Archive for February, 2005

Not for the claustrophobic

Today’s BART ride home was a little too crowded. Good thing I’m not claustrophobic! I was wedged between about four people and the door. My bag hit one woman so I apologized to her, right as I hit another woman with it. Oops.
Speaking of claustrophobia, this weekend I watched a video about getting over phobias and OCD (the latter of which I don’t have, thankfully), per the suggestion of the therapist that I’m seeing (who is teaching me not to worry so much about my health). There were many interesting things that I learned in the tape, including:

  • There are two things that the brain worries about: it doesn’t want to die, and it doesn’t want to be embarrassed. If you think about that for a minute, you’ll see that this is the root of all phobias and social anxiety.
  • Phobics are intelligent, creative people (he listed some other qualities which I promptly forgot) who are great at imagining things. Unfortunately this often works against them.
  • Phobics develop a “sentry” which is always on the lookout for the thing you are afraid of. It’s awake all day, all night, which is why anxious people don’t sleep well (which I’ve been having trouble with in recent months). Thankfully my “sentry” has quieted down considerably in recent weeks.
  • Getting over phobias involves desensitization (I learned all this back in my cognitive science days at UCSD). You expose yourself to your fear (instead of avoiding it) very slowly, each time for a little longer as you get comfortable. Unfortunately this is kind of hard for my situation, as I can’t exactly expose myself to heart palpitations, as they kind of have a mind of their own.
  • As you accomplish the above steps, you achieve “victories”. You should write these down and read them often. The brain likes things which are written down. So for me I could write “my heart has skipped thousands of times and I haven’t died yet” or “people don’t die from heart palpitations”. As you read over these things the brain will eventually realize that it’s not worth worrying about these things anymore.
  • Phobics and those with social anxiety are “people pleasers” who will go out of their way to help others in order to gain acceptance and positive responses. I’m very guilty of this, and have always been that way. I think that’s how I’ve been “used” by people I’ve known in the past.
  • People generally don’t like saying “no”. The people who I just described have a fear of rejection/embarrassment — of people saying “no”. You can ask people for anything you want — you have that right. Of course, people can still say no, but you need to word your question in a way that makes it harder for people to say no. In other words, don’t qualify it. For example, if you’re asking the boss for a raise, don’t preface your request by saying “I know we just had a tough quarter, but…”, as it just gives him an excuse to say no.
    All in all it was an interesting tape. The guy who was the speaker was a doctor at Kaiser for ages and he suffered (in silence) with claustrophobia for 31 years. He took a class similar to the one he now teaches and got over it in 4 weeks. Now that’s inspiring.

  • Toy time

    I’m rewarding myself this week with some new toys.

    Panasonic 5-disc mini CD/DVD player. I don’t need the DVD functions since I don’t have a TV in my bedroom, but it’s great for music. My old minisystem had a noisy fan (yes, it had a fan, and so does the new one) that annoyed me to no end. I think I already found someone who will take my old stereo off my hands.

    Canon EOS-20D. One of the perks of my job is that I get great deals on cameras as a member of the media. I will be selling my venerable EOS-D60 and will get the 20D with the 18 – 55 mm lens plus the 420EX Speedlite. I’m also going to buy the Sigma 50mm macro lens for my product shots.

    Understatement of the year


    Hopefully you can read the label… Ambien 10MG… and the sticker… “may cause drowsiness”. Yeah no kidding. This stuff knocks you out and keeps you out until it’s done — and when it’s done working, you wake right back up.
    I begged my doctor for some since I was having trouble sleeping and it got me on the right track in about a week. Ambien’s biggest flaw: it costs $3.25 a pill!

    Spring in Brentwood, part 2


    Spring is really starting to show up in the orchards here… you can even smell the flowers when you walk on the trail!
    Click the link below to see a few pictures!

    More >

    Cool pics of the week


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    Pete enjoys sitting up in the closet from time to time. Here she’s all cozy in her spot, until she was disturbed by an annoying human with a digital camera. Taken with the Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z5.

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    What happens when my standard night photo gets blurred by camera shake. A cool effect! Taken with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33.