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anxiety

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Symptom Awareness

Things to consider regarding Anxiety Symptom Awareness!

Many people suffer from high anxiety.

Symptom awareness can help them to recognize that they have a serious medical condition and are not just “high strung.” Panic disorders are a common psychological problem with potentially devastating effects on the quality of one’s life. Recognizing the symptoms of an anxiety attack can result in sufferers seeking out the treatment they need.

Anxiety for waspsA commonly experienced anxiety symptom is to feel dizzy or lightheaded. If someone feels that way during anxious moments, he or she may want to consider it as a warning sign. This is a particularly dangerous symptom, because the loss of balance it produces can lead to falls and other accidents.

Another anxiety symptom is to feel as though that one cannot breathe. This is a common symptom among those diagnosed with panic disorders and can be quite frightening. Victims feel as though they are unable to catch their breath or as if they are somehow being smothered. If one experiences periods of this sort, one will probably want to consider discussing your situation with a physician.

Others suffering from panic disorders will experience shakes or tremors. These involuntary movements can be extremely frightening and create an increased risk of accident. Nervous tics are one thing, but tremors and shakes related to anxiety are another. They should be taken as a sign that something may be wrong.

Anxiety sufferers often experience a sensation that as if something is crawling all over them during anxious periods. This sensation is by many described as being akin to having ants or other small insects patrolling the body. It is a particularly uncomfortable sensation that can paralyze one with fear.

A particularly scary anxiety symptom is the feeling that one is experiencing a heart attack or some other intense chest pain. Many panic attack sufferers have been quite certain their death was imminent while in the midst of an attack. The pain, although lacking a physiological basis, can be quite real and truly frightening. That fear serves to intensify one’s anxiety, making it part of a vicious circle.

There are, of course, other symptoms. One of the interesting things about panic disorders is that different individuals will experience different manifestations of the problem. While some may sweat profusely during an attack, someone else may notice chills as an anxiety symptom.

The important thing to remember is that if one experience particularly anxious times when someone feel fear, that in retrospect seems disproportionate or other physical reflections of their anxiety. They may have a diagnosable panic disorder. Fortunately, a variety of treatment options are available for those who experience anxiety attacks. Thus, it makes perfect sense to immediately consult with a medical professional if someone feels they may have a problem.

Recognizing some of the common symptoms of disproportionate anxiety may give a person the impetus to seek help. That help may allow them to move on with your life without having to be concerned that another terrifying anxiety symptom will emerge uncontrollably.

Curse of the Ferrari Brain: the Other Side of Bipolar Disorder

Manic Episode: Another Side of Bipolar Disorder.

Welcome back, my friends!

My apologies for the extended absence. I’ve been very busy with other projects, which I’ll have to return to soon. Also, I wanted to make sure this article was perfect, because this one’s a little tricky.

So far, most of my articles have focused on depression. As someone with type II bipolar disorder, that’s the side I know best. Also, it’s the side that’s easiest for a person who doesn’t have bipolar disorder to understand. Everyone has been bummed at some point. Wanna understand bipolar depression? Take your depression, magnify by about a jillion, and there ya go. Pretty easy to understand, right? The other side of the coin isn’t as straightforward. A good metaphor, I hope, will make it easier to understand.

Let’s say that the average human brain is like a Volvo.The Volvo gets great mileage and is one of the safest, most dependable cars on the road. You wanna get to work on time, day after day and with very little fuss and worry? A Volvo is the car for you.Average human brain - Volvo

The bipolar brain is more like a Ferrari.

Bipolar brain - like a Ferrai

“Farrah”

The Ferrari is fast and flashy. Its sleek, predatory looks practically demand that you drive it at dangerous speeds. You want to make it to work in forty seconds flat? Then the Ferrari is the car for you. Unfortunately, it guzzles gas like your Aunt Janie guzzles gin and tends to spend more time in the shop than on the road. The insurance premiums are astronomical and you are almost guaranteed to wrap it around a tree someday.

