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Anxiety

Anxiety, Guest Posts, healing, The Body

Lick ‘em On

October 24, 2015

By Jane Ratcliffe

I reached toward my bowl of oatmeal.  Before me, I noticed a pair of hands.  Faintly red with raised blue veins, they floated in the shallow morning light.  I drew a sharp breath.  I lived alone.  The doors were locked.  Who could be in my house?  Unnerved, I kept watching the hands.  The colors glowed, the skin like the bark of a young tree.  Then I recognized the ring: an oval diamond set amidst tiny dots of turquoise and topped with a bright ruby.  My ring.  Therefore, my hands.

It was March, 2008.  These were my first moments of brain injury, although I didn’t yet know this was what was happening.  It was like watching my life on a high definition television screen. I was in my body.  Everything around me was vibrant and precise.  We were just in two separate worlds.

***

Exactly a decade earlier, on March 9th, 1998, I was temping in a furniture showroom in New York City, helping the owner with some office work.  A huge wooden tabletop hung over the manager’s desk.  I was there for a week and each day I said to her, “Aren’t you afraid that’s going to fall on you?”  She laughed.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t go near her desk.  Until the end of the week, when I daringly strode over to get a stamp and, bam, the rope snapped and the tabletop fell on my head.

“A tabletop fell on my head,” I said, laughing so hard tears rolled down my face.

“A tabletop fell on my head,” I said again, as my vision shut off, then returned.

“A tabletop fell on my head,” I repeated, as now my hearing went, then returned. Continue Reading…

Anxiety, Binders, Family, Guest Posts

Losing Jason

June 8, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Sayzie Koldys

On June 7, 1984, seven-year-old Louis Anthony Mackerley arrived home from school to a babysitter.  His mother was in the hospital, and his father, an Allentown manufacturing laborer, was at work.  Louis informed the sitter that he was going to visit a friend down the street.  Anyone watching would have seen a small boy step from the apartment clad in long, blue pants, a green striped shirt, and brown shoes.  If you looked closely, you may have noticed his pink socks, the boyish auburn hair, or the rounded almonds of his eyes.  You may have seen him step into the street, even heard the taunts of the other school children as he slipped into a hot dog shop to escape them.  It’s possible that you may have seen him leave that same shop, minutes later, in an attempt to resume his journey.  But, it seems, no one saw Louis Mackerley after that.  Not ever again.

These details may have had little relevance to my life, to my family, were it not for Louis’s photograph on a milk carton, his face a dead ringer for my brother’s.

More than a year after Louis Mackerley’s disappearance, my mother, father, brother and I set off in the middle of the night for our annual drive to Florida.  I was eleven, my brother seven.  Somewhere in New Jersey, as the sky lightened with the first rays of morning, my father stopped for milk.  We weren’t used to seeing the photographs on the cartons, a practice only recently begun by The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  We hadn’t yet adjusted to rows and rows of missing kids, snatched from their lives in the time it takes to snap a photograph.  They were new enough to hold our attention, to keep our eyes from blurring their black and white faces into one.  I don’t remember who noticed it first, whether it was my mother or father, or which one of them initiated the joke, but we were all complicit.

“Jason*,” my mother said, the lines of her mouth turned down, “we have something to tell you.”  She showed my brother the picture on the milk carton and went on to describe how we had been responsible for his abduction.  He stared quietly at the photograph.

“You were too young to remember,” I said, catching on to the game, “but I begged for a brother so mom and dad picked you up one year on our way to Florida.”  I loved to tease him, to convince him that I could fly with the aid of a pillowcase or that my favorite doll was a real baby he had to stay awake all night to care for or it would die.  But this was even better.

“The only thing is,” my mother said, “we feel guilty for taking you from your real parents.  Since we’re right next to Pennsylvania anyway, we’ll give you back.”

My brother continued to stare at the picture of Louis Mackerley.  The likeness was such that even he began to believe that the image was his.  Since he remembered growing up in our family, I believe his terror came not from the possibility that he was Louis, but that he had been somehow confused with someone else’s missing kid.

“See,” I said, “your real birthday is February 15, 1977–you’re really eight, but we changed your age to seven in order to fool the police.”

“Don’t worry,” my mother said, “you’ll like your real parents.” Continue Reading…

Anxiety, Guest Posts, healing

Tapping Through Tough.

November 29, 2014

By Brandi Granett.

I’m beginning to reject Western Medicine. I read Louise Hay’s books. I study homeopathic bottles and herbs and tinctures. I take vitamins and supplements. I use a foam roller and try to meditate. Despite all these efforts, my hypothyroid still requires a prescription and mandatory blood testing. But I’ve learned to ignore my fears and tough it out.I kept up my tough girl façade even when the tech told me he needed ten vials of blood. And then spent ten minutes searching my arms for good veins. Finally, he returned to the first arm, tied it, and poked me. Only the blood wouldn’t flow. Fasting for over twelve hours, I grew faint, and he stopped when I couldn’t keep my head up.

