School’s Starting! Let’s Go to the Pool!

When I’m not writing about stuff, I help teachers, teach. Uh-oh! So now that part of me is out of the closet on this blog. Yikes!

Prior to admitting that I teach teachers, (I did teach kids for 30 years first) I outed myself in this blog for being:

  • a fake foodie
  • a pear-shaped clothing shopper
  • an inept cook, social media user, hiker, dieter, etc. etc. blah blah.

Then I outed myself as a gephyrophobic. That’s a fancy word for a person who is afraid of being or driving on a bridge. I prefer to use my own made-up word, Brobic.

From my background as a phobic, I was hooked by The NY Times Article, “Terror Conquered, the Water’s Fine.” Written by N. R. Kleinfield, the article’s tag was “A New Yorker Faces His Phobia, One Stroke at a Time.” It was about a 33 year old guy, Attis Clopton, who was afraid of swimming. After suffering  with his aquaphobia  for years, Attis signed up for swimming lessons.

As I read  his story, I forgot that I was originally hooked by the phobia angle. I was caught up in the methods,  an old teacher word, that teacher, Lori Pailet, used  to help Attis learn to swim and overcome his fear.

The story showed a teacher at work, a damn fine teacher. Most teachers I know are damn fine teachers too. Some of you will look at the article and say the man in this story  was “ready to learn,” and that’s why it worked. I don’t know.

I do know that we, teachers get all kinds of kids. Some of those kids are “ready to learn,” and some of them are not. Good teachers do their very best to reach them all. Hats off to Lori Pailet, and to all great teachers!

Here’s the link to the story: http://nyti.ms/1pPOPYU

Can I Laugh My Way Through Panic Attacks?

Yesterday I watched a wonderful Huff Post Live broadcast called Mental Health: Living With Anxiety. Thanks to the moderator and panelists who shared their experiences with phobias and panic attacks. The link to the program is below this post.

Here in my blog, I have begun to write about my own panic attacks on bridges, planes, mountains, and let’s just say, “anything that goes up, high.”

Here in this blog, I can be real smart. I can invent solutions, laugh and make cracks about heads floating up in the sky when we, panic attackers, are having our out of body experiences.

When I am not here in this blog, I am not so smart.

Let’s take Saturday night when my husband, Jerome the Great and Good, and I were heading to a restaurant in Queens.  He was driving and I was giving directions. Missing the access to the main part of the Queensboro Bridge, he drove on to the lower level. In seconds, we entered a rickety, single, OUTSIDE lane, which was once used as a trolley track. We were there with nothing between us, the East River and the rooftops of Manhattan and Queens, but a teeny-weeny, rusty, ripped up fence.

So, during that time, when I was not here in my blog, I did not say funny things.

I did sweat, hyperventilate, clench, pound, moan and pray.

And, in case you were wondering, I cursed; but I did not use the word “doodyhead” like I do here in my blog. Sometimes, “doodyhead” just doesn’t cut it.

I am fortunate that I will still travel on bridges, planes, even an occasional tram up a mountain. But nine times out of ten, it will be a hellish experience for me.

The thing is I keep living to tell about it.

For that, I say thanks to all those others who have shared their own stories and research. Thanks again to Scott Stossel, author of My Age of Anxiety, one of my favorite books, for tweeting and reminding me of the Huffington Post Live broadcast.

Also, thanks to the wonderful moderator and panelists at Huffington Post Live for their insight. The link to the program is below.

And I will continue to make attempts to look at the light side of all my stuff. Believe me, it would be a heck of a lot easier to write about only the dark side, but what fun would that be?

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/anxiety-in-america/53eaaa3778c90ab003000010

 

 

Night Terrors in the Bedroom

 

Photo Credit: Dia™ via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Dia™ via Compfight cc

Three a.m:  “Chirp. Chirp.”

She wakes.

Uh oh. The window’s open. The screen must be broken.  There’s a bird in the house.

Ridiculous. Go back to your dream.

I think it’s flying around the living room.

What if it’s not a bird? What if it’s a bat?

If it’s a bat, then we’ll have to go for rabies shots.

No, get a hold of yourself. Bats don’t make sounds. They use that echolocation stuff.   It’s one of our phones.

We just charged our cell phones. It must be the smoke detector.

“Wake up, Jerome.” He snores.

Chirp!  Chirp!

Oh my God! What if it’s the carbon monoxide detector? Do we even have a carbon monoxide detector? Is it that red and white thing that’s been hanging in the basement for twenty years? There must be a gas leak. I must be delirious, probably dying from the poison gas.

“Jerry, wake up. We gotta get out of here. I think we are unconscious. We’re dying.”

He snores.

She tiptoes out of the bedroom to investigate.

Chirp! Chirp!

The noise is definitely coming from behind her, in their bedroom.

She whirls and steps back. “Oh my God, Jerry!  It’s in this room. I think someone has been recording us.”

“Boring movie,” he speaks for the first time. He turns over.

Who had done recent work in their house?  Cable guy? Electrician? Which one of them installed the camera? She looks up at the ceiling fan. Was that little button there last week?

She looks down at her bleach stained green tee shirt and ratty sweats, and then at her snoring husband.

“You’re right,” she says as she gets back into bed, “pretty boring.” She gives a quick wave to the ceiling fan, pulls the covers to her neck, and goes back to sleep.

 

Nuts on a Plane

Photo Credit: faungg's photo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: faungg’s photo via Compfight cc

Nuts are soothing to eat, especially on a plane, during turbulence. Next time you fly through turbulence, look around. If you see a passenger resembling a deranged beaver gnashing savagely on her peanuts,  share your own measly pack of peanuts with her. Chomping those nuts with ferocity might just calm her enough to keep her in her seat and save all of you from the sight of her running through the plane, ripping off her clothes, and screaming, “I wanna get out.”

Gnashing nuts is definitely better than being nuts. As I am quite capable of both gnashing and being nuts on a plane, I read lots of stuff about my fear of flying. Once I even spoke to a pilot about my fears of turbulence. He suggested that I think of the plane (with me in it) as a grape sitting on a bed of Jell-O (the air).

“The grape,” he said,  “might get jostled but it will never fall through the Jell-O.”

I embraced this grape comparison as a compliment because in the past, I had always been likened to a pear, particularly when buying clothes.  If given a choice of being a grape and sitting on a bed of Jell-O, or being a pear and sitting in the middle seat on an airplane, while playing the “keep my thigh from rubbing your  thigh” game with the window and aisle passengers, I’d definitely opt to be the grape.

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Photo Credit: Mez Love via Compfight cc

Let’s go back to the nuts. I used to buy a whole bag of them at the airport concession stands before I got on my flights. It was worth paying a price almost as high as my plane ticket to have my little crunchy comforts in my seat pocket. Then, hurrah!  I flew Southwest! The peanuts and snacks at Southwest are freeeeeeeeeeeee! Yippee! On my last flight, the flight attendants came through the cabin on their first pass  and they tried very hard to make eye contact when they handed us our snacks. On their second pass, however, our keepers, oops, flight attendants  tossed our snack packs at us, and some of us, so happy to be fed for free, were leaping in the air to catch our little feed packs.

It’s all good, however. Gnashing nuts is a much better way to reduce flying anxiety than being tackled by six burly passengers, and then being restrained in my seat by their neckties, belts and shoe laces.  And, remember! On Southwest, the nuts are free!

Photo Credit: N00/4775842363/”>faungg’s photo via Compfight cc