Now then… bipolar depression is like the times when the Ferrari is in the shop. It’s up on the lift, and you’re going nowhere. You can’t even show it off by rolling it into your driveway. Not only that, but you gotta walk to work while all the Volvo drivers practically blaze by at 35 mph. In your mind’s eye, they laugh at you as it starts to rain. Your anxiety tells you they are ALL aiming for puddles near you, and the occasional sociopath WILL soak you for his or her amusement.

But then the shop owner calls. Your chariot awaits! You go down to the shop, pay the exorbitant bill, and fire up that 16-cylinder Italian ego trip.

“I’ve missed you, Farrah,” you say, not caring about the look the shop owner gives you. If HE had a Ferrari, he’d name her Farrah, too. Your foot barely taps her gas pedal and she purrs delightedly. She’s missed you, too.

“Good girl,” you say, then ease Farrah’s shifter into first, the action so smooth that instinct alone tells you that she’s out of neutral. You pull out of the shop’s parking lot and into traffic. At first, she’s just glad to be off of that horrible rack and back on the road where she belongs, but every red light, every school zone is an irritant, and sand only makes pearls in oysters. Sand in an engine is death, but Farrah complies and stays below the speed limit… for now.

As you pull into the parking lot at work, all eyes turn to you and your beautiful machine. You pull into your space and reach for the key to kill her ignition, but you stop short.

“It’s been so long. Just once,” she begs. “Pretty please?”

You know this is how it starts, but you’re still in control. Just once won’t hurt anything, right? It’s not like you’re doing anything dangerous. Besides, what’s the point in owning a car like Farrah if you can’t show her off?

With Farrah’s gears in neutral, your foot presses hard on her accelerator and her engine screams ecstatically. Those who weren’t looking before certainly are now. Many are impressed. Many others are jealous. And Farrah, at long last, feels warm and tingly.

“Mmm… baby,” she purrs. “You’re the only one who knows how to touch me right. Again. Please.”

“Sorry, babe,” you say, a little defeated. “I gotta go to work now.”

Farrah pouts as you shut off the engine, sputtering just a little to let you know she’s put out. You promise her a full tank of premium and a stretch of deserted highway tonight followed by a loving sponge bath. You know that will make her happy, but she’s still sulking.

When five o’clock rolls around, you dash into the parking lot to find Farrah waiting. It’s a beautiful day, so you decide a little sun would be good for you both. You drop her top, fire up her engine and gun the accelerator—just a little—as you exit the parking lot. No harm done, and at last you’re out on the open road where both of you are more happy… for all of about twenty seconds.

Gridlock. No one’s going anywhere fast. The traffic jam drives you nuts, but you try to smile regardless. You’ve gotten so many “nice car, man” comments from the Volvos that your ego has slipped into overdrive. Eventually, though, it gets old. You’re sick of hearing how nice your car is. You wanna FEEL how nice she is, and in this traffic, how can you? You can’t even get out of first gear! You’ve got to MOVE!

Speed isn’t Farrah’s only good quality. She maneuvers like… well… like a gdamn Ferrari! Each time you see an opening in traffic, you seize it. At first, you make sure there’s plenty of space, but soon ANY amount of space is enough as long as it moves you forward. Other drivers stop saying “nice car” and start saying “watch it, a-hole!”

“Fuc.. them,” Farrah says. “They’re just jealous, baby.”

Finally, you come upon a stretch of open highway, just begging to be devoured. You stomp Farrah’s accelerator and instantly know that what she said is true. Who wouldn’t be jealous of this speed? This freedom?

“At last!” she screams as you tear away from the nightmare behind you. The wind whips your hair as the speedometer climbs. This is what she’s DESIGNED to do, you tell yourself. It’s just you and Farrah and all is well in the world. You drive off into the sunset, victorious, just like in the movies.