They gave me some water and an ice pack. And after a few minutes, I said, “I’ll come back,” and then I bolted. After coffee and cranberry juice at the diner, my blood sugar levels return to normal, but my anxiety about what happened didn’t wane. “You’re just tired,” I told myself, “cut yourself a break.”

When I returned home I sent a pleading email to my doctor about splitting the blood draw into two sessions. Then after stewing for a few more minutes, the thought of returning to the lab filling me with stomach rolling dread, I sent her another email asking to hold off on the blood work for a little bit longer. Neither email quelled my anxiety and racing thoughts.

Continue Reading…

Anxiety, Guest Posts, healing

Coney Island.

November 13, 2014

By Gila Lyons.

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A plastic palm tree spurting water, a dried peach pit on the concrete sidewalk, white- capped waves, a man jogging in an orange Speedo, a woman in white scarves setting a flower boat out to sea, a man photographing his girlfriend drawing, a barge moving slowly on the ocean, a girl wrapped in a towel eating cheese fries, a hip-hop performance by eight-year-old Romanian Americans, Shoot the Freak, Snake Girl, a four-foot rat, blue cotton candy in a clear plastic bag, a boardwalk dance party, an empty bag of Bamba, a man pulling a suitcase on wheels across the sand, an American flag blowing in the wind, planes taking off, planes landing, seagulls diving.

I was living in New York City, pursuing and MFA in creative writing. A sensitive, tightly-wound, quiet-seeking creature, I was an unlikely candidate for life in the city, but I felt ravenous for New York’s flash and pop. I thrilled at the exotic dinginess of the subway, the soft hiss of its doors, its smells of burned rubber and re-circulated air. I lavished in colors of each neighborhood – Chelsea, Chinatown, Soho, Tribeca – their very names like sugar on my tongue. That was the first year.

The second year my mental health crumbled like the apartment across the hall from mine, gutted from the inside out, plaster and fiberglass swirling the air. A life-long anxiety disorder flared and surged through me, leaving me sweating, shaking, breathless, and terrified during class, while teaching, at restaurants, in my own bed. I felt claustrophobic in Manhattan, carving out my path through packed sidewalks. The streetlights and late-night revelers kept me awake all night, even through earplugs and a sleeping mask.

Continue Reading…

Anxiety, Fiction, Guest Posts

Anxiety and the Lamogrian.

October 26, 2014

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Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station: I was the guest speaker at Canyon Ranch in Lenox and Tucson this month. When I was at the Tucson location I met Natan Baruch when he came to my Manifestation Workshop there. He told me he was a writer. I don’t often get men at my workshops so I tend to get kind of excited when they show up and really commit to being there fully. Natan did. He then went home and sent me something he had just written. A short story. I loved it and decided to publish. Here’s to more of us declaring who we are in the world. xo jen

By Natan Baruch.

Last week I moved to Berkeley, California, to a beautiful two-story blue house where I live with thirteen other people. In the mornings, we chant and pray and meditate, and then we walk down to the farm where we all work. After communal dinners, I like to sit on one of the ratty old couches under the pear tree in the back yard and drink tea.

The other evening, as I sat on the couch and wrote a poem about weasels, I heard a voice say, “Hey,” and I looked up. It belonged to a robot, about the size of a filing cabinet, which sat on the couch across from me.

“Hey,” I said back.

The robot looked uncomfortable. “The Zorgans said-”

I sighed. Once upon a time the Zorgans had hyperslipped into the space between my dresser and my wall and asked me to share my thoughts on creativity, and I, like a fool, answered them. Now hundreds of different species insist on visiting me with their questions.  Continue Reading…

Anxiety, Books, Guest Posts, Meditation

How I Meditated My Way From Panic to Peace.

September 23, 2014

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 By Priscilla Warner.

When I was fifteen years old, I suffered my first terrifying panic attack, while I was a “townie” working as a waitress at the Brown University cafeteria in Providence, Rhode Island.

I thought I was having a heart attack. One minute I was dishing out peas to hordes of bored young students, and then, suddenly, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My heart raced and flopped around in my chest, my lungs convulsed, I turned hot and cold, shaking head to toe, and my throat began to close.

Was I dying? I wasn’t sure.

Was I going crazy? That was possible.

Mental illness ran through my family like wildfire. My father had been diagnosed as manic depressive, his brother was in and out of mental hospitals all his life, and my namesake, a favorite cousin, grew up to become a homeless schizophrenic woman.

I thought mental illness was contagious.

I rushed home from work and a family doctor was called to our house. He diagnosed me as being “a little bit nervous,” and prescribed Librium, the tranquilizer taken mostly by American housewives twice my age in the 1960s.

I thought I was a freak. The word “panic attack” wasn’t even used back in those days. It certainly wasn’t a term that girls my age had ever heard of. Neither was anxiety.

  Continue Reading…

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