Quick programming notes.
1. If you’re trying to text me and you’re an international number, I can’t text back for some reason. So just email me back, cool?
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3. I’m coming up to close to 500 personal communications with y’all. Wow! Actual, real conversations (even if it’s only texting). You guys are bearing your souls to me and it is amazing and I’m learning a lot and we’re actually getting to know one another. That’s what this is all about. So f-ing text me, k?
Panic attacks are real shit. I know, I’ve had them. The first one I had was the worst, and I’ve since learned how to control them though my own mind. They’re not physical. It’s all in your head. If you’ve had one, you know that now. If you haven’t, yet, it’s gonna be a terrible, but also powerful experience in how to train your brain to let shit go. Easier said than done, but you CAN do it.
Heard enough about the CoronaVirus? Me too. But is what you’ve heard or read true? Or is it media hype? It’s quite the conundrum isn’t it? What to believe?
In an age where we know more than we ever knew before, but also are more confused than ever before.
That’s quite a paradox.
Depending on what you believe you either think this panic is justified and real, or it’s a media concoction. Doesn’t matter what you believe. What matters is understanding why people panic. If that’s you, maybe this will help. I talked about this recently in a previous SYCS thought.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, panic disorders, “If left untreated, can lower your quality of life because it may lead to other fears and mental health disorders, problems at work or school, and social isolation.”
In other words, ruin your fucking life. It can debilitate you to the point that you can’t leave your house, or function on a normal human being level in social circumstances.
Everyone panics. But some more than others. But why?
According to Reuters, nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime. Also, about one in 10 people globally also said they were experiencing fear or anxiety about the impending end of the world. This was a study conducted in 2012! Can you imagine what those numbers are today?
Let’s unpack this. 15 percent of humans believe the world is going to end in their lifetime. There are 7.7 BILLION people on Earth. I can’t do the math and I’m not going to try. What’s 15 percent of that?
I’ll tell you what that is, a shit ton of people.
The reasons why they think that way are unimportant. Could be religious. Could be mental illness. The point is they believe it.
People have always had these fears, but it’s worse now, probably. Why? Because the Internet and social media have taken those fears and poured gasoline on them and set them on fire, now broadcast to the palm of your hand through your iPhone 24/7. KABOOM!
But let’s take this deeper.
Why do people find comfort in the apocalypse?
We LOVE movies and books about the end of the world. It’s a billion dollar industry. But why?
University of Minnesota neuroscientist Shmuel Lissek, who studies the fear system, suspects that some apocalyptic believers find the idea that the end is nigh to be validating.
Enter your text here...Individuals with a history of traumatic experiences, for example, may be fatalistic. For these people, finding a group of like-minded fatalists is reassuring. There may also be comfort in being able to attribute doom to some larger cosmic order—such as an ancient Mayan prophecy. This kind of mythology removes any sense of individual responsibility. There’s an even broader allure to knowing the precise end date. "Apocalyptic beliefs make existential threats—the fear of our mortality—predictable," Lissek says. Lissek, in collaboration with National Institute of Mental Health neuroscientist Christian Grillon and colleagues, has found that when an unpleasant or painful experience, such as an electric shock, is predictable, we relax. The anxiety produced by uncertainty is gone. Knowing when the end will come doesn't appeal equally to everyone, of course—but for many of us it's paradoxically a reason to stop worrying.
And there you have it. We find comfort in the world ending because it means we can stop worrying about shit. We lose our responsibilities.
Worrying about car payments. Worrying about our kids. Worrying about pain. Worrying about not being good enough. Worrying about what we look like. Worrying about everything.
Worry drives us. It hangs over our every waking moment. It makes us what we are. Without it, we wouldn’t be human.
And without worry, well, shit that would be pretty great wouldn’t it?
So think this through. If you knew the world was going to end in a month, or a year, or five-years, how would you live your life?
You’d do all the things you wanted to do. You’d make that call to the family member you haven’t spoken to for years. You’d get that tattoo you’ve always wanted but were too scared to get. You’d learn how to surf. You’d travel to places you’ve always wanted to go.
You would live, fully. Without worry. Without responsibility.
Again, that would be pretty fucking awesome wouldn’t it?
So text me now. Because I’ve got news for you, you’re going to die. It probably isn’t going to be from the CoronaVirus, but you will die eventually unless you’re Keith Richards.
So are you going to spend the rest of your time worrying about it, or are you going to live your life, right now?
Note: This virus is real. You should of course take all recommended precautions. You’re not an idiot. You know what I’m trying to say. Be safe, be smart. But don’t let the worry about it ruin your life. If I’m wrong, we’ll all be dead anyway so problem solved.
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