Or is it a philosophical problem, as Plato and Spinoza and the cognitive-behavioral therapists would have it?Is it a psychological problem, a product of childhood trauma and sexual inhibition, as Freud and his acolytes once had it? Auden and David Riesman and Erich Fromm and Albert Camus and scores of modern commentators have declared—a cultural condition, a function of the times we live in and the structure of our society?Or is it a spiritual condition, as Søren Kierkegaard and his existentialist descendants claimed? The truth is that anxiety is at once a function of biology and philosophy, body and mind, instinct and reason, personality and culture.
Or is it a philosophical problem, as Plato and Spinoza and the cognitive-behavioral therapists would have it?Is it a psychological problem, a product of childhood trauma and sexual inhibition, as Freud and his acolytes once had it? Auden and David Riesman and Erich Fromm and Albert Camus and scores of modern commentators have declared—a cultural condition, a function of the times we live in and the structure of our society?Or is it a spiritual condition, as Søren Kierkegaard and his existentialist descendants claimed? The truth is that anxiety is at once a function of biology and philosophy, body and mind, instinct and reason, personality and culture.Tags: Mrs Obama Princeton ThesisHome Daycare Business Plan SampleBooks A Dying Art Dont Believe It EssayCafeteria Business PlanEssay On Reasons For TransferringPtlls Assignment 2
In short, I have, since the age of about 2, been a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears, and neuroses. At the end of the account I composed at her request, which was accurate as far as it went, I masked the emotional reality of what I thought (which was that the exposure had been an abject disaster and that Nurse R.
And I have, since the age of 10, when I was first taken to a mental hospital for evaluation and then referred to a psychiatrist for treatment, tried in various ways to overcome my anxiety. was a fatuous bitch) with an antiseptic clinical tone.
Thorazine (an antipsychotic that used to be referred to as a “major tranquilizer”) and imipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant) combined to help keep me out of the psychiatric hospital in the early 1980s, when I was in middle school and ravaged by anxiety.
Some drugs have helped a little, for finite periods of time.
On the one—the only—date I had in high school, when the young lady leaned in for a kiss during a romantic moment (we were outside, gazing at constellations through her telescope), I was overcome by anxiety and had to pull away for fear that I would vomit. For the next several days, I was too anxious to leave the house. She clearly felt bad about having subjected me to such a horrible experience.
My embarrassment was such that I stopped returning her phone calls. Though I was traumatized, her sense of guilt was so palpable that I felt sympathetic toward her.Sometimes this worry gets transmuted into low-grade physical discomfort—stomachaches, headaches, dizziness, pains in my arms and legs—or a general malaise, as though I have mononucleosis or the flu. Like a general monitoring the enemy’s advance, I keep a detailed mental map of recorded incidences of norovirus (the most common strain of stomach virus) and other forms of gastroenteritis, using the Internet to track outbreaks in the United States and around the world. For several years, in my mid-30s, I worked with a psychologist in Boston, Dr. gave me an article from an academic journal reporting on a clinical case of emetophobia successfully treated with this kind of exposure.“This is just a single case,” I said. And the only way to confront it is to throw up.”We had many versions of this conversation over the course of several months. Gently, reassuringly, she talked me through how the process would work. This increased my anxiety—because if they were worried, then I should really be scared, I thought. I worried that I might just keep dry heaving for hours or days. kept trying to convince me to take more ipecac, but by now I just wanted to avoid vomiting.At various times, I have developed anxiety-induced difficulties breathing, swallowing, even walking; these difficulties then become obsessions, consuming all of my thinking. Such is the nature of my obsession that I can tell you at any given moment exactly which nursing homes in New Zealand, cruise ships in the Mediterranean, and elementary schools in Virginia are contending with outbreaks. M., who had a practice at one of the city’s academic medical centers. “It’s from 1979.”“There have been lots of others,” she said, and reminded me again of her colleague’s patient.“I can’t do it.”