Archive for the ‘anxiety attacks’ Tag

THE BIPOLAR PERSPECTIVE: SOCIAL DISTORTION MEDIA   3 comments

The Human Lost and Found

Ten years ago if you wanted to find an old friend, you could do a search on the internet, or sign up for one of those “free” web services that can locate people at nocharge.  But if you actually want to find out anything useful about them, besides their name and age, then you get “paid-membershipped” to death.  Or, you could have gone to a then fledgling Social Media site, like “My Life,” hoping the friend was active in this human lost and found.  However at that time most people were not putting their profiles online for privacy reasons.

Disgrace Book

Then Facebook matured and now almost everyone has a page and timeline complete with their current location, photos, employment, likes and dislikes plus whatever else about themselves they want people to know.  Now old high school friends can look you up without your permission to see what you have or have not been up to the last thirty years.  I was a loser in high school.  For me, Facebook has given me a whole new reason to feel like a failure in 2015.  All my insecurities have come rushing back.  Will people think my girlfriend isn’t good-looking enough?  Have I aged poorly?   Am I the only one in my class who can’t do open heart surgery, or argue a case before the Supreme Court?  Will someone from my past find out I’m Bipolar and think it makes perfect sense?  I call Facebook “Disgrace Book,” because anyone can look me up and have a hearty chortle about how poorly I’ve done in life.

More Torture Please

Facebook is like “enhanced interrogation,” a word Dick “I shot my friend in the face” Cheney uses to make torture sound more soft and cuddly.  But now if you don’t have a Facebook page, you are out of touch.  People need to be able to see you just lost your job, got a divorce or have a kid with an underbite like a 1957 Buick Roadmaster.  Sure, you can make your site only viewable by confirmed friends, but then you look like you really have something to hide.  And since Facebook is now frequently used as a search engine, you are almost required to have access in today’s information age.  So you maintain your page, and just like the droplets in water torture that eventually drive people mad, Facebook allows your friends and foes to slowly trickle into your life judging and eventually driving you mad as well.  And if you’re Bipolar, which commonly comes with increased anxiety, social issues and disdain for one’s past, you never know who will pop into your life digging up your most detested memories, embarrassing moments and perceived lack of achievement.

The Sniff Test

Once in a while some old work cronie posts on my timeline who I thought I was done having nightmares about in the 1990’s, Then I’ll check out their Facebook page just to make myself a little more miserable with their magnificent accomplishments.  Its like when you accidentally get a little shit on your hand picking up after the dog.  You completely wash it off, but you can’t stop sitting there discreetly sniffing your hand over and over all day long just to make sure it doesn’t smell.  Being Bipolar often makes it so you just can’t help sniffing out ancient classmates or work associates who contacted you on Facebook.  You want to make sure the reminder of their success has not stuck to your brian.

The Pull Out Method

I wish there was a big pre-lubricated condom I could put over my entire head so whenever someone from my past or present tries to friend me or comment on my Facebook Timeline, nothing they can say or think about me will reach my Bipolar brain with all its insecurities.  But since I do not see this social contraceptive on the horizon, mainly because the wearer may smother to death, I have thought about using the “Pull Out Method.”  Basically, I’d just shut down my Facebook page and go off the grid.  Solve the whole problem wham, bam, no thank you Facebook man.  Would I really be missing out on things?  I could always keep up with politics on FOX News.  But then I’d really have something to be humiliated about.

Social Media Intercourse

But if you are a business marketing to highly targeted masses, Social Media really is the new frontier.  And when a consumer is reached through Facebook, Twitter or the likes, if marketers can’t get you to click to their link immediately, some will tag you with an ad.  They are essentially invading your personal space on the internet.  I call this “Social Media Intercourse.”  Give a marketer a sliver of information and they’ll follow your future internet viewing sessions with the same banner ad for what seems an eternity.  In essence your personal space has been permeated.  Or in other words, you’ve been fucked by Facebook.  I think they even sell your information to marketers, also making Facebook a pimping service.