But real life isn’t the movies, and sunset only means the end of the day, not the end of the film. You pull into your garage and park Farrah for the night. You have to work in the morning, but you’re too wired to sleep. You try watching TV. You try a hot shower. Nothing works. Sleep just won’t come, not with Farrah calling to you from the garage.

“Sleep is for those Volvo people,” she says, spitting out the word Volvo as if it had the arsenic taste of bitter almonds. “You’re better than them, baby. All you need is me. Come on. Let’s go for a drive.”

But you know better. You’ve been down this road before. With the help of a few Benadryl, you ignore her voice and drift off, but your sleep isn’t like real sleep. Your body lays motionless but your mind spins like a screeching tire. Dreams and reality melt together for a few fitful hours of sleep and traffic nightmares.

You’re awake long before sunrise, but you force yourself to stay in bed until the alarm goes off, then you’re up in a flash. You sing in the shower. You skip breakfast. You rush to the garage.

“Good morning, sexy,” she says. “Ready to play?”

“Are you?” you ask, smirking as you sink into a kid leather bucket seat that fits you like a glove. You deftly slip your key in her ignition and give it a twist. As you pull on your driving gloves, the temperature gauge begins to rise. “Like that, do you?”

“Sailor baby, you get me hotter than Georgia asphalt,” she purrs.

You bet your sweet a-h I do, you think as the garage door rises to release you from your prison. Your house isn’t your home. Here with her. This is home. This is where you belong.

Now, there are two different ways this scenario can end…

END #1

The garage door is barely up before you’re skidding out of the garage and into… another fu–ing traffic jam! No! No no no no NO NO NO!!! You honk madly. Farrah’s engine growls at any Volvos who get too close. The admiration in the Volvo drivers’ eyes is gone. Today, they look upon you with fear, but you don’t give a damn. They’re just in your way, anyway, right? One Volvo tries to pull in front of you. You stomp the accelerator and he weaves out of your way just in time.

“My lane, a-hole,” you shout. “Mine!”

Your lane or not, the traffic light turns red and you’re stuck. Time stands still. You scream and rev your engine, both you and Farrah quickly reaching redline. The temperature warning light comes on, but you ignore it. It just wants to slow you down, too. You smell oil smoke, but don’t care.

“Go baby,” Farrah shrieks. “Go! Go! GOOOO!”

KABLAM!

Something snaps. Thick gray smoke boils from the engine compartment. Farrah’s engine chokes and sputters as the light turns green. She’s got just enough strength to ease to the side of the road.

“This is all your fault,” she says, dying. You weep at what your anger has done.

The tow truck guy clucks his tongue as he winches Farrah’s front end into the sky. “Damn shame,” he says. “Such a nice car.”

In your mind, you finish his sentence. If only you knew how to treat it.

Welcome back to depression.

Or, it could end like this…

END #2

The garage door is barely up before you’re skidding out of the garage and onto the open road. Your floor it and Farrah jumps over the speed limit like an antelope. There’s no traffic, no cops, nothing but miles of open road. You cut each corner closer, but not because you’re out of control. You do it because you’re fucking amazing! Every move you make is the right one. The world is yours and everything is perfect…

…until you run out of gas in the middle of nowhere during a thunderstorm and have to walk to the nearest payphone (you forgot your cell in your hurry to hit the road) only to find you don’t have any change, so you have to walk all the way back to your house. Once at your house, you reach into your pocket and find that you’ve lost your keys somewhere along the way.

Welcome back to depression.

George Carlin, one of the funniest men to ever live, once said that the cliché phrase “more than happy” sounded like a medical condition.” Well, he was right. “More than happy” is called euphoria, and euphoria is sometimes a symptom of a manic episode. Sometimes, bipolar disorder feels WONDERFUL. At the beginning of the upswing, you have hypomania, and hypomania can be very, very good. It’s your chance to really shine.

