends is that ninety nine percent understand that everything they post and comment and like and twitter and update is going to be seen by everybody.

the pictures have even been published in the sun! but there’s some good news. . . .

h, it’s been a rough week–your girlfriend chelsy has broke up with you, your grandmother is all in a snit, they’ve made you and your cohorts take down your facebook accounts–that was such a cute code name spike wells!

on the other hand, you received a ten million dollar offer to headline a vegas show and you’re so adorable that you’ve got close to 20,000 “likes” on a facebook page devoted to giving you a royal salute:

the facebook page has people posting all sorts of fun pictures of themselves giving the “harry salute”

the facebook page “support prince harry with a royal salute” is sort of fun.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/336283586466687/

in any event, h., i really mean to say, do what you want in vegas as long as it’s consensual and everybody turns in their cell phones before the party gets started.  i appreciate your service in afghanistan and the fact that you’ve never shirked your duties.  and if it weren’t for the minor vagaries of cellulite and gravity, i’d salute you myself!

 

bestest, arlynn

 


it’s been a great summer for my friend mark zuckerberg

so lots of folks are frowning about facebook.  the social media network built in mark zuckerberg’s harvard university dorm room in 2004 offered up its shares to the public in may.  at the opening bell, it was trading at $38 per share and expectations were high.  it was the most anticipated of ipo’s!

since then, share prices have plummeted to less than $20 as i write.  board member and one of facebook’s biggest investors peter thiel sold off 80% of his shares today and that’s gotta hurt.  thiel was an early angel to the company, with a $500,000 check.  he’s going to end up with over a billion dollars.  that is so much more of a return on investment than i netted when my ex husband and i sold the family home this summer.  and i don’t see any articles on cnn.com about what a lousy investment the presser family made in real estate.

dustin moskovitz, one of facebook’s cofounders, is selling 7 million shares today, netting him about $9 million. that sounds like a defection, like a friendship issue. but it’s not. moskovitz still has 126 million shares, or about $2.4 billion in the company. so mark, don’ t hit the “defriend” button!

 

but let’s look at mark’s summer.  and facebook’s summer.

mark and his girlfriend priscilla chan married a few days after the ipo in may. contrary to the storyline of “the social network” mark and priscilla were an item beginning even before facebook was started. he’ll always know she loves him for himself! and she graduated from medical school this year and is pursuing her own dream of being a pediatrician. what a happy couple! i have no idea where my “save the date” postcard and my invite went. but that engraved toaster i got you at bloomingdale’s is on its way!

so on a personal note, mark is having a great summer.  and professionally?  well, he’s young and he’s created something so amazing that he could walk away and everybody would still think he’s a genius.

but is he going to walk away?  no.  just because facebook (and the other social network systems) have been overvalued doesn’t mean there’s a fundamental problem.  it just means that some people were a little overenthusiastic.  a social network’s only asset is information about its users.  the only thing facebook owns is information about you–your pictures, your posts, that status update–that it can sell to advertisers.  there’s never been a company model quite like facebook, groupon, zynga, linkedin before.  it’s to be expected some mistakes would happen in figuring out how to value information about its users.

but with mistakes comes opportunity.  the price is dropping.  some analysts think facebook is going to settle around $12 a share and that still leaves mark zuckerberg incredibly wealthy.

mark and priscilla have lived in this home for quite a while. it’s big, to be sure, but not quite what you would expect for a gazillionaire. and i respect that the two of them handed out candy at halloween on their own. they’re pretty regular, all things considered.

and here’s the great thing about the shares settling in the teens–it means that mark can look forward to regular type folks investing in facebook.  including me!

see you at the board meeting, mark!

 

 

 


they never call, they never write. . .

. . . and they don’t text, email, post on my facebook page, invite me to their linkedIn network, tweet at me, instagramatic me, or send a carrier pigeon.  despite all the advances in communications, twentysomething sons just don’t communicate with their moms.  at least, this is what i’ve been advised.

i have a preflight ritual: as soon as i bolt away from the t.s.a. stormtroopers (uh, agents) i head for the bar, order a beer and text both my sons that the plane is about to take off and i love them. one of them almost always texts back “love you too” the other, meh, not so much.