Taking Facebook at Face Value

Individuals dealing with Bipolar Illness need to view Facebook and other Social Distortion sites in a whole new manner.  Instead of thinking we are the only “under-achievers” in the room, which is only a perception and not a fact, realize that everyone is trying to make themselves look great on Facebook.  Who is going to put down “lost my last job due to alcohol addiction, suffer from schizophrenia, my wife is ugly and I just filed for bankruptcy?”  And you know the picture they post is going to be their very best shot with someone secretly standing behind them pulling back the loose skin on their face and neck.  So please, do not take Facebook pages at face value.  What you really want to know is lurking on the “back pages.”

Give Till It Hurts

The other thing someone with Bipolar Illness might want to consider when using Disgrace Book is to “give until it hurts.”  Only write or post about things with which you are comfortable.  Not everybody has to know every single aspect of your life.  It’s not lying, it’s called keeping certain subjects not for public knowledge.  Do you think your boss is going to post he has only one testicle?  Of course not.  It has no bearing on anything.  Neither does your Bipolar Illness.  Unless of course you want people to know.  So when updating your Facebook page, only give information until it hurts.  Then stop writing and move on to other things.  Like why you are 53 and still living with your mother.

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Panic Attacks: Don’t Panic   2 comments

I was sitting at my desk at work staring at my computer.   Nothing on the screen was registering in my brain.  All around the room I heard busy little fingers manipulating their keyboards at what seemed sonic speeds.  I stole a quick glance to the right and then to the left.  My neck was stiff.  I saw my co-workers intimately involved with their work online.  They could have been on Facebook or emailing their friends, but in my mind they were diligently earning money for the company.

I realized I had perspiration beads on my forehead and more trickling down the back of my neck into my sweater, which was much too warm for the sunny spring day.  My breathing became labored, my chest tightened and I began to get indigestion, hiccuping every twenty seconds or so.  All this was altering my sense of reality and I began to feel disoriented and a little dizzy.  I felt trapped in the office space, frantically trying to figure out the fastest way out of the room.  I kept telling myself, “Don’t pass out at work.  It’s only a panic attack.  Keep cool and it will subside.”

It was getting worse.  Hyperventilation  loomed around the corner.  I grabbed my briefcase and hurriedly slipped out of the office without saying a word.  When I got outside onto the city street I went into an alley, popped  two 1mg Lorezapam tablets, sat down on the sidewalk with my back against a wall and took some deep breaths. A cool breeze washed over me as my breathing eventually slowed down and the sticky sweat began to dry on my body.  The panic attack subsided and I was saved the embarrassment of someone calling the EMT’s, who would only have me breathe into a paper bag infront of my entire work group.  This would earn me the illustrious title of “office head case.”

The problem with panic attacks are you never know when they are going to rear their ugly heads.  You might feel like you have a handle on your life, but something in your subconscious is trying to punch its way through the “good thoughts retaining wall” in your brain.  Or, you have some general anxiety, but you didn’t realize to what extent it is effecting you.  Alas, it might be situational anxiety, where you feel threatened in a particular place and your mind goes into overdrive.

When you are having a panic attack, the most important thing to remember is not to panic.  I know, easier said than done.  But keep in mind  they are not life threatening in most cases and you do not want to be rushed to the hospital for one.  When everyone else has gunshot wounds or are having heart attacks, sitting on your gurney in the emergency room benignly breathing into a paper bag can make you feel like even more of a mental patient.

Next, if you are driving or operating heavy machinery, cease and desist.  You’re going to accidentally run someone over or cut your arm off.  Get away from potential onlookers and find a quiet space where you can just sit down alone and not be bothered.  If you have medication like Valium or Lorezapam, take one.  Then concentrate on slowing your breathing down with some big deep breaths.  Be aware of the fact that you are only having a panic attack and it will go away.  Think of something you’d like to do that day if you don’t end up in the emergency room.  Tell yourself you can can calm yourself down.  Close your eyes and give yourself more than enough time to let it pass.  Be absolutely sure before you get up.

Panic attacks are scary.  They make you feel like you are having a heart attack and about to visit the grim reaper.  But in most cases they are all in your head.  Simply mind over matter.  However the mind is a very powerful thing.  And panic attacks usually strike at very inopportune moments.  By having enough presence of mind to realize it’s a panic attack, removing yourself from the situation and giving your body and mind time to recover, you can usually avoid an embarrassing ride to the hospital in the back of an ambulance.