I should mention that I have good reason to check my shoes. Once, when I was working at a local radio station, while on the air I discovered a dead cricket in my shoe. I tried to maintain a calm, composed voice while flipping the shoe off so hard it hit the back wall. So this is a case of It happened to me before. It might happen again. To this day I’m relieved I didn’t notice it while driving. I would have wrecked for sure.
Imagine each stressor as a blanket. The day-to-day stress is just a sheet, covering you as you lie in bed. Most people sleep with a blanket or sheet each night. This is nothing new; it’s comfortable and normal. Then you get a flat tire. Add a blanket. Then your job is in jeopardy because a grant may not be renewed. Add a fleece throw. Your child is sick. Add two duvets. You start to feel the pressure. You have to take off the covers one at a time to stay comfortable—to help you breathe. To save you from sweaty, sleepless nights. Imagine this, but your bedroom is 98 degrees at all times. Like a hot, humid Miami day (without the cool beaches and strong drinks). Now add the blankets back on.
This is what life is like for me. Once all the blankets are on, everything becomes a nightmare: Chewing noises from my husband. The sound of a keyboard clicking. The way the air blows on my face. The sound of a fork on teeth. My chest feels tight. Every time, I’m convinced I’m having a heart attack. This is what life is like with anxiety.
In response to Scott Stossel’s January/ February cover story about living with anxiety, many hundreds of readers proposed remedies for anxiety. Some of the more common recommendations included:
cut out caffeine
cut out gluten
cut out refined sugar
cut out all grains, dairy, wheat
Vitamin B supplements
Vitamin D supplements
get treated for hypoglycemia
NMDA antagonists (like etamine)
daily gratitude exercises
traditional Chinese medicine
get more sunlight
read Essential Spirituality, by Roger Walsh
read The Denial of Death, by Ernest Becker
read the works of Claire Weekes (Hope and Help for Your Nerves, Peace From Nervous Suffering)
put faith in God (or some other higher power)
transcranial magnetic stimulation
Meridian Tapping (a k a Emotional Freedom Technique)
psychoanalysis to deal with rage against your mother
Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy
get a grip
HOW TO ESCAPE THE COMMUNITY-COLLEGE TRAP
In the January/February issue, Ann Hulbert described the deficiencies of community colleges, where nearly half of all undergraduates are enrolled. She also highlighted an innovative new program, asap, that seeks to remedy the system.