Browsing Tag

panic attack

Binders, Guest Posts

Going Away

July 22, 2015

By Melissa Ballard


One Month Before Going Away

  1. Try not to think about it. You know it will take you forever–longer than the trip will last–to pack.  Even with all that prep, you will take too many pairs of shoes and forget the iPod on which you’ve downloaded the CD, How To Eliminate Panic Attacks.
  2. Remember this is something you want to do, and will almost certainly enjoy. That the anticipation is always the worst part. Always.
  3. Tell yourself that anything you forget can be purchased once you get there. Probably.  Try not to think about that week you spent without a car at a summer resort where the gourmet grocery store sold seventeen flavors of olive oil, but did not stock peanut butter.
  4. Meditate daily. Practice positive-self talk.  Try not to take yourself so seriously, for God’s sake.

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Anxiety, Guest Posts, healing

Coney Island.

November 13, 2014

By Gila Lyons.


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.

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