Sometimes, when you’re hypomanic, you are the life of the party—charming, witty, friendly and filled with energy. Your mind becomes razor sharp, your reflexes like those of a kung fu master. You make friends easily, accomplish incredible amounts of work, and have flashes of brilliance that astound and amaze everyone around you. I LOVE it when hypomania works that way!

Sometimes, however, it doesn’t. Sometimes when you’re hypomanic, you are the total buzzkill—cranky, bitter, sullen… and yet still filled with energy. Your mind is sharp, but it’s your tongue that’s the razor. You’re nerves are so jittery you twitch. Fine silk feels like sandpaper against your skin. You still have that keen focus, but all you focus on is the neighbor’s g-damn stereo and if you had one ounce less of willpower, you’d crash right over and shove the thing straight up his a-h. But that wouldn’t fix the problem, because dammit, you’re pissed and you’re gonna stay that way. I HATE it when hypomania works that way.

Now, if you’re bipolar type II like me, hypomania is the ceiling. You hit it, stay there for anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks (depending on how rapidly you cycle) and then spiral back down into depression. If you’re type I bipolar, then hypomania is just the beginning.

Hypomania basically means “little mania,” so for a full-tilt manic episode, take my description of hypomania and magnify it exponentially: the occasional sleepless night becomes days on end without sleep; the occasional ego trip gives way to full-blown narcissism and delusions of grandeur; euphoria becomes psychosis; irritability becomes hostility and anxiety becomes outright paranoia. Some even experience hallucinations.

No matter how high the ladder goes, unless you drop dead from exhaustion (which does happen occasionally) or wrap your Ferrari around a tree (yes, those on the upswing really do tend to speed) then you’re going to find yourself right back where you started. For some, that’s a relatively normal mood. For others, it’s welcome back to depression. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

And on that note, I hope you, my readers, have enjoyed the ride. I’ll be taking a break from this blog now, but I’m sure I’ll be back I’ve got so many other stories, poems, screenplays and articles to write. I’ve got sketches to draw and music to compose. I’ve got a life without bipolar disorder… or at least a life without thinking about it all the time.

The one thing I want you to remember most of all is that NO ONE IS A DISEASE. They are a person with a disease. Their disease is not their life, at least not unless they allow it to be. Don’t do that, folks. It sucks. Be people. People are OK unless they won’t turn their g-damn stereos down.

Keep fighting, folks!

-Bruce Anderson

 

Beyond Limitations: Saving the World and Ruling the Galaxy with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Myths Dispelled

Greetings once again, friends and fellow freaks!Bookmak this mental health article

I like that sentence. I`ve always been fond of alliteration. For those not familiar with the term, alliteration is a literary device which means “the repetition of consonants.” Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. That’s heavy alliteration. I know because I take writing seriously. Probably a little too seriously.

I use apostrophes when I text; capitalize proper nouns on my grocery list; and edit my Facebook posts for style, usage, and clarity. I craft each and every thing that I write very carefully, so that each time I write anything, I get better at it.

OK. I’m gonna go ahead and brag. I’m a pretty damn good writer. It took Stephen King eight years to sell his first story. Me? It only took me ONE. Now… I’m nowhere near as rich or successful as he is—yet—but because I AM a good writer, I thought this would be the perfect way to segue into another myth.

Bipolar Myth #4 – People with bipolar disorder are limited.

Mentally IllThere are times when bipolar disorder can be crippling. There are days when I’m too depressed to write anything, but it isn’t always like that. Keep in mind, bipolar disorder has an upside, too.

That’s another literary device: the pun. 😉

People with bipolar disorder aren’t always depressed. When we’re on the upswing, we’re filled with boundless energy. We need less sleep. We can accomplish a great deal of work. Ideas come whizzing into our heads at the speed of light. We can be sharp, witty, and very charismatic.

Speaking of both charisma and light speed… know who else is bipolar? Actress Carrie Fisher. That’s right. PRINCESS LEIA IS BIPOLAR. Bipolar disorder doesn’t seem to limit her, does it? She’s an American icon! And she’s not the only one.

