Monthly Archives: January 2014

Got a Sudden Pain or Spasm? Try this Trick

So, sometimes I post stuff on Facebook, especially when it’s just a link to something that I found useful, a series of thoughts I have that are under 500 words, or sometimes a video that I don’t think deserves the Youtube treatment. For instance:

What do you think? This works pretty consistently for me, though it doesn’t seem to work as well for jaw pain as my usual technique.

Want to see more crap that comes out of my brain? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

How To Manipulate People (But in a Good Way!)

What would you do for a thousand bucks? Would you work extra hard? Would you network with lots of people, even if it made you initially uncomfortable? Would you try new job roles and throw caution to the wind?

What would you do for love and acceptance? Would you suppress your own opinions and desires? Would you lower your freak flag, choosing to do what it takes to receive that acceptance? Would you lie to yourself or others?

This is the important question: How do those past rewards affect the choices you make today?

My beloved readers, I’m talking about something called conditioning, specifically operant conditioning, a phenomenon you might have learned about (and swiftly discarded) in Psych 101.

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You Are Not Your Introversion

I’ll admit, the whole “introvert vs. extrovert” thing is something that I once found useful. Habitually shunning human contact in favor of books or video games tends to lead to all sorts of unpleasant labels like “loner,” “shy,” or “recluse.” People never used “misanthrope,” but they should have, because it’s a badass word.

I found it freeing when there was this zeitgeist online to redefine my behavior: I’m not a hermit, I’m an introvert! You’ve probably read it before, but here’s what the meme ended up being:

  • While extroverts gain energy from social interaction, introverts gain energy from alone time.
  • Introverts enjoy other people, but they lose energy when they interact.
  • You should feel grateful when an introvert spends her/his energy on you.
  • Challenging an introvert’s need for alone time is worse than the Chernobyl disaster.

Behold My Shiny New Label!

While the concept of introversion isn’t new, this idea of introvert-as-superhero is. It’s a reframing of something that was once negative, turning it into a badge of honor for those who choose to sacrifice their limited “energy” resources for the sake of their friends and loved ones. Suddenly, it was hip to be square.

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WTF Is a Panic Attack?

Yeah, I know you can hit up WebMD for the definition and clinical symptoms, but that’s not what this is for. First, I want to explain to non-sufferers why these are such a big deal. No, your loved one isn’t just being melodramatic. Second, I want to explain to those with panic disorder why, exactly, your brain is being such an asshole. As always, it means well.

A panic attack is, for a short time, the worst thing in the fucking world. It’s a near-death experience, just as truly as if you had been pinned under a semi and weren’t quite sure whether you still had legs. Your brain and body, joined together as if in some sort of conspiracy, are both reporting imminent doom.

The Positive Feedback Loop

A quick point about something called “positive feedback.” This is a mechanism that your body uses to get results, feeding escalating responses back and forth between two or more internal structures, even if it has to completely ignore your discomfort to do so. My favorite example is, of course, pooping.

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Mentally Ill In The First World

I’d like to write a little rant about being sick in the head, and my experience of it so far. It’s not fun, and it’s not all that funny.

I’m writing this for the anxious, who find themselves paralyzed in ways that no one understands; for the depressed, who shrink further and further into themselves, until sometimes they disappear; for those with disordered relationships with reality, who live in the same physical world, but with vastly different perceptions. I’m writing for the soul-hurt, marginalized, stigmatized sufferers, forced to travel alongside everyone else, but burdened with invisible illness.

I’m Ian Harvey, and I have anxiety.

Whee

More anxiety than is normal. Much more. I know that it doesn’t look like it, but what exactly should it look like? I know I don’t act like it (usually), but I’m excellent at hiding abnormal behaviors. Hell, we all are. We hide and we hide, we tell white lies to ourselves and others, all for the sake of passing as normal. When you see us act out or break down, that’s because we couldn’t pass any more.

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