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Life is a story

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Joined: 08 Jun 2015
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:11 am    Post subject: Life is a story Reply with quote

Hi all,

I haven't been on the forum much lately, there was a lot going on in my life... in the beginning of September, I got married in Luxembourg. A week later, my wife got her master's degree in anthropology in Geneva. We went back to Nicaragua, where I work, and my wife went to a friend's wedding in the US at the end of the month. While she was away, I visited some health projects in central/east Nicaragua and met some exceptional young doctors. A 33 year old director of a health center died 6 days after I met her in a car accident with her administrator and driver. Their car had been carried away by a drainage canal, that had swelled up to a river with the rains of tropical storm Nate. My wife came back, then her grandma died, and she had to go back to the US. While all this was going on, I was applying for an indeterminate contract with the same institution I already work for. I had to get up at 3 am to take an online exam that they had scheduled for noon Luxembourg time. They called me in for an interview and I flew back to Luxembourg for 4 days. This Monday I had the interview, and on Wednesday they called me to say I got the position. In a bizarre alignment of the planets, I received the news while waiting at the airport, sitting next to the hero of my youth, Tour de France winner Andy Schleck. I got on the plane and flew 15 hours to Nicaragua. It's sad to leave Nicaragua after only two years. I was expecting to stay at least 4 years. I haven't lived in Luxembourg for over 7 years, when I moved away I was still living with my mom. My wife has never lived in Luxembourg. All this happened in the span of under two months... some of it was planned, most of it wasn't. Now we have to pack everything up and sell all the rest, leave this place that's kind of weird but feels like home, for a place that should feel like home but really feels kind of weird. Anyways, what I really wanted to say was, when I was sitting alone on Monday waiting for them to call me in for the interview, I was quite anxious and nervous as is to be expected, but luckily I remembered a trick that I had discovered at some other time for calming my nerves: reciting Jeffrey Lewis' Ramen Song in my head.

Does anyone else have that - something you recite in your head for comfort, or to calm yourself down?
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Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1335

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoah, that's an intense sequence of events. That car accident in particular is terrifying to hear about.
I have a strange ritual whenever I have to take an airplane, I hate and fear the takeoff particularly, and whenever the plane first starts to move I close my eyes and start taking deep breaths and counting them, and I figure if I can take deep slow breaths and count them, and get past unlucky number 13, maybe I'll survive. And now that my Swedish-born girlfriend has taught me Swedish numbers, I've been doing my breath-counting in Swedish. I think even if most of my brain is in panic and stress, at least if one little part of my mind has to be concentrating on keeping count then at least not ALL of my mind is in panic (just most of it)!
Another ritual repetition I return to is the line in the Lou Reed song about Andy Warhol where he says "it's just work... the most important thing is work..." That line always gives me encouragement to work!
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Joined: 08 Jun 2015
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw Kimya Dawson and Pablo Das play in Cologne in 2012, and they performed a song/chant called "Frenzy Gobble". The story behind it is that they were in the very last row of a plane felt nervous and anxious, while all these people were standing next to them waiting to go to the bathroom. So they made up this chant to calm themselves down.

I actually found a video of it:
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Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I'm anxious it's really nice to just focus on writing down lyrics I have in my head. In my head it's all a mess and then when you write it down it comes in order and I like the rhythm of writing...

Last NovemberI hit peak anxiety, with continuous panic attacks for days. I've finally learned some really useful ways of managing anxiety, instead of things that just support the spirals in my head. I like looking around and finding as many blue/circular shaped/square/etc.. things. And count them. It's great during presentations or lectures too, when I can't focus on the story anymore, but at least I can look like I'm interested because I'm counting all the O's in the slides...

Funny how what works for one person doesn't for the other. My breath is my main problem when I'm anxious - I start to hyperventilate very easily. Even just being aware of my breath I don't know how my breath is supposed to go normally anymore, and I start feeling dizzy and light-headed... So I actually start finding ways to distract myself from my breath, haha!

By the way - anxiety attack is the first Jeff song I stumbled upon. That song actually helped me recognise that I was having anxiety/panick attacks, and made it easier to describe somehow. Now John Green just published his newest book, Turtles All the Way Down, which manages to put to words very well how being anxious feels. Art can be so important.
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