Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tuesday.

This week, it seemed like everyone was talking about 9/11. Why not? It was such a dark day for our nation, and those who paid the ultimate price deserve to be remembered.

Instead of giving you a "here's where I was story," I'm sharing the following news. It's about the far-reaching effects of 9/11. I wish I realized this after that horrible Tuesday. I endured so much self-inflicted pain--and panic, of course--because I couldn't cope with that event at the time. (I was working in news, which made it 110% worse.)

Now, I realize how much that event traumatized me. I was lucky enough to work with my therapist to help me process most of it.

In case you're interested...

9/11 caused mental illness far beyond US borders

This is the conclusion of a recent population-wide study from Denmark, which demonstrates a "significant and immediate" spike in the diagnoses of trauma and stressor related disorders (e.g. adjustment disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder) in Denmark in the weeks and months after the traumatic events of September 11, 2001, even though the Nordic country was not directly impacted by the attacks.
The study, which was financed by the Carlsberg Foundation, was carried out by political scientists and medical researchers from Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen and Stanford University. It has just been published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
In the article, the authors argue that their finding "sadly confirms that one of the alleged purposes of (certain types of) terrorism - to generate mass-scale attention and intimidation - is in fact achieved".
Specifically, the Danish study documents a 16 percent increase in trauma and stressor related disorders recorded by psychiatric services in the week right after the September 11 attacks. Remarkably, the effect persisted for an extended period after the initial shock, and half a year after the 9/11 attacks, the incidence of trauma and stressor related disorders remained elevated about 5 percent above the normal level. It did not return to normal until about a year after the attacks.
In the article, the authors also speculate about the role of mass media in generating the observed effect: "The extra-national character of the post-9/11 deterioration of mental health observed in this study also highlights the pronounced importance of mass media in transmitting stress-inducing information to populations in countries far removed from the target of the attack."
Based on this observation, the authors argue that the effect of more recent and future terrorist attacks could be even stronger given the highly visual and real-time nature of today's internet-based mass media.
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Friday, September 2, 2016

Candid writing...about writing.

It's not hard to get frustrated as a writer. In fact, many times a day I become upset. Still, I love what I do.

Most of the upset comes with the journalism aspect--to be specific, the rejection aspect of writing. It's not that the writing or idea for an article isn't good in many cases, which is so frustrating. It's all about who you know.

I've worked with some awesome editors but I've also, honestly, encountered some flakes. And I'll probably take heat for saying it but let's be real. Promising a contract and then not following up, or just not responding...it's exhausting.

My latest frustration comes from a copywriting client who won't hire me because I haven't passed a child through my vagina. Yep. They won't hire me because I haven't had a kid. I've never had that happen (usually clients love my child-free lifestyle--no interruptions!)

For each article I publish, there's a process to get there. That article's probably been rejected at least a handful of times.

Then there are other writers. Don't get me started. Most are awesome, but again, every once in a while you encounter the "holier than thou" one.

I guess this is a venting post. I mean, I'm all about being professional but I like to be honest. Keep things real. The reality is that writing is not always this glamorous lifestyle, especially if you are not part of the New York City publishing machine.

So today I'm frustrated. Not anxious. Just tired of playing the game of getting work. So it's time to rest and recharge. And attack it again tomorrow. Eh, maybe the day after.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Just Breathe.

It's a weird time of year. The "end" of summer and back to school. What happens if you live at the Shore and have an entire month ahead of great summer weather and no kids to put back to school? Shoulder season, baby.

Just returned from a beautiful week in the Outer Banks. It was really nice, especially because I remembered how much anxiety I had traveling there six years ago. I was just recovering from a breakdown. It was the first time I traveled far from  home in a long time. Having done it (and not wanting to leave the OBX the first time) I was definitely excited about this trip. I did have some anxiety--I was battling a cold and got a new one the day we left--but it wasn't anxiety about being far from home. I did really good about being away from home. Of course I missed my cats like crazy, but it wasn't like I used to be in the past where I felt like I had to rush home out of fear.

So that was great, and now I'm home. Work has been slow, which is hard to deal with but I'm just gonna do what I have because more will come in at any given moment. I'm also going to continue my break. I definitely need a break from work. Our trip was a vacation but it wasn't as much of a break if you know what I mean.

Things are slow and everyone is focused on back to school and cramming everything into the next week. I'm not. I'm on the other side of it. Just being.

Not a bad place to be.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stillness.

Check out @calm's Tweet: https://twitter.com/calm/status/758478847423676416?s=09

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Too busy.

Ever get so wrapped in something new that your whole life turns into some alternate universe where you can't quite get your feet on the ground to ground yourself, so to say?

That's what happened to me when I took a full-time job. So that's why I haven't been blogging as much. Still trying to duck on to Periscope from time to time.

I've always worked full-time but my new job in news is intense and doesn't leave me much time to do anything else. By the end of the day, I'm exhausted and trying to scramble to clean the house, exercise, read, or fit in some quiet time.

Gotta find that balance. And as new things come up in our lives, I'm realizing it's a lesson we have to learn over and other. How to integrate that new thing into our lives...it's an ever-changing struggle.

So, I'm trying to work out the kinks. Making two minutes to come here and write this message is part of it!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Are we making the stigma worse?

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, and here's why.

I took a full-time job, guys. Not that I didn't put in 40 hours before but it was much less chaotic and deadline driven.

My new job is great, I am reporting on health. It's just very demanding. Leaves little time to be inspired or see a cool anxiety study and then jump on here to rant about it.

I did, however, start Periscoping! I'm at @healanxiety there if you want to follow me. It's been awesome to talk about my own experiences and talk to others about theirs.

There was a recent study about more people being aware that mental health is a real issue--that people can't help anxiety, depression, borderline, schitzophrenia, all of the disorders we grapple with. They said that there's less of a stigma. It was interesting, but what got me about it was that it didn't talk about the people suffering with those diseases as much.

I think a lot of people suffering with mental health are still perpetuating the stigma.

Many seem afraid of medication, for one. I understand not wanting to jump on Periscope or the web and be like, "I think I am going nuts, I have panic attacks when I do X, Y and Z!" but I can't tell you how many people I have come across--namely on Periscope, and not in my scope so much as others--where people are freaking out about taking meds. Why?

This perpetuates the stigma that these are not real problems. They have real solutions. And while meds aren't for everyone, they can help a person make a full recovery. I am living proof. I'd rather be healed and having had to take a pill to help me do it than to live in perpetual illness and refuse to take a pill or bash others who have.

This is not to offend anyone, please don't take it that way. Just something that's been on my mind.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Get in my scope.

I've taken to Periscope, people!

That said, I won't want it to replace my blogging here. Here's where I get my thoughts down.

And I've had so many thoughts about being able to use my anxiety for good...that's really my goal. Make all that turmoil somehow worth it. It's worth it anytime I can connect with someone and let them know they're not alone, or inspire them to have a better day.

What a gratifying feeling it is!

And I realize that many people in the throngs of anxiety aren't at maybe the happiest place. That's okay. Be where you are. It's your journey. Just make sure you reach out and seek healing along the way...that's kind of all you can do. Just don't get stuck in it.

And if part of that reaching out is watching me on Periscope ramble away, then I'm happy to do it:)