Linda Hamilton? Yup. Earth is safe from Terminator robots thanks to this bipolar actress.

Richard Dreyfuss? Jaws, American Graffiti, Close Encounters, Academy Awards = YES. Limited = NO.

It’s not just actors, either. Congressman Pat Kennedy, artist Jackson Pollock, and singer Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots are also bipolar. There are so many success stories that I could fill DOZENS of articles just listing them all. If you want to know more, Google “famous bipolar people.” You might also want to grab a cup of coffee. You’ll be reading for a while.

And if you want to read something written BY someone with bipolar disorder aside from me, you might be reading for a very, very long time. In Kay Redfield Jameson’s book Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, you’ll find a list of authors and poets believed to have been bipolar. Want to know who’s on it? Take a college literature class. Pretty much anyone your teacher assigns you to read. That’s who’s on it.

And by the way, it’s not Ms. Kay Redfield Jameson, it’s Dr. Kay Redfield Jameson. She’s a clinical psychologist, so she probably knows what she’s talking about. Guess what? She’s also bipolar. Run for the hills, folks! The loonies have taken over the bin!

People with bipolar disorder can achieve great things, so please don’t make it harder for us by discriminating against us. You hurt us AND you hurt yourselves by not taking advantage of the enormous amounts of talent and drive many of us possess. Also, you might piss off Linda Hamilton. She kicked the Terminator’s butt, ya know.

Be nice, or Linda will find you.

Keep fighting!

-Bruce Anderson

Read more from Bruce Anderson: (A brilliant bipolar article writer)

Words as Weapons – and Another Bipolar Myth Dispelled

Welcome back to the loony bin, my fellow freaks!

Before I get back to dispelling myths about bipolar disorder, I want to talk a little about words. As a writer, words are my bread and butter. Language can be powerful. It doesn’t just help us define reality, it shapes it. Just ask Pluto. Poor little Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. Why? Because we SAY it isn’t.

Wacko. Nutcase. Lunatic. Psycho. Freak.

Those words can be very powerful when used with evil intent. Some of you reading this might be offended by me referring to people who suffer from bipolar disorder with those sort of words. I can understand. Those words can really, really hurt. Especially Cheroceewhen they come from a “friend.” Trust me. I know. Keep in mind that I’m not just talking about people with bipolar disorder. I AM one of those people.

Just as words can make meaning, they can be made meaningless. It depends on two things: the person who’s saying them and his or her intent. Let me give you an example.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time indoors. I’m 1/8th Cherokee, so I WOULD tan well if I saw the sun more often than I do. The rest of my ancestry is European. Basically, my skin is as white as the driven snow. Now I’m going to say a word and then dive for cover.

Nigger.

Man… I feel crappy even typing that. That word was used by white people to oppress black people for a very long time. My people used that word like a weapon, and boy was it an effective one. It was the neutron bomb of the English language for very long time. That word was used to cause shame, which is why I feel ashamed just saying it once.

However, the N-word (sorry… I can’t bring myself to type it again) is only a weapon when it’s used like one. Watch any movie, go to any club, walk down any street and you’ll hear black people saying it to one another, joking around, even using it like a term of endearment. It’s OK for them to say it because they ARE black. Not only that, but they aren’t saying it with the intent to harm.

For me to say it? Not really OK. I can probably get away with it this one time because my INTENT is not to harm, but to help. Or at least I’m hoping I can. If not, please accept my sincerest apology.

Being bipolar, the nature of our illness ensures that we’re a sensitive bunch, but let’s try not to be too sensitive about words. They can only harm us if we let them. Let’s start with the one I hate the most:

Freak.

Freak freak freak freak FREAK FREAK FREAK!!!

If I say that word out loud, over and over, it starts to sound like a nonsense word, something I just made up. The more I use it, the less it means. The less it means the less power it has over me.

