Wil Wheaton has publicly discussed his anxiety and depression before; I know several people whose lives were improved by reading what he had to say. Read the rest
Being medicated is the best and the absolute worst.
I take a cocktail of anti-anxiety and anti-depressive drugs on a daily basis to help me deal with the symptoms that come with my PTSD. Most of the time, I'm grateful for them: They've helped to numb me, just enough so that I can use the techniques I've learned in therapy to help ground myself during a flashback or panic attack. Now that I'm medicated – I refused treatment for years – I'm able to maintain a healthy relationship.
The rage and detachment I've experienced these past 20 years have been tamped down far enough that I can empathize, fully, with my wife, friends and colleagues. It's hard work, sometimes! But I feel healthier than I have in years. A lot of the time, I'm even able to sleep through the night. The paranoia I deal with and the thoughts that refuse to stop tumbling around in my head give way to slumber, most evenings. It's still a frequent thing for me to wake up, sweat-drenched and alert in the dead of night, but it feels manageable. Before, it was just exhausting and sad.
But then, on occasion, a doctor decides that maybe I should be on something new; something different. This happened two days ago. I'm not digging it.
I was warned: when starting on these new pills (no, I'm not going to tell you what they are) I'd experience more anxiety for the next few weeks as the old drugs leave my system and my new pharmaceutical hotness takes hold. Read the rest
In High intelligence: A risk factor for psychological and physiological overexcitabilities, a group of academic and industry neuroscientists survey a self-selected group of 3,715 MENSA members about their mental health history and find a correlation between high IQ and clinical anxiety and depression disorders, an effect they attribute to "overexitabilities" -- "the same heightened awareness that inspires an intellectually gifted artist to create can also potentially drive that same individual to withdraw into a deep depression." Read the rest
In the last decade, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere have launched new studies investigating whether psychedelic drugs, from shrooms to LSD to DMT, can treat mental disorders ranging from depression and PTSD to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Vox reporters German Lopez and Javier Zarracina surveyed the state of medical research on hallucinogens:
In a recent study, British researchers used brain imaging techniques to gauge how the brain looks on LSD versus a placebo. They found big differences between LSD and the placebo, with the images of the brain on LSD showing much more connectivity between different sections of the mind.
This can help explain visual hallucinations, because it means various parts of the brain — not just the visual cortex at the back of the mind — are communicating during an LSD trip.
This, researchers argued, may show not just why psychedelic drugs trigger hallucinogenic experiences but also why they may be able to help people. "In many psychiatric disorders, the brain may be viewed as having become entrenched in pathology, such that core behaviors become automated and rigid," the researchers wrote. "Consistent with their ‘entropic’ effect on cortical activity, psychedelics may work to break down such disorders by dismantling the patterns of activity on which they rest."
The Worrier's Guide to Life
by Gemma Correll
Andrews McMeel Publishing
2015, 112 pages, 6.5 x 8 x 0.4 inches (softcover)
Are you an every-second second-guesser? Do pizza, sweatpants, and pugs sound like your perfect Friday night? Do you ever want to punch your brain in the face? Are you starting to feel anxious because I’m asking you so many questions? Find comfort in Gemma Correll’s new collection of comic snapshots, The Worrier’s Guide to Life.
You can easily slip this slender book into your bag and bring it along to all those anxiety-producing other-people-filled situations that seem to dominate life. When faced with an overly crowded waiting room full of obviously contagious people whose germs will surely turn your sinus infection into a face plague, hide your nose in this book! If you’re forced to stomach a social gathering full of professional bloggers who couldn’t possibly look that good or be that happy in real life but ohmygod they do and they are and you haven’t showered in three days, steal away to a corner, flip open this book, and remember you’re not alone! Correll offers sketches of an anxious life, as lived by everyone from fetuses to fairytale princesses, interspersed with snippets from her ongoing series of punny visual lists. These delightfully silly sets include “Urban Birthstones,” featuring rings topped with a bit of styrofoam, a cigarette butt, or a balled-up passive-aggressive note, depending on your month, as well as “Pasta Shapes for the Depressed,” “Sexy Halloween Costumes for the Ladyeez,” and “Ye Olde Video Games.”
You can get a daily fix of Gemma Correll’s illustrated insights and anxieties via her various social media streams, but it’s lovely to actually flip through her work in a real-life book rather than, or in addition to, reading it on a scrolling screen. Read the rest
What our brains learn, they can also unlearn—including what makes us anxious. That's the idea behind Neurotic Neurons, an interactive work by Nicky Case that explores the neuroscience of anxiety, and particularly the theory of Hebbian learning, wherein "neurons that fire together, wire together" and create associations in the mind. Read the rest