“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do,” Dr. She and the staff nurse would reserve a lab upstairs for my privacy and would be with me the whole time. had attached a pulse-and-oxygen-level monitor to my finger. Suddenly I was struck by heaving and I turned to the toilet. I knelt on the floor and waited, still hoping the event would come quickly and then be over. (On the other hand, at some level I wanted to pass out, even if that meant dying.) After about 40 minutes and several more bouts of retching, Dr. At some point, I switched from hoping that I would vomit quickly and be done with the ordeal to thinking that maybe I could fight the ipecac and simply wait for the nausea to wear off. I hadn’t retched for a while, so I was surprised to be stricken by another bout of violent heaving.I also, however, recognize that, based on this experience in resisting the effects of the ipecac, my power to prevent myself from vomiting is quite strong. I confess I took some perverse pleasure from the irony here—the ipecac I took made someone else vomit—but mainly I felt traumatized. for a few more months—we “processed” the botched exposure and then, both of us wanting to forget the whole thing, turned from emetophobia to various other phobias and neuroses—but the sessions now had an elegiac, desultory feel. The author with his grandfather and great-grandfather (at left, with cane), who endured multiple hospitalizations and rounds of electroshock therapy for anxiety between the 1940s and 1960s.It seems I’m not very good at getting over my phobias but quite good at making my therapists sick. (Courtesy of the Stossel family)a medical illness, as Hippocrates and Aristotle and many modern psychopharmacologists would have it?I have been known to take a discreet last-second swig while walking onstage—because even as I’m still experiencing the anxiety that makes me want to drink more, my inhibition has been lowered, and my judgment impaired, by the liquor and benzodiazepines I’ve already consumed. In 2012, Americans filled nearly 50 million prescriptions for just one antianxiety drug: alprazolam, the generic name for Xanax.If I’ve managed to hit the sweet spot—that perfect combination of timing and dosage whereby the cognitive and psychomotor sedating effect of the drugs and alcohol balances out the physiological hyperarousal of the anxiety—then I’m probably doing okay up here: nervous but not miserable; a little fuzzy but still able to speak clearly; the anxiogenic effects of the situation (me, speaking in front of people) counteracted by the anxiolytic effects of what I’ve consumed. And anxiety, of course, extends far beyond the population of the officially mentally ill.I wish I could say that my anxiety is a recent development, or that it is limited to public speaking. My wedding was accompanied by sweating so torrential that it soaked through my clothes and by shakes so severe that I had to lean on my bride at the altar, so as not to collapse. (People who are unable to experience anxiety are, according to some theorists, more deeply pathological—and more dangerous to society—than those who experience it acutely or irrationally; they’re psychopaths.)My life has, thankfully, lacked great tragedy or melodrama. But if you could peer beneath the surface, you would see that I’m like a duck—paddling, paddling, paddling. Most of all, I hope they—and by “they” I mean “many of you”—will find some solace in learning that they are not alone.a pathological fear of vomiting, but it’s been a while since I last vomited. And needless to say, I hope to make it through the balance of my life without having that streak disrupted.At the birth of our first child, the nurses had to briefly stop ministering to my wife, who was in the throes of labor, to attend to me as I turned pale and keeled over. More than a while, actually: as I type this, it’s been, to be precise, 35 years, two months, four days, 23 hours, and 34 minutes. (Naturally, I was reluctant even to type this paragraph, and particularly that last sentence, for fear of jinxing myself or inviting cosmic rebuke, and I am knocking on wood and offering up prayers to various gods and Fates as I write this.) What this means is that I have spent, by rough calculation, at least 60 percent of my waking life thinking about and worrying about something that I have spent zero percent of the past three-plus decades doing. And yet, an astonishing portion of my life is built around trying to evade vomiting and preparing for the eventuality that I might throw up.I’ve abandoned dates; walked out of exams; and had breakdowns during job interviews, plane flights, train trips, and car rides, and simply walking down the street. Meaning that more than 83 percent of my days on Earth have transpired in the time since I last threw up, during the early evening of March 7, 1977, when I was 7 years old. Some of my behavior is standard germophobic stuff: avoiding hospitals and public restrooms, giving wide berth to sick people, obsessively washing my hands, paying careful attention to the provenance of everything I eat.On ordinary days, doing ordinary things—reading a book, lying in bed, talking on the phone, sitting in a meeting, playing tennis—I have thousands of times been stricken by a pervasive sense of existential dread and been beset by nausea, vertigo, shaking, and a panoply of other physical symptoms. But other behavior is more extreme, given the statistical unlikelihood of my vomiting at any given moment.