 

some people say that if you’ve done your job well, then you WON’T hear from them.  that they’re independent.  i’m not so sure.

in any event, i was in st. louis to visit with facebook friend #327 daniel reyna.  he invited me to his home on a sunday afternoon for a dinner he would be making.  ordinarily, i wouldn’t meet a facebook friend for the first time in their home.  but for daniel there were two important exceptional circumstances:  he was inviting me to a family dinner and he has a limited comfort zone in which he operates without anxiety attacks.  also, i had a chaperone.

the reyna family is second generation mexican:  mrs. reyna, daniel’s mom, has nine siblings and her husband has a large family as well.  the reynas have five children including daniel and his twin brother david.  every sunday the reynas get together for an afternoon dinner.  while cousins are welcome, the five siblings and their significant others and children are the core of the meal.  the siblings take turns hosting and each host is allowed to invite an extra guest.  i was honored to be daniel’s guest.  and i was intrigued as to what he would make for us.  i was ushered into a kitchen and met the family.  the reynas are a boisterous group, five different conversations going on at once, and so many times was i asked if i wanted something to drink and ended up with three beers, a glass of wine and a soda in front of me.

i had been eating st. louis’ favorite specialty–fried ravioli–for two days. this dish is not exactly atkins diet material but this and a double i.p.a. is what i’ll be asking for when i’m on death row and the warden asks “what’s that last meal going to be?”

 

a small light meal of an antipasto platter, followed up by pulled pork, roast chicken, barbecue ribs, mashed potatoes, spanish rice, cole slaw, bread, baked beans, and daniel’s twin david had made chocolate pie and apple pie.  whoops, i forgot the louisiana bundt cake and ice cream sandwiches.

in addition to the reynas getting together for sunday meals, they also host a family olympics in the summer with egg tosses, races, and a pie eating contest.  they have a christmas talent show for each other.  they go to mexico every year–although daniel doesn’t go with because of his anxiety.  and they invent their own games, one of which–spoons–they tried to teach me.

i told mrs. reyna that she was so lucky to have her children with her and she said “the best present a mom can give her children is a family.”  she is absolutely right.

daniel was a bit shy about having his picture put in a blog post.  i never post pictures that people don’t want me to.  so i keep the picture in my cellphone.  it was late when i had to say goodbye and i didn’t really say goodbye.  i said au revoir, until we see each other again.  even if it’s on facebook.

later that day, i was on facebook and noticed a status update of one of my sons on my newsfeed.  with all the tools of communication, i think it just makes us MORE aware of wanting what the reynas have every sunday afternoon.


anticipation anxiety and the positive guest blog from david janis

in the end, my facebook friend david janis was not able to see me.  i felt a sense of failure, but i also felt like i understood him completely:  i have had anticipation anxiety suck much of the pleasure out of experiences and i’ve often cancelled when i can’t fathom how i could get from point a to point b in an experience.  nonetheless, david–who is an inspiration to many agoraphobics through the magic of the internet–shared this with me:

 

A Positive Side to Agoraphobia

by David Janis

 

We are writers, painters, musicians, crafters, gardeners and teachers. We possess imaginations that extend well beyond that of the “normal” person. We have broad emotional feelings that reach far deeper than your neighbors. We have learned how to live with ourselves, and accept who we are despite our limitations. When we love it is unconditional and when we befriend it will be for life. We speak the truth for there is no point in lying anymore. Our fears run extremely deep but no one is better equipped to handle them. Fear is a daily occurrence for us and if you believe that practice makes perfect, we have become experts in dealing with this demon. Yes, we are prisoners in our homes but that is only a physical limitation. Mentally we are very sharp, witty and extremely intelligent. This becomes so obvious in the words that we write, pictures we paint, songs we write and gardens we grow. We may not run a mile everyday but or minds are strong and powerful.

In the grand scheme of things, is it important that we are afraid of grocery stores or that we eat? Every agoraphobic I know is afraid to shop for food and yet not one of us ever misses a meal. That is called, identifying the problem and fixing it, and I could easily site twenty examples of this ingenuity if called upon to do so.

We have experienced some of the worst situations that life can throw at one person. Public and private ridicule, expulsion from family, accusations of lying and laziness, taking a free ride and probably the worst, our loved ones and friends have forsaken us. Who else do you know would still be standing as we are, not many, I assure you! All one needs to do is read the daily posts on our forum to see the strength of the people this plague has swallowed. We are articulate, insightful, compassionate, and opinionated. We are firm in our resolve to either beat this affliction or live with it peacefully. We are strong!

So I say to you today, embrace the life you have been given and steer around the bumps and potholes. If you cannot leave your house today, write something, build something or grow something. It is not a curse to be housebound, it is a hurdle, a hurdle that you may choose to jump over, or not. Either way, you are just as important to this earth as the president, the pope and Oprah.

 

What validates you? Is it your bank account or your car? Could it be the house you live in or the company you keep? Maybe it’s because you’re pretty or handsome! What makes you a contributing member of the human race? I can’t answer this one, only you know if your existence is with reason. I can tell you this much, we all have a purpose and we are all incredible people. So go and write a poem, paint an abstract, compose a ballad, start a scrapbook, plant a garden and share your knowledge with whoever will listen, just remember, agoraphobia is only a small part of who you are. All of us that know you, know this to be true, the question is, do you?


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