Try it for yourself. Pick the one word you hate the most and say it over and over. Make that word just as dead as the not-a-planet Pluto - not a planetPluto. Just don’t forget that your word isn’t dead to everyone. If that word bothers someone else, don’t say it around them. It’s all about kindness, folks. It’s that simple.

Well, once again, I’m over word count. And I haven’t even mentioned one myth, but I may have just dispelled one.

Bipolar Myth #3 – Being bipolar makes you a bad person.

I’m bipolar. If I was a bad person, would I go through as much effort as I have to avoid offending the black community? I hate the N-word as much as I hate “freak.” I hate ANY word used to make someone else feel like a second-class citizen.

There are people out there who are scared of people with bipolar disorder because of the actions of a few select individuals. Yes, there are some people with bipolarity who really are mean, vicious people who are dangerous to others. But there are many more people like that who DON’T have bipolar disorder.

Bipolar ImageMost of us are just like you. Some of us, and I’m not naming names here, are sensitive, loving fathers who try not to let their daughters see them cry during Disney movies.

OK. It’s me. I do that. Pathetic, right? Well… this whole article has been about freeing yourself from shame, so I might as well come out of the closet. Disney movies make me cry sometimes. That fact may actually make me a freak. Having bipolar disorder, however, doesn’t.

Until next time, my fellow freaks… keep fighting!

-Bruce Anderson

Click the link to read more from Bruce Anderson: How I Became the  Freak in the Corner

Powerful Tips To Help Manage Everyday Stress

Powerful Tips To Help Manage Everyday Stress

Often times stress will manifest when we carry over yesterday`s concerns into our present day concerns. An accumulation will almost always end up in a high stress level. Therefore, we must be able to “dump” all of our problems from the previous day or days and concentrate wholly on our today.

So here are three stress busting tips for you:

– Stress Busting Tip #1

Resolve right now to release every thought from yesterday and be only mindful of the now…. This thought only…This Tunnel brainbreath…This moment. Take in three very deep breaths and slowly release each one.

At the same time feel each and every concern, each and every problem, and each and every unresolved moment, begin to dissolve. You can deal with them at a later time. For now, you are only to be in this very moment.

Now go to your inner quiet place. Go deep inside to a place where you feel that you are at peace and then just relax and breathe in deeply and enjoy the feeling of being at one and at peace within yourself.

Use this special time and place to be calm. Free your mind and body of all worry, all regret, all disappointment, all anger and grief.

– Stress Busting Tip #2

Next, think of one particular act, such as rocking your baby, taking a quick stroll, raking the leaves, and do that one simple thing. All the while, your mind is quiet and calm, and you are within in your particular place.

Practice this act of quiet and calm each day and you will see that you will accomplish so much more. At the first sign of being stressed, go back to this mindful, quiet place and start all over again until you have reached your inner place of calm.

– Stress Busting Tip #3

Mental HealthThe very best thing that you can do for yourself is to eat, drink and rest – to your health!

Stress is easily brought on by not eating and drinking properly. When you don’t get the number of hours of sleep that you need each night, you are only setting yourself up for additional stress.

Limit the amount of salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol in your diet. Drink plenty of clean, pure water each day and do at least moderate exercise each day. This will breathe new life into your skin, hair and will nourish all of your vital organs.

Take time to breathe properly! Take deep belly breathes to send pure oxygen to all of your body. Laugh and then laugh some more. It is food for the soul! Spend time doing the things that please you most. Engage in healthy and fulfilling relationships and work on problems that would erode the closeness that you have with someone special.

When we are content and living a balanced life everyday stresses seem to pale in comparison. We are better equipped to deal with the unexpected.

You can take control today! Isolate only one particular stressor in your life and then work on it until you regain control. At the very least, have some new hope!

We have special interests in bipolar disorder, causes – questions and answers about being bipolar, being stressed, depression, anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder and mental health in general.