Fight, Flight, Freeze Response

fightflightfreeze

 

Through dealing with anxiety, we all have various methods in calming ourselves down when it gets to a fever pitch and becomes a panic attack. Similar to fear, anxiety invokes a comparable fight, flight, freeze response in the brain. Initially fight, flight, freeze were connected to life threatening danger, but anxiety has brought it to a new stage for the new digital age.

 

The difference with anxiety is it seems to exclusively select flight or freeze first as the battle is essentially internal. People suffering from social anxiety face the fight, flight, freeze stimulus every time they’re invited somewhere they’ve never been with people they’ve never met, for example. The flight and freeze are the initial instinct because the fight comes from within you. Choosing to confront the anxiety and challenging you through the discomfort.

 

All these anxieties and fears derive from the fight, flight, freeze response and that is a constant internal battle of no and yes. The constant question of our futures often cripples us from experiencing events that can often be positive experiences. Once we overcome the fight, flight, freeze response and embrace our surroundings, no matter what they are, we can overcome the situation itself.

 

One of the tools I’ve used to overcome my internal fight, flight, freeze response is statistically probability. Something I’ve had the fortune of experiencing in my life is swimming with sharks, stingrays and other tropical animals and fish. This is an event that would normally initiate a fight, flight, freeze response in many people but the thought of the statistically probability of being attacked is slim to none really comforted me and I was completely at ease. Statistically probability might not be your thing, but those numbers are out there for you to access if you ever fear something.

 

Whether the instinct is to fight, fly or freeze depends on your personal experience with anxiety and your response to the situation. No two people suffer in the same way, though there are overlapping similarities bunched into categories such as social anxiety, driving anxiety (road rage), travel anxiety, agoraphobia and claustrophobia, all things I will go into further detail on in a later blog.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

This review contains spoilers so see the movie before reading this. You will not regret it.

Going into Guardians of the Galaxy I didn’t expect much. The comics were cool and had a good plot but they never stood out like Marvel groups like the X-Men and the Avengers, but this movie pulled everything together with Thanos and made me excited for the next movie.

The hype is astounding. I see ads for the movie everywhere, I see ads for Guardians costumes in every comic book I read. Guardians of the Galaxy is essentially everywhere and it knows no borders. When hype is really high some people get very hesitant to see it. I’m usually one of those people, but Marvel always gets my money at the theatres and later on Bluray. Guardians is a captivating intergalactic action adventure with humor that appeals to all generations.  Going into Guardians, I was looking forward to seeing David Bautista playing a role in a Marvel film as Drax, his acting is a lot more natural for the role than I even expected. I hope this film takes his career to new levels, as a wrestling fan of his with a signed photograph I can appreciate his net worth growth opposed to most wrestling fans that don’t like a superstar selling out. The truth is, Guardians of the Galaxy sold out… Theatres everywhere.

Rocket Racoon provided most of the adult humor as he does in the comics, but the real surprise was Groot in his spontaneous selflessness that borders on pure innocence. Star Lord is the protagonist of the films, but all the characters are quickly well established and play off each other. I bet Chris Pratt legitimately got chills like his character does when Bautista, aka Drax, pats him on the back and says “I am with you.”

Michael Rooker from Walking Dead and Mallrats plays Yondu Udonta which is a role very well suited for him as an intimidating guy with a great sense of humor once you can get past the fact that he’s blue and his teeth are messed up. By the end up the movie his character has its own arc despite being in the film for maybe 30 minutes of screen time. He ends up playing a pivotal role on several occasions, and one could argue that without Yondu, the Guardians of the Galaxy wouldn’t have come together.

From a comic book fan perspective, I was on the edge of my seat the second the plot reveals an infinity stone with Thanos working with Ronan and Nebula to obtain it from Star Lord. Meanwhile Thanos’s “favorite daughter” Gamora turns on him to join the Guardians of the Galaxy to main peace and order in the Galaxy with the infinity gem kept safe by the Nova corps. This has me excited for multiple reasons. I’m a fan of the superhero Nova despite other readers judging “I can’t believe anyone still reads Nova.” But many large storylines involve a Nova character and they’re far stronger than any Nova featured in the film. I’m curious if they will introduce him in the second Guardians of the Galaxy or in the new Avengers which also features Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch who are Magneto’s children in the comics but is subject to change in Avengers because Fox owns the rights to the X-Men.

Nova

The other thing I’m excited about for the Marvel plotline, at least in the intergalactic films (Guardians, Avengers, Fantastic Four), is to see Thanos start collecting the infinity stones to collect them all and form the Infinity Gauntlet. The Infinity Gauntlet series is my favorite Marvel series. Thanos because the all powerful ruler of the universe and has the likes of the X-Men and the Avengers teaming up with unlikely allies in Galactus, and the Beyonder. I feel the Infinity Gauntlet is at least several years away, possibly even a decade considering Guardians focused on one gem and Thanos needs to collect six gems, including the one now in the possession of the Nova corps. The series shows how evil Thanos is as he is motivated by love of Death itself. Other characters must also be established before the film may be released and Disney/Marvel needs to obtain the X-Men film rights. For fans, this means more unique heroes and villains with their own powers and when they come together it may not be as good as it seems. In the end, Thanos falls to Nebula and Nebula falls to the heroes.

Infinity Gauntlet

Guardians of the Galaxy is awesome. The hype is completely warranted. The intergalactic battles show off Disney’s ability to take things to space in anticipation of the upcoming Star Wars films. Guardians ends with a cliffhanger for the next movie and ties into the franchises already established flawlessly. I focus on plot more often than others and I saw no hiccups. The editing and visual effects are likely to be candidates for an Oscar when that time of year comes around.

After the credits The Collector, shown near the second turning point of Guardians of the Galaxy is seen sitting with Howard the Duck in his destroyed lab where the Infinity Gem’s power was unleashed. Howard was shown in the background of an earlier scene in the same room in a hanging cage as one of the Collectors prizes. Howard the Duck is a former Marvel comic book hero that is also an unlikely paring of a duck named Howard with a twisted sense of humor. His comic series had very mature content similar to the infamous Fritz the Cat. With any luck, this isn’t teasing another Howard the Duck movie considering how awful the first one was.

Anxiety Blog 3

I’m starting to realize as I continue to recover from my anxiety disorder that things that used to give me horrible anxiety no longer even seem to affect me in some cases. 

I don’t like curveball’s, I never did. As long as I can remember, once I got something in my head, anything that got in the way of it was an obstacle. Growing up, that obstacle was crippling anxiety. It’s hard to describe. A lot of people think 3 steps ahead of what they’re presently doing, but in my case I can’t even think about doing other things before I do those three things I was already thinking about. This likely stems from a memory issue that has also been repaired through post secondary education.

There’s a difference between getting annoyed from an obstacle and having anxiety about it. To put it into perspective, there was a time my mother asked me to walk the dog. This is a perfectly acceptable thing to request since I walk the dog every day, but the timing was against me. I had thought 3 steps ahead, so now I had to rush those three things. As I rushed doing those things, I felt winded and dizzy from the panic attack that was now in full tilt. During the walk, the stress of the day already seemed to fall away even though it wasn’t even lunch time yet. The sun was shining, Chloe (my 16 y/o multipoo) was happy, and the tide at White Rock Beach was out. The serenity of nature is something that has been a large part of learning to deal with my anxiety. Often I’ll go out of my way to take a stroll through the park to ease my mind, sometimes listening to music that reminds me of simpler times, or the music that opens my mind.

Anxiety alone is a complex thing. I estimate that I have had anxiety issues with panic attacks since I was 6 years old. My earliest memory specifically was moving for the first time when my parents divorced, I kept everything packed in my closet. Unpacking and putting things away felt weird in the new house, and when I was asked to unpack, every item I retrieved from the closet to place somewhere in the room felt like a punch to the gut. As if unpacking was forever binding me to the spot, a slave to my space.

Alert and attentive, but anxiously uncomfortable
Alert and attentive, but anxiously uncomfortable

A form of anxiety that’s rather common, as it reaches those that don’t otherwise have the pleasure of experiencing anxiety, is test anxiety. It’s the big day of the final and you studied all night, barely getting any sleep. You walk into class and instantly are struck with fear. Desks are organized with tests for every seat, you sit in the back corner by the window for some natural sunlight, as if it will help you. As you gaze onto the paper, the first question doesn’t look familiar and you instantly panic, assuming you studied the wrong chapter. This is when people need to take a breathe and just read all the questions, go through it and note the questions you DO recognize. With every answer you feel progressively less confident in your test, knowing that you will fail. When you give the test to your teacher finally, (s)he looks up at you with a sinister grin, they know you failed just from looking at your answers. You grab your stuff as quietly as possible so as to not disturb the peace and quiet, and hurry out of the room. The worries of the test are over, you feel sweaty and tired, but you survived. That’s the feeling of surviving a panic attack, but a far more tame version.

As a writer, I get in ‘the zone’ similar to the ‘wired in’ term used in the successful film “The Social Network” about the origin of Facebook. This is the only thing I still get significant anxiety if it’s interrupted, fearing to lose the roll I was on, scared to lose my inspiration and end up playing video games instead. Usually this means I’m writing in my room with my stereo playing Blink-182, surrounded by the soft glow of my laptop, or sitting on a hill with notepad and pen in hand the old fashioned way. I require a bubble to be in this zone, and get anxious the second someone steps into it. I minimize what I was writing if they hover over my shoulder, because to me, none of my work is worth reading until it is finished. When asked what I’m doing on the spot, usually I’ll lie and say I’m just on Facebook, or doing nothing at all, revealing to the same person later that I was writing an article; proceed to show them the finished article no problem.

People think my anxiety is a social anxiety, a sign of a lack of confidence. People who hang out with me frequently know that is not the issue. The problem is I’m afraid of what people assume. People see what they see, they don’t live your life, so if they don’t see you do something and you don’t talk about it, then it didn’t happen to them at all.

Instead of acknowledging a sign of ignorance, us humans seem to wish to piece everything together ourselves without asking questions or talking about the subject matter. So something as simple as walking to the store can be blown out of proportion. If your boss doesn’t witness you doing your work, they will assume you are an insubordinate and lose faith in you until the results come in, in which case the boss takes credit because you were clearly on Facebook while helping customers, or because you had your phone out as (s)he passes by your cubicle. Teachers in college assume students aren’t paying attention when they use their laptops during a lecture. Girlfriends assume you’re mad at them if you’re having a bad day. Boyfriends assume you’re PMSing just because you’re having a bad day. Instead of assuming things like this, what is the harm in simply asking what’s the matter. That takes a significantly less amount of energy to do than creating your version of the story.

With a society that seems to be plagued with a constant sense of entitlement, it’s based upon these outlandish assumptions creating a jumbled world where people would rather come up with stories than listen to the real side of the story. We’re all guilty of assuming too much, even myself. I often catch myself assuming certain things, but better to catch myself before I let it take over and become truth in my brain. Maybe it’s because a lot of people are incapable of articulating their feelings, or thoughts without getting angry and into a heated argument. That’s how things were with me until I understood myself a little more. Maybe the first step is to look within.

Great quote, good color scheme
Great quote, good color scheme

Like I mentioned yesterday in my shout-out to Bell for another successful annual Let’s Talk event, spreading awareness about mental health is in a lot of cases more important than raising money for the cause. The more people know about it, the more we might be able to diagnose things before they consume too much of someone’s life. It took almost 20 years for me to conquer my anxiety and I still whimper to the effects on bad days. People suffering from any mental illness come with them their own set of ticks and social issues, but if society understands the difference between someone that’s bi-polar and someone that’s a paranoid schizophrenic less people will be outsiders, less people will face rejection, and we can create a more suitable environment for all of us.

This blog summed up in one photo
This blog summed up in one photo

Thank You, Bell

Another annual Bell Let’s Talk event has come and gone in 2014.

According to Bell, they set new records this year thanks to all the help on social media and through the natural art of texting. 109,451,718 tweets, texts, calls and shares on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2014 – Bell will donate a further $5,472,585.90 to Canadian mental health programs. Now you can feel good about any excessive texting you do, at least for one day. Parents of teens, don’t give your kids too much flack for their next bill, it’s going to a great cause!

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Since 2010, Bell has committed $62.5 million to mental health initiatives in Canada. Not only do they run a successful annual charity event, but even more importantly, they spread awareness of issues such as anxiety, depression, etc. Mental health awareness is an important thing to a society where teens kill themselves suffering from mental illness, but if people understood the issue more it might be prevented.

I have fallen prey to mental health issues, particularly the effects of heavy anxiety. It has been a long journey to where I am today, and it all started with my blog. I wrote two blogs about it, which you can find on my wordpress to those of you that aren’t aware, and I’ll be releasing more essay’s about the subject as time goes on, as it is a subject I like to study and learn as I cope with it, discovering ways to deal with it.

Our government has neglected the mental health sector in many ways, but it is thanks to charity events such as this that we can get money into these programs, into paying registered professionals to help those who need it. People who don’t have a mental illness have a hard time understanding what it means. When they hear you have one they think you’re crazy. That’s not a very healthy way of looking at it, in fact, looking at things from that angle is part of the problem. This year’s Bell Let’s Talk event successfully reached those people through their marketing and maybe by next years event, more people will understand what it means to have depression, anxiety,  bi-polar, or any one of the hundreds of other illnesses/disorders. Until then, Bell will be behind guiding the people toward conquering what plagues them.

My thoughts on Hurricane Sandy

My thoughts on Hurricane Sandy:

 

Well, first of all I would like to say RIP to the deceased, and for those people out there that lost homes, lost jobs, etc. because of it, I hope all the best to you.

But honestly, it we knew this was going to happen. Many scientists have been saying, even Al Gore, a previous vice president said that this would happen in his movie: An Inconvenient Truth. There were specials on CNN more frequently as time went on about the possibilities of hurricanes. So the people who are surprised by this really didn’t have their eyes open much. It’s kind of like the British Columbia “Big One” earthquake that we have been expecting all my life, and anyone who knows anything about Geology knows that it will happen in my life time for sure, yet so many people just blow it off like it’s an annoying joke. Stuff like this IS GOING TO HAPPEN, as much as it suck to believe and experience, and it will happen again. Prepare for the worst, and spend money on protecting citizens instead of Wall Street.

Global warming is not even worth arguing about anymore. If you don’t see it for yourself, you’re an idiot. Storms like this are happening way more frequently, ice caps are melting, and seasons are getting way more intense respectively. Personally, I suggested avoiding affected areas, but in the event of Sandy, that leaves out way too many states, however, you can avoid places like New Orleans or countries like Haiti if you wish to avoid the stress of dealing with situations like this, and hey, I’ve never experience a hurricane in Beautiful British Columbia, maybe after the “Big One” you could move here. 😉

Many people don’t know or understand the Gaia Hypothesis, it is Mother Nature’s way of cleansing itself, no matter what. Perhaps the abundance of deadly storms is Her way of trying to cleanse herself of man. She will one day I believe. Global warming is just a theory as to how.

 

After this sort of thing I ponder how evolution may have devolved some of our senses. Query, what sense is it to continue living in an area that is constantly affected by natural disasters? I believe our ancestors would have sought shelter elsewhere probably after the second natural disaster to hit them, maybe even the first. Yet, people repeatedly just take the abuse from mother nature. Indeed, it is probably a money issue, but ultimately you would still end up saving it if you moved away. You wouldn’t have to constantly rebuild every year. Perhaps it’s emotional attachment. This wouldn’t have even been considered by ancestors, to them, their lives were more important than memories.

 

Right now people are debating whether or not the New York City Marathon should take place, this is a strange notion to me. On one hand I think the people who want to run should be able to run. Why not make a flash group or something and do it anyways even if the mayor calls it off? On the other hand, lots of the city is destroyed, without power, and without basic supplies, so we need to focus on helping those people. But just because they are in turmoil doesn’t mean people should be prohibited to run. Do what you want people, but still focus on helping your fellow man.  Personally, if I lived in New York and was unaffected by this, I would still donate money, clothes, whatever others in my city who were less fortunate than I had been needs to get back on track. But the world doesn’t work like that. People are thrown out of their homes, and people are bankrupted for political gain.  It’s too bad good people are so few and far between, when stuff like this happens, there’s just enough of them to get by.

 

I wish everyone in New York and other affected areas the best. You’re in my thoughts